Nestled in Roscommon County are gentle rivers flowing through the beautiful forested wilderness, home to turtles, herons, frogs, and fish. Float or paddle the South Branch of the AuSable River, or take an excursion on the Muskegon River a memorable, quality outdoor experience.

Ausable River

The South Branch of the AuSable River flows northward out of St. Helen to Roscommon (this section is floatable only at certain times of the year). Out of Roscommon the AuSable River flows north and east through the George Mason Wilderness Retreat. There are no homes or roads in the 3,500 acres between Chase Bridge and Smith Bridge where the river is preserved as a wilderness. Here the river's depth ranges from one to four feet (a few areas are deeper). A moderate current takes you steadily downstream. Area canoe liveries help you plan trips from 1-4 hours to overnight.

  • Canoeing the AuSable

    Great Getaways TV - Roscommon County has some of the finest canoeing, kayaking and tubing in the world. Nestled in gently rolling hills and valleys, the gently flowing rivers will treat you to a special experience. Float the Muskegon River or the South Branch of the world famous AuSable River.

  • Winter Kayaking on the AuSable

    Great Getaways TV - The South Branch of the AuSable River is world renowned for canoeing, kayaking and tubing. Only about 1 percent of the summer kayakers will take the trip in the winter. When the wind blows puffs of powdery white snow are sent off of the trees and turns the river into a magical place. So much has been written on this river that pertains to the warmer months but very little is said about the winter time. It is truly a great experience. We advise recreational kayakers that if you would like to try some winter kayaking to get ready for chill paddling by getting: a spray skirt, a change of clothes and a paddling partner.

Canoe Liveries - AuSable River

  • Cambell's Canoe Livery
    Campbell's Canoe Livery

    1112 Lake Street - Roscommon, MIPhone: (989) 275-5810

    Campbell’s located on M-18 (Lake Street) in Roscommon. They offer rentals of canoes, kayaks and tubes which can be used on the South Branch of the AuSable River.

  • Paddle Brave Canoe Livery
    Paddle Brave Canoe Livery & Campground

    10610 Steckert Bridge Road - Roscommon, MIPhone: (989) 275-5273

    They have canoes, kayaks, and tubes for rent.

Lake Saint Helen

Lake St. Helen features the area's only fully Handicap Accessible Kayak Launch and Fishing Pier.

Muskegon River

The Muskegon means "Happy River" and flows south and west from Houghton Lake into the backwaters of the Reedsburg Dam. From there the river meanders through miles of unspoiled wilderness flowing over a bed of sand at approximately 3-4 miles per hour. You will travel through the Houghton Lake Wildlife Research Area, where the Muskegon River takes you gently through some astounding natural areas.

Houghton Lake Collaborative Blue Water Trail

  • Blue Water Trail
    Houghton Lake Blue Water Trail
    Houghton Lake Collaborative Blue Water Trail

    9 Launch Sites around Houghton Lake

    1 DNR South Boat Access | Townline Road north of M-55 2 Sullivan Beach Park | Park Street - Prudenville 3 Trestle Park | Gladwin Road - Prudenville 4 Harvey's Marina | Houghton Lake Drive 5 DNR East Boat Access | Markey Township (44.338938, -84.663554) 6 State Forest Campground | Bayview Street 7 Northshore Lounge | West Shore Drive 8 DNR West Boat Access | north of M-55 on Old US 27 9 Lakeview Park | Federal Avenue & M-55
    Denton Township and Roscommon Township began creating the “Blue Water Trail,” in conjunction with Gosling Czubak Engineering Sciences, Inc in 2016. The kayak and canoe trail features launch sites and stops around Houghton Lake. There are public restrooms at most of the launch sites and there are plans to expand both the trail and facilities.

Hotels with Canoe Packages