SUP on the Thornapple River, MI

SUP on the Thornapple River, MI

Cascade Dam to Ada Dam- Ada, Michigan

  • Route Length: 4 miles
  • Water Clarity: Low

With a starting point at the base of the Cascade Dam, this excursion goes through a variety of conditions. At the start, the river is very shallow with rocks sticking out of the water in certain areas and a channel on the side for boats to get through. This led to a cool experience at the beginning in the shallow water. Upon entering deeper water, there are options on which routes to take around uninhabited islands. There is also a certain area with a lot of weeds, which led to some good views in the green tinted water. Like many rivers, the Thornapple is not very clear, but it is a clean river. Jumping in to cool off a few times was a must on this 85 degree day.  

Thornapple River, MI

There are a couple points along the route that open up into more of a lake setting. On this particular day, there was a pretty strong wind against the current, so even though it was a downriver paddle, there were still challenging parts.

The main banks of the Thornapple River have some of the most insane waterfront homes and friendly people hanging out on the waterfront. One man cleaning his boat told me a story from his dock about a pair of $700 sunglasses somewhere off the end of his dock. It was almost worth going on a search, but it would not have been easy!

When this route comes to an end after just under 4 miles, you have the option to keep going with a portage around the Ada Dam. On this day, this was the end. It was a fun paddle that will be happening again!

SUP on the Thornapple River

This review is brought to you by MI Playground (@mi_playground), a Brand Ambassador for Paddle North. 

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