Canoe & Kayak the Clinton River

Come out and explore the Clinton River! Kayak and canoe your way through the newly improved nine-miles of wildlife areas running through Sterling Heights.

Sterling Heights received a  $4.5 million grant for Clinton River Restoration Project received from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a nine-mile restoration project along the Clinton River, known as the Clinton River Restoration Project. The grant included no local match and was one of the largest in the city's history.

The project improved the habitat along the Clinton River upstream from its confluence with the Red Run Drain. The contractors repaved paths, installed bank plantings, reseeded bare areas, improved bank stabilization, and removed woody debris blockages.

Part of the City's Recreating Recreation initiatives, permanent launches and landings will be added as well as a kayak and canoe livery. The images below show the EZ Launch Dock style that will be added along the river from Van Dyke to Hayes Road.

EZ Launch Dock
EZ Launch Dock Rendering

The City is excited to bring residents two new EZDock launches at Rotary Park (37328 Utica Road) and North Clinton River Park (8600 Riverland Drive). The EZDock launch system is designed for easy launching and docking, even for beginners. The accompanying EZ Launch Accessible Transfer System provides individuals with disabilities accessibility that exceeds ADA compliance, with a transfer bench and slide boards of two different heights, allowing users to simply sit, slide over and drop down into a kayak or canoe, then use the side rails to pull off or back on. The landings are both public and available for use at no charge.

For paddlers with their own vessel, there are both free and paid options for use at Rotary Park.

For Free

Sterling Heights residents with proper photo ID can park at the Clinton River Canoe and Kayak (CRCK) site as well as pull a vehicle in to load their vessel using the EZDock for launching/landing. NOTE: CRCK closes their gates at 7 pm, so if you plan to be on the river later than that, you should plan to park in the Rotary Park parking lot. This free option does not include the CRCK shuttle service and requires boaters to transport their vessel with another vehicle to a northern point along the river, paddling back to the Rotary Park EZDock for landing.

For an Optional $5 Fee

Residents and non-residents can use the shuttle provided by Clinton River Canoe and Kayak for ease and convenience. Designated shuttle times are 10 am, noon, 2 pm and 4 pm. The $5 fee also helps fund the city’s agreement with Clinton River Canoe and Kayak to maintain a portion of the Clinton River to keep it navigable for watercraft. This agreement allows us to provide more and better services to our residents without duplicating efforts.

Even More Coming Soon!

Signage outlining the options above will be coming to Clinton River Canoe and Kayak soon. In addition, the Recreating Recreation initiative includes the installation of a universally accessible path to access the landing in Rotary Park. Once this pathway is installed, residents with their own vessel will have an easily identifiable trail from the Rotary Park parking lot directly to the landing. The city installed the landing first because we wanted to make sure that thousands of river users could still experience the joys of paddling while waiting for the path to be constructed.

From our friends at Clinton River Canoe and Kayak

Paddling season runs from April 1 to October 31

The Sterling Heights section of Clinton River paddling is under the river trips general paddle, the adventure paddle is upstream of Sterling Heights where the water moves quicker.

In our General Paddle 2 and 3 hours sections, 2-5% of boats tip over in this area. You will paddle through the center of Sterling Heights Dodge Park, Rammler Golf Course, ruins of the Old Dance Hall, with a good current and lots of nice beaches.

Our one hour General Paddle section, the most yellow area. This area will wind your boat through wild life areas, past ruins of the Old Dance Hall and Rammler golf Course. The sunniest area, is a little slower and more relaxed paddle. Mostly private property on both sides of the river, with limited beaches and resting areas.

Boat price for our General Paddle

• $30, $35, $40 for Kayaks 1, 2 & 3 Hours
• $40, $45, $50 for Canoes 1, 2 & 3 hours

All paddlers will meet at 37328 Utica Rd, Sterling Heights, MI 48312

If you are taking a shuttle up river, you will paddle back to the starting shuttle location - your car.

Clinton River Water Trail Map

Clinton River Canoe Kayaking Map

Safety Tips

As you enjoy your trip down the river, keep these tips in mind to ensure a safe adventure!
  • Life jackets are a must! 16 years and younger must wear a life jacket. 
  • Dress appropriately for weather conditions! Wear quick-drying materials. 
  • No baby car seats in canoe or kayak. 
  • Keep a mental note of number markers. These are important to identify where you are on the river in case of emergency!
  • For more information, visit Clinton River Canoe and Kayak.

For residents needing to rent a canoe or kayak, Clinton River Canoe and Kayak can provide rental equipment and trips. For more information on setting up your kayak adventure, call (248) 421-3445.