Michigan Kayak Trips: Fun on the Flat River (Belding to Fallasburg Park)
We’ve covered a handful of Michigan kayak trips from last summer, and you may notice that many of them take place on the Flat River. You can check out our previous posts about an easy paddle under two covered bridges (White’s Bridge to Fallasburg Park) and a day trip from Fallasburg Park to downtown Lowell, and today we complete our series by looking at a day trip paddle from Belding to Fallasburg Park. This route is fairly easy with one dam portage, and covers 15 miles.
We launched kayaks at Water Street Park in Belding. There is plenty of parking here, and a nice spot to launch into the wide, easy moving Flat River. From this starting point the river stays pretty wide for a while and only has a few minor obstacles before the Whites Bridge dam. As you pass under the first bridges (an old railroad bridge then M-44) stay to the left and be mindful of fallen trees in the river. This hung up a few members of our group, and the river moves just fast enough to get you caught up against logs here if you aren’t on your game. The other obstacle is a set of very minimal rapids at Ingalls Rd.
The scenery along this stretch of the Flat River is great, and keep your eyes peeled for turtles, heron, eagles, and other wildlife. You will pass many private homes along the way, some of which have some great decorations set up like the lighthouse shown above. With the exception of the obstacles mentioned above this is a very leisurely paddle and a great representation of why this river got its name.
The Whites Bridge dam comes up at the nine-mile mark of this trip. The dam portage is on the left side, and there is an easy footpath to follow. It should be pretty easy to resume your trip on the other side as the river remains pretty calm the rest of the way. Your next landmark will be the new covered bridge (White’s Bridge), where we stopped at the kayak launch to get a re-supply of beverages from family.
The rest of the route is scenic and calm, and covering the last five miles can take anywhere from an hour and a half with aggressive paddling to 2.5 hours at a nice, comfortable pace. There are even a few shallow spots and an island that makes for a great picnic stop! There’s lots of room to take out just before the Fallasburg Covered Bridge, and be sure to enjoy everything Fallasburg Park has to offer as well. Take a look at the full route on the map below: