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Hoosier Canoe & Kayak Club

Detroit River Urban Kayaking Trip

  • September 20, 2023
  • September 24, 2023
  • Sterling State Park
  • 0


Registration is closed

Detroit River Urban Kayaking Trip Sept 20-24

Sponsors: David & Susan Nord (Support from Kathy Estes & Todd Nissen)

Trip Level 3 (Coastal Kayaking)

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Join us for an urban kayaking experience on the Detroit River.  Participants will paddle international waters between Canada and the United States and can expect to see the dynamic Detroit skyline, the busy Ambassador Bridge, the construction of the new Gordie Howe bridge, freighters and ships from many countries, factories that crowd up to the seawalls, and natural areas that are home to many types of birds.

This HCKC sponsored trip is structured as a set of four (4) sequential day trips that will average 10-15 miles per day.  Conditions will vary each day, including open water under the bridges, sheltered canals, coves and inlets on islands of varying size, and busy shipping channels to cross.

Due to the weather and other factors, the itinerary and sequence will be finalized closer to the trip date and is subject to change in order to maintain kayaker safety.


Day trips planned Wednesday 9/20/23 through Saturday 9/23/23
An optional short paddle may be added for Sunday 9/24/23 for those who don’t have a long travel day on Sunday.

Experience level

Experience level:  HCKC Level 3 (Coastal Kayaking)

Weather and water conditions

Choppy water with reflecting waves from seawalls in some spots, higher waves from freighters and powerboats, shipping channels, limited put-ins and take-outs.  Up to 2 MPH current in some spots. 


In September, air temperatures range between 57-73 degrees during the day, rain is possible, water temperature averages 65-70 degrees.

Group size

Maximum 8 people, will expand to include 2 additional if they want to sponsor this trip next year (10 total).


Sterling State Park

2800 State Park Road
Monroe, Michigan, 48162
(734) 289-2715

 The only Michigan state park on Lake Erie, Sterling State Park's 1,300 acres offers great recreational opportunities including over one mile of beach, boating, shore fishing on Lake Erie and the fishing lagoons, lakefront camping, wildlife viewing and 6 miles of trails.


Trip participants will drive to a different put-in location each day and unload / load boats at that location. Each day trip will start and end from that location (no shuttles).

 Sterling State Park is the only camping option in the area, it is located 37 miles from downtown Detroit and 15 miles from Lake Erie Metropark.

Sponsors / Co-Sponsors

David, Susan, Kathy and Todd are local to the Detroit area and are experienced paddling in all of the candidate locations.  Other local paddlers have been recruited to provide history and commentary on the areas we will be paddling.

Other trip info

  • The river is very busy in the summer and can get quite choppy.  This trip is planned for after Labor Day so the weather is still good but there is less recreational boat traffic on the river.  It is also planned so as not to overlap with the HCKC Apostle Island trip (September 9-16, 2023).
  • This is a US-based trip, however multiple day trips will go into Canadian waters.  A passport is not required to kayak in Canadian waters, but all paddlers must carry valid US-issued government ID at all times.
  • Entry permits are required for Sterling State Park and/or Belle Isle ($11 per day, same permit for both) and Lake Erie Metropark ($10 per day).

 Candidate day trips are:

  1. Zug Island, Ambassador Bridge, Gordie Howe International Bridge
  2. Stony Island, Crystal Cove and the Dunbar & Sullivan ship graveyard
  3. Belle Isle and Pesche Island
  4. Grosse Ile and Sugar Island
  5. Historic Detroit River canal tour (this is a trip that RKC used to do) - stop for lunch at Coriander Kitchen & Farm if we can work it out
  6. Lower Huron River (optional for inclement weather)
  7. Maumee River in Toledo (to see the Glass City sunflower murals) - optional for inclement weather
Hoosier Canoe & Kayak Club

Background image provided by Karl Zemlin

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