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All Program Planning Areas

Water Trails

The Greater Lansing region is home to incredible recreational and natural assets, and the Grand River is no exception. At 262 miles, the Grand River is the longest river in Michigan and its watershed is the second largest at 5,572 square miles. It is the most populated watershed in the state with more than 1.5 million people living within its boundaries, and thousands more visit and use the Grand River every year. 

The Grand River is comprised of three sections, the Upper, Middle, and Lower Grand. The Middle Grand, the portion that resides within our tri-county region, is defined as the Grand River from Eaton Rapids to Lyons, and includes the entire watersheds of the Maple, Looking Glass and Red Cedar rivers. 

What Is a Water Trail?

In December of 2018, the Middle Grand River was selected by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) as one of the first waterways in Michigan to be a state-designated water trail. A water trail is any route along a river, lake, or bay that is specifically designed for the use of small boats such as kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, etc., and has developed access and launch points accessible to the public. The Middle Grand River Water Trail, which extends 87 miles throughout Clinton, Eaton, Ingham, and Ionia counties, has 33 access sites that provide a variety of experiences for paddlers of all experience levels.

Water trails, or blueways, are similar to hiking and biking trails, also known as greenways. They are more than recreational assets - they support tourism, encourage exercise and healthy outdoor activities, promote appreciation and protection of our natural resources, and connect us to community assets and public spaces.

Middle Grand River Water Trail Map

Water Trail Map

By using the Middle Grand River Water Trail Map, you agree not to hold the creators of this map liable for any loss, damage, or injury that may occur because you used this information.

All information on the interactive water trail map is subject to change. It is not a substitute for your use of reasonable care or up-to-date knowledge of river conditions. Make your own evaluation of the water, current, portages, weather, and hazards. Wear a properly fastened life jacket, be sure you are informed on water safety and paddling techniques, and plan routes appropriate for your skills. 

Created by Tri-County RPC for Middle Grand River Organization of Watersheds.

Partnering Together

The Middle Grand River Water Trail's state designation was thanks to a partnership between Tri-County and the Middle Grand River Organization of Watersheds (MGROW). Together, we created a water trail development plan aimed at improving the connectivity, accessibility, and quality of the Middle Grand River.

Work continues on getting all 262 miles of the Grand River designated as a state and national water trail, and integrating Middle Grand River tributaries into the water trail effort in hopes of developing water trails on the Red Cedar, Looking Glass, and Maple Rivers. Learn more about MGROW and their partnership with the Upper and Lower Grand River here

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