The Island Loop Route

The Island Loop Route water trail is the most popular blueway in St. Clair County. Most of the waterways along this route are calm and slow, except near the Blue Water Bridges. This route is best attempted in the morning before weekend recreational boating traffic creates rough paddling conditions.

photo: Photo Type: Water Trail, National Water Trails System
Length: 10.20 miles
Loop Trail? Yes
Allowed Uses: Boating, Motorized
Boating, non-motorized: Canoeing
Boating, non-motorized: Kayaking
Boating, non-motorized: Sailing
Fishing
Heritage and History
Swimming
Wildlife Observation
Agency: City, Town, or County
Entry Fee? No
Parking Fee? No

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Directions

Location: Experience a very unique paddle in southeast Michigan crossing four different water bodies, along the international border between Michigan and Ontario!
States: Michigan
Counties: Huron, St. Clair
Latitude:   Longitude:

Begin the Island Loop Route at North River Road Park launch, located at -82.458 43.017. The park is in Fort Gratiot Township on North River Road, just 0.3 miles west of Pine Grove Avenue in St. Clair County, Michigan.

Description

The Island Loop Route water trail is the most popular blueway in St. Clair County. Begin at North River Road Park in Fort Gratiot Township. Get into the Black River easily by using the ADA (American Disabilities Act) accessible kayak launch. Head down river and then up the Black River Canal to the left, heading east. Enter Lake Huron after passing under the Taintor Gate and paddle to the right, or south. Glide past Lakeside Park and Lighthouse Park, then past the oldest Lighthouse in Michigan, the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse. Continue on by paddling under the Blue Water Bridges and along the international border with Canada while in the St. Clair River. It is here that you will be drifting over rare Sturgeon spawning habitat!
Stick close to the Michigan border where the current is more manageable, but watch out for fishing lines and diving activities close to the seawall. While in the big river you will pass the Thomas Edison Museum and the Huron Lightship Museum.

Enter the mouth of the Black River to the west, heading upriver through the City of Port Huron. You will pass a community college, a fire station, parks, restaurants and homes. Head back to River Front Park where your trip began. You can also begin and end at the new Bakers Field Park in Port Huron Township. They also have an ADA accessible kayak launch! There are seven public water access points along this ten mile route.

The Taintor Gate at the end of the canal closes automatically when there is a strong N-NE wind. It is rarely closed, but closure protects the canal from getting filled up with silt and sand. Boaters, check to see if the gate is open before attempting the Island Loop Route. The only way to check the gate is to drive by it on Gratiot Road to see if it is open.

Most of the waterways along this route are calm and slow, except near the Blue Water Bridges. This route is best attempted in the morning, before weekend recreational boating traffic creates rough paddling conditions.

Additional Details

Primary Surface: Not Available
Secondary Surface: Water, still

Average Grade: 0%
Elevation Low Point: Not Available
Elevation High Point: Not Available
Year Designated: 2017

Supporting Webpages and Documents

Brochure: Brochure
Brochure: Brochure
Map: Map
Map: Map
Website: The Blueways of St. Clair, The Island Loop Route
Website: St. Clair County’s Northeastern Watersheds; Advi
Website: Northeastern Watersheds Management Plan
Website: The Blueways of St. Clair Website- search database
Website: Port Huron to Mackinac Race
Website: Blue Water Fest
Website: River Day
Website: Black River Canoe and Kayak Race
Website: The Great Lakes Maritime Center at Desmond Landing
Website: Great Lakes Seaway and shipping Online, Vantage Po
Website: Binational Public Advisory Council (BPAC), Friends
Website: Michigan Sea Grant- Sturgeon spawning habitat
Website: St. Clair County Master Recreation Plan
Website: Water Quality Public Activities
Website: Earth Fair

Contact Information

For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.

Public Contact:
Lori Eschenburg
Planner/GIS
St. Clair County
200 Grand River
Suite 202
Port Huron , MI 48060
(810) 989-6950
leschenburg@stclaircounty.org

Trail Management:
Mark Brochu
Director
St. Clair County
200 Grand River
Suite 107
Port Huron , MI 48060
(810) 989-6960
mbrochu@stclaircounty.org

 

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