This water trail is one of nine designated heritage water trails in Michigan, offering 15 interpretive signs along the river. There are two “family-friendly” sections on the water trail. The first is the upper three miles from Lions Park in Bangor downstream to County Road 687. The other is an eight-mile section from the Basic Family Access Site (County Road 384) to South Haven. The section between County Road 687 and the Basic Family Access (CR 384) is called the "wilderness section," and paddlers can expect obstacles, major ones. Scroll down to the map for trailhead and river access locations.
Pathway Maintenance 2019 Update: The Bangor/South Haven Heritage Water Trail from Bangor to 71 1/2 St is very hazardous right now! Due to the enormous amount of rain we have received in May. No section of the Water Trail has been worked on. The height of the river is very high right now and the flow rate is very fast. There are many strainers and downed trees. Conditions need to improve in order for our chainsaw team to work in the river. Paddling is hazardous at the current time! Please understand that we do our best to keep this information updated, but the river is always changing and logs may fall and/or move downstream creating new obstacles.
Please be sure to check the weather forecast and up-to-date river flow conditions on the USGS web page. Click Here for an Important Note about SAFETY, LIABILITY AND PADDLING ETIQUETTE. Also check out the weather and safety information web page on this site for more information about responsible paddling.
Most important, help us keep the Black River a beautiful and healthy. Pack out ALL your trash and consider taking along a trash bag and picking up any trash you encounter along the river. Thanks and enjoy the river!
Drawbridge with public dinghy dock
Dinghy dock, picnic area, no vehicle access
Bed and Breakfast Lodging in South Haven
Small public beach access to Lake Michigan
Small public beach
Campground and Motel
Small rustic campground
Campground on Lake Michigan
Food & Beverages
Light House and Pier
Municipal Marina with public restrooms
Shipwrecks, Artifacts, Tall Ship Tours
Kayak rentals and store
Surf Shop, Kayak and Stand Up Paddleboard Rentals, Outdoor Clothing
Lake Michigan Beach
Park with picnic shelter and public restrooms
Pedestrian Walkway from South Haven Lighthouse to North Beach
Downtown Bicycle Trailhead
Bicycle Trail from South Haven to Kalamazoo, Rails to Trails
Train Station with connection to Chicago and Grand Rapids