Frankenmuth City Paddle
1 Mile, 35-40 Minutes
Start/Finish: Memorial Park Boat Launch or Heritage Park
Turnaround Point: Main Street Bridge upstream of rock ramp/dam
Universally Accessible Launch: Heritage Park
This section, while short, is included because it showcases downtown Frankenmuth’s attractive riverfront landscape. In Riley McLincha’s Cassploration narrative, he noted that while he prefers natural scenery, Frankenmuth’s urban riverbank is one of the best he has ever seen. This ¾ mile section could easily be missed if a paddler decides to take out at Memorial Park or Heritage Park Launch, and put in below the rock ramp/dam, which is just downstream from the Main Street Bridge. The current here is gentle enough that paddling upstream is not a problem, and it also offers a nice view of the Covered Bridge and the Bavarian Belle riverboat. Caution must be exercised in this section due to the presence of recreational motor boats and commercial tour boats. A “rest stop” is available at the dock located near The River Place Shops (just upstream of the Bavarian Belle dock). A ramped access dock enables easy exit from the river while paddlers enjoy the amenities in the area.
EXTREME CAUTION SHOULD BE USED WHEN APPROACHING THE ROCK RAMP RAPIDS AREA – Running the rapids is not recommended. Under low river conditions and slow flow, an experienced paddler may choose to bypass the rock ramp utilizing a portage located along the south shore bank. Otherwise, for less experienced paddlers, and for all paddlers during higher flow conditions, it is recommended to disembark at Heritage or Memorial Park launches and bypass downstream of the rock ramp.
The rock ramp is a series of weirs constructed from large rocks spanning the width of the river and extending 300 feet downstream. It was constructed to replace an aging dam and allow for fish passage. Caution should be used at all times to avoid accidents in the rapids. Portage on the south side is recommended. This area of the river should be avoided during high water/high flow.