Michigan Trail Tuesday: Blue Water River Walk in Port Huron
Michigan Trail Tuesdays is a new feature that will showcase a different trail or trail segment each week. The Mitten State is home to thousands of miles of trails, including the new Iron Belle Trail that runs from Detroit in the southeast to Ironwood in the western Upper Peninsula.
Port Huron is a city rich in history, and also a city full of great recreational opportunities on and around the St. Clair River. The Blue Water River Walk is a paved walking trail of almost a mile that has great views of the river, restored wetlands, and several sculptures. This is part of the larger Bridge to Bay Trail Network, which spans more than 50 miles along the river in St. Clair County.
The Blue Water Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau describes why the area got its Blue Water nickname: “With admirable depths, the waterways show off incredible colors of cobalt, turquoise and sparkling sapphire. The stunning hues restore a sense of freshness and tranquility that can get lost in the current of everyday life.” The Blue Water Bridge, which connects Port Huron with Sarnia, Ontario, is just a mile upriver near Lake Huron.
One end of the Blue Water River Walk is located next to Vantage Point and the Great Lakes Maritime Center, headquarters of the freighter tracking website boatnerd.com. Watching large freighters pass by is a favorite pastime here, and at times the vessels seem close enough to touch. All freighter traffic headed to Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, and Lake Superior must pass this point on their journey.
Two of the pieces of artwork that can be found on the Blue Water River Walk are Sugar, a nearly 7 foot tall horse made of scrap metal and parts, and Stella Clair, a more than 1,000 pound metal sturgeon fabricated by Michigan native, Lou Rodriquez.
There is a public fishing pier near the south end of the River Walk, near the NSCS Grayfox training ship. The Grayfox is “currently the largest Sea Cadet training ship in the United States and is cared for and maintained by all cadets in Michigan.” Possible fishing success here can include walleye, smallmouth bass, and possibly even the rare lake sturgeon.
The Community Foundation of St. Clair County also points out the important environmental work that has happened at the Blue Water River Walk: “Approximately 4,300 feet of St. Clair River shoreline was completely restored and rehabilitated in 2013, utilizing the grant funding from the GLRI. In the spring of 2014 we completed our shallow water habitat restoration efforts. During this work, and including the Pilot Phase work done in 2012, almost 7,000 tons of debris was removed from the site.” Another grant has allowed for the development of a wetlands park at the very southern end of the River Walk.
This is a great trail for everyone, and the smooth and flat paved service helps make this accessible to all. There’s a lot to see here on both sides of the river. For us, this has been a favorite spot to watch freighters for many years and we love seeing the continued improvements!