Kayaking / Canoeing / Michigan
For paddlers, Isle Royale is a dream destination, a nook-and-cranny wilderness of rocky islands, secluded coves, and quiet bays interrupted only by the low call of a loon. For first-time visitors, you can’t do better than the Five Fingers, the collection of fjord-like harbors and rocky promontories on the east end of the island. Not only is it well protected (except from northeasterlies), it offers some of the finest and most characteristic Isle Royale scenery and solitude. Though Isle Royale is generally better suited to kayaks, open canoes can handle these waters in calm weather.Destination:Activities:
This growing sport is at its finest in the Keweenaw, where you have plenty of islands, rock formations, and wilderness coastlines to explore. The Keweenaw Adventure Company (145 Gratiot St., Copper Harbor, 906/289-4303, www.keweenawadventure.com) rents kayaks, guides trips, and offers lessons. Beginners should try the 2.5-hour introductory paddle, which includes novice dry-land instruction and a fine little trip around the harbor and along the Lake Superior shoreline.Destination:Activities:
Sylvania Wilderness protects its assets well—36 crystalline glacial lakes hidden among thick stands of massive, old-growth trees. For anglers who dream of landing that once-in-a-lifetime smallmouth bass, for paddlers who yearn to glide across deep, quiet waters and along untrammeled shoreline, for hikers who wish to travel under a towering canopy of trees and hear nothing more than the haunting whistle of a loon, Sylvania can be a truly magical place.Destination:Activities:
Seven major river systems flow within the forest, a staggering 1,000 miles of navigable waters for paddlers. Congress has designated more than 300 of those miles as wild and scenic or recreational rivers, leaving them largely in a pristine state.
In general, rivers like the Ontonagon and Presque Isle offer quiet water in their southern reaches, winding through relatively flat woodlands. North of M-28, they begin a more rugged descent through hills and bluffs, requiring higher skills and boats appropriate for white water. For strong paddlers with good white-water skills, these rivers offer some of the finest paddling in the Midwest.Destination:Activities:
A small but pleasant chain of lakes is the highlight of Bewabic State Park (720 Idlewild Rd., Crystal Falls, 906/875-3324, state park vehicle permit required), located five miles west of Crystal Falls. Boaters can put in at the first of the Fortune Lakes and make their way to Fourth Lake, an easy day’s paddling adventure. Though First Lake can be somewhat frenetic on summer weekends, the waters get quieter and downright pristine as you proceed down the chain.
Most of the shoreline is dotted with cottages, though you can camp on state-owned land bordering Third Lake.
Fishing for perch and bass is best on First Lake, the largest (192 acres) and deepest (72 feet). Paddlers can escape fishing boats by darting under the low U.S. 2 bridge to Mud Lake.Destination:Activities: