Flat River

Ending in the Grand River near the beautiful city of Lowell, the Flat River flows through three Michigan counties. This river features the historical covered Fallasburg Bridge. The Flat River has been designated by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources as a Natural River.

Reach F1. Belding Park to Whites Bridge Road ~ Distance: 9.6 miles 

  • Difficulty Rating: Slightly difficult
  • Dam Portages: One (Whites Bridge Rd Dam)
  • Opt-outs: None
  • Travel Distance from Grand Rapids: 32 miles
  • Facilities: At the launch only (public restroom)
  • Reach F1 Rate: $150 for 1 to 3 paddlers ~ Additional paddlers $25 each ~ 8 paddlers maximum
  • Approximate Paddling Duration: 3 to 4 hours

Please enjoy a short video tour of this experience: Reach F1 Trip

The Flat River is a clear, shallow river with a slow, peaceful current. This reach starts at the beautiful Belding Park. The bottom of the river is easily visible almost the entire way.  About halfway through this reach, a brief area of whitewater is encountered as we pass the remnants of the Smyrna Dam. Human river traffic is likely as this is a very popular area. Towards the end of this reach, the water gets deeper and the river changes character in the backwater of the Whites Bridge Dam. Sandhill cranes and a white heron have been spotted in this marshy area. After an easy portage around the dam, a short paddle brings us to the site of a former covered bridge and the end of this reach.

Reach F2. Whites Bridge Road to Fallasburg Park ~ Distance: 5.5 miles 

  • Difficulty Rating: Slightly difficult
  • Dam Portages: None
  • Opt-outs: None
  • Travel Distance from Grand Rapids: 27 miles
  • Facilities: At the destination (Men’s & Women’s restrooms)
  • Reach F2 Rate: $140 for 1 to 3 paddlers ~ Additional paddlers $25 each ~ 8 paddlers maximum
  • Approximate Paddling Duration: 1½ to 2½ hours

Please enjoy a short video tour of this experience: Reach F2 Trip

This reach of the Flat River weaves back and forth across the Kent-Ionia county line. It starts at the Whites Bridge Road covered bridge and ends at Fallasburg Park just before passing under the Fallasburg covered bridge.The Flat River is clear and shallow, with the river bottom easily visible. Due to its popularity on weekend afternoons, this reach is best experienced early in the morning, especially on the weekends.

Reach F3. Fallasburg Park to the Grand River ~ Distance: 7.7 miles 

  • Difficulty Rating: Slightly difficult
  • Dam Portages: Two (Burroughs and Lowell Dams)
  • Opt-outs: Three (3.2 miles, 4.4 miles and 6.9 miles)
  • Travel Distance from Grand Rapids: 23 miles
  • Facilities: At the launch (Men’s & Women’s  restroom) and at the Lowell Dam (port-a-john)
  • Reach F3 Rate: $140 for 1 to 3 paddlers ~ Additional paddlers $25 each ~ 8 paddlers maximum
  • Approximate Paddling Duration: 2½ to 3½ hours

Please enjoy a short video tour of this experience: Reach F3 Trip

This reach begins by passing under the Fallasburg covered bridge. The backwater of the Burroughs Dam is more extensive than the Whites Bridge Dam backwater, where the river takes on an almost lake-like character. Shortly after an easy Burroughs Dam portage and a longer portage around the dam in downtown Lowell, this segment ends at the Grand River.

Combine F3 & G3 for Paddle & Dine Experience: Fallasburg Park to Ada w/ lunch in Lowell