Chain of Lakes Water Trail

A water trail system through Northern Michigan's Chain of Lakes.

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The Chain of Lakes Water Trail, in northwest Michigan, is a 100+ mile inland water
trail made up of 12 lakes and interconnected rivers which flow into the East Grand
Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan. The Chain of Lakes is divided into the Upper Chain
and Lower Chain, separated by a dam in the Village of Bellaire. This water trail is
diverse with both small and large lakes, connected by meandering rivers,
creating opportunities for all levels of paddlers to enjoy. The water trail connects
people to the natural environment as well as vibrant communities. Whether
kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding or fishing, there are opportunities for all to

This website is just one of the options available to assist you in planning
your trip. Water trail information can be found at On the website you will be able to purchase a waterproof paddler guide.  A digital map is available through the Avenza app (available for iOS or android devices), go to

The Chain of Lakes Water Trail is hosted by Paddle Antrim, a non-profit organization working to protect water resources by connecting people through paddle sports. The Chain of Lakes Water Trail is recognized as a state-designated water trail. The Michigan State Water Trail program is administered by the Department of Natural Resources. 

All 84 access sites included on the trail are open to the public and signs were installed at each site in 2020.  

Ellsworth Lake
Ellsworth Lake on the Upper Chain
Upper Chain
Upper Chain Water Trail, mixture of beginner and intermediate routes
Torch Lake
Turquoise waters of Torch Lake, Michigan's 2nd largest lake
Over 20 miles of beginner and intermediate routes through seven small inland lakes
30 mile advanced level water trail
A 10.2 mile intermediate level loop trail
40 mile advanced loop
Loop around Lake Skegemog
Loop around Elk Lake
Chain of Lakes Water Trail - includes all approved access sites and routes