Difficulty I-II at this flow (I normally)
Length 5 Miles
Flow Range 200 - 2000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 36 minutes ago 314 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 01/15/2020 10:13 am

River Description

Mostly flatwater/swiftwater in-town float, but there are a couple good rips. Be very aware of the dam at Yates, which should be portaged by most paddlers at most flows. This is a classic 'killer low-head dam', and has killed unwary paddlers who underestimated the recirculating backwash.

Rapid Descriptions

Voodoo Rapidledge/wave

Class - II Mile - 2.1

Just past the confluence with Paint Creek, look for a fine little ledge/wave.

Stony Creek Confluence

Class - N/A Mile - 3.5
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

DAM! Portage!

Class - II+ Mile - 4.8

Plan on scouting and portaging at this dam. People have died misjudging the danger here! That said, at some flows this dam may be safely run by suitably experienced paddlers, with proper precautions and careful assessment of the backwash. Have someone with a throw-rope (and the knowledge of how to use it) on shore. We do not need more deaths in classic 'low-head dams' such as this one.

Pay special attention to the boil-line below the dam as a canoe runs the dam in this video. Be aware that a shorter boat (like a play kayak) will not 'bridge' the drop nearly so well, and is more likely to get caught in the reversal!


default user thumbnail
Jed Blacker
6 years ago

Ran Avon / Livernois to Yates Cider Mill, 8-3-13, upper gage @ 1.5, Getting shallow but still fun, 2 short portages. Ran it again 8-10-13 and 8-17-13. Upper Gage @ 1.2 Water very low. Had to pay attention to not drag bottom. Got better after Paint Creek. Ran Ryan Rd / S. of 22 mile to Heritage Park, 8-24-13. "Lower" Gage around 7.5 ft. Low and slow. Ran Heritage Park to Clinton River Park (Clinton River Rd. & West of Schoener) 8-25-13, Lower Gage at 7.5, Very calm stretch. Look out for wood. 4 portages to Dodge park. 7 portages from Dodge to Clinton River park. Almost all portages were difficult with the steep banks. Luckily there is a paved bike/hike trail on the left side of the river for much of this section. Bring bug spray!!! Here are the USGS links for gages and discharge. Upper (Auburn Hills to Yates) http://waterdata.usgs.gov/mi/nwis/uv?site_no=04161000&format=gif&period=31 Lower (past Yates) http://waterdata.usgs.gov/mi/nwis/uv/?site_no=04161820&agency_cd=USGS

default user thumbnail
Rich Guilbault
6 years ago

There is no wave at the Stony creek conf. The 'sweet wave' is just below the Paint creek conf. 'Voodoo rapid'

default user thumbnail
Rich Guilbault
7 years ago

This stretch actually runs thru Rochester(Hills) mi. We use the Auburn Hills Gauge for flow readings. 1.3 is min. ( Aprx 70 cfs.) Above 3.0 (Aprx 500cfs) is considered flood stage. This gives the most accurate levels for the stretch. Its some distance above the other gauge. One of the best rivers in SE Michigan. Paint Creek being the other.

Gage Descriptions

Tell us about this gauge by leaving a comment.

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

Date Flow Result Factor  
2013-06-13 High Fatality High Water Read More
1999-07-09 High Fatality Other Read More





Jim Mazzola




Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1214182 01/15/20 Jim Mazzola updated stats
1201721 12/30/12 Rob Fix typo; add abstract.
1202889 12/06/13 Rob Select featured photo
1201720 12/30/12 Rob Add length/gradient.
1201718 12/29/12 Rob n/a
1201719 12/29/12 Rob Initial add.
1204383 03/23/15 Rob fix broken embeds
1211749 04/02/19 Rob updated image position