Paw Paw River Water Trail

The Paw Paw River Water Trail is 68 miles. It flows through Van Buren and Berrien Counties and joins the St. Joseph River just above its mouth at Benton Harbor.

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The 68 mile long Paw Paw River Water Trail begins in the Village of Paw Paw in Van Buren County. There are two impoundments (Briggs Pond and Maple Lake) in the village above the dam which can be paddled.  The river portion of the water trail begins immediately below the Maple Lake Dam. The Paw Paw River then winds its way 66 miles through a large, wildlife rich floodplain forest corridor through Van Buren and Berrien Counties.

Along the way, the river runs through or skirts the edge of the communities of Lawrence, Hartford, Watervliet, Coloma, and Riverside. Ultimately, the Paw Paw River joins the St. Joseph River in Benton Harbor, approximately one half mile from Lake Michigan. Paddle pathway clearing work was completed in 2017 on many, but not all, sections of the river below Maple Lake Dam and recommended skill levels for the 20 plus segments of the water trail range from Beginner to Intermediate to Advanced.  

ATTENTION: No water trail maintenance has been done yet in 2018. Expect to encounter fallen trees and other obstructions. Individual water trail segment information will be updated as maintenance occurs on some, but not all trail segments throughout the summer.   You can follow the pathway clearing progress on Facebook.    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 Paw Paw River a beautiful, wild and thriving floodplain forest eco-system. 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!

The nature rich 3 mile section from Lawrence to 54th Street
The nature rich 3 mile section from Lawrence to 54th Street
Paw Paw River Water Trail
Paw Paw River Water Trail
Paw Paw River
Paw Paw River
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Paw Paw River Water Trail Events
Sunday, July 01, 2018
Sunday, July 08, 2018
Sunday, July 15, 2018
Sunday, July 22, 2018
Sunday, July 29, 2018
Sunday, August 05, 2018
Sunday, August 12, 2018
Sunday, August 19, 2018
Sunday, August 26, 2018
Saturday, September 08, 2018