Put-in is reached (from L'Anse, MI) by heading out on Skanee Road, which becomes Erick Road just before Big Erics Bridge. Continuing 4.5 miles East-South-East of that bridge, Erick Road veers more Easterly and becomes Northwestern Road (eventually becoming Triple-A or AAA Road). It will likely be necessary to park on a stub at this bend and carry/drag South, then West down an abandoned railroad grade (a total of nearly a mile) to get to the river. (Note: Looking on aerial views you may see various logging roads which look like they might provide other access. While some of them may work for later spring or random summer rain events which may bring this to runnable conditions, they will not be passable with road vehicles in early or mid spring when most runs are done on this river.)
Two big drops (Big Falls and East Branch Falls) and a number of deceptively powerful smaller ones punctuate this scenic gem.
After nearly a mile of moving-water (with maybe a few minor riffles), after an East-South-East straightaway, the river takes a sharp left to head almost due North, and encounters the first good sequence of ledgey drop.
After a short spell of generally straight going, the river takes a sharp hook to the left, and encounters some increased gradient and a fine series of ledges and falls.
As a cluster of buildings come into view on river-left, a series of low ledge/wave/holes will be encountered.
A very nice (and potentially sticky) sequence of ledges and holes leads to a steep sliding drop into a pool. Great photo-op! You may want to carry for a re-run!
(Interestingly, this falls is marked in a variety of locations, depending on which map AND which level of 'zoom' you happen to look at!)
Where the river takes a TIGHT hairpin to the left, be very cautious as you proceed and prepare to exit (river-left) to scout!
The river is squeezed and pours into a slot which diverts flow hard right, then to cascade across much more reasonable bedrock drops.
USGS lists a site below East Branch Falls showing drainage at that point as 26.4 square miles.
The river nears the road at this point. If parking can be found, one could cut off about a mile of flatwater down to Big Ericks Bridge.
Immediately upstream of Erick Road Bridge lies the confluence of the East and West Branches of the Huron. Just beyond the bridge, the combined flow trips across a series of low ledges, Big Ericks Falls. A campground lies on river-left. Hoardes of fishermen tend to ply the pools between these ledges, often at same time and flows as boaters attempt to ply the rapids. If you happen to find fishermen relatively sparse, you may finish your run by working your way down this series before returning your boat to your vehicle. Downstream of the ledges you'll find an island, and some decent action contines, particularly to the right. However, things very quickly peter out. It is another 7 miles to the mouth of the river, and there are numerous areas of low-grade rapids, but nothing of any significance or merit.
There is a stage marker on upstream-right at Big Eric's Brdge on Skanee Rd. A level of 2.0' is pretty much minimum. You can also judge general level by looking at ledges and rapids just downstream of the bridge.
Permits are not required for this reach.
The following map shows the shuttle near to the put-in. Keep in mind, it will be necessary to hike in the final stretch to the river, using the old railroad right-of-way.
1. Head north toward Northwestern Rd, 0.2 mi
2. Continue straight onto Erick, 4.0 mi
3. Turn left to stay on Erick, 466 ft
4. Park, and hike in on old railroad right-of-way.View Larger Map
East Branch Falls
Creekin' in the K2
Below You Turn in Tandem K-2
Down Stream from You Turn
Big Falls April 17, 2004
You Turn April 17, 2004
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
Log into the American Whitewater website and you can contribute to river descriptions,
flow and access tips, and maps associated with runs you've done. You can even add new
runs to the inventory!