Escanaba, Michigan, US
|Usual Difficulty||I-II (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||4 fpm|
|Max Gradient||15 fpm|
A fairly long reach, mostly good canoe-cruising, 8 miles West of the community of Rock, MI.
Technically, our listed put-in is on the Middle Branch. Not far downstream, as the East Branch enters from the left, the combined flow loses any 'branch' designation and becomes just the Escanaba. Aerial recon of the whole stretch (via Satellite view) fails to show any discernable features other than low-grade rock-garden riffles/rips/shoals. In fact, the best rapids in evidence are on the West Branch, immediately above it's confluence with this run!
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|1.8||Low grade rapids||N/A|
|3.9||More low-grade rapids||N/A|
|7.3||Powerline / Bob's Creek Truck Trail||N/A|
|7.3||USGS sampling site||N/A|
|11.4||Confluence, Bob's Creek||N/A|
|15.1||Confluence, Sawmill Creek||N/A|
|16.7||Confluence, Little W.Br.||N/A|
From the put-in a brief bit of flatwater leads to a constriction and some low-grade rapids.
Just shy of 0.8 miles, the East Branch Escanaba enters from river-left, and the combined flow is now the Escanaba (no 'branch' designator).
As you approach Powerline Lane, low grade rapids (riffles and rips, class I) begin, and continue about 3/4ths of a mile.
After about a mile-and-a-half of flat/flowing water you once again encounter low-grade rapids (class I, riffles and rips). These will intersperse with flatwater as you proceed downriver.
After a mile or more of largely flat/flowing water (the prior low-grade riffles having largely subsided), you will see powerlines overhead. A truck trail and a county road flank the river. The river does a quick jig-jog, and encounters another very brief section of low-grade riffles and rips.
USGS lists a sampling site at this location showing drainage area of 380 square miles.
Virtually nothing but flat/flowing water (since the prior mentioned brief riffles) intervenes. Bob's creek enters from river-right. (It's pretty small and tree-shrouded . . . you might not even notice.) Three-quarters of a mile downstream, more low-grade rips will again be encountered.
Amid a fine stretch of low-grade rapids, the West Branch Escanaba enters from river-right. Less than 0.1 mile upstream on the W.Br., there appears to be a fine little ledge/wave which is likely a decent playable spot. On the Escanaba (main stem), the riffles continue maybe another half-mile before yielding to flatwater.
Mostly flatwater continues down to the confluence with Sawmill Creek, coming in from river-left. There is good access at this point for anyone wanting to shorten the trip.
About 1.25 miles below Sawmill Creek, low grade rapids resume.
Minor rapids (riffles and rips, class I) continue as the Little West Branch enters from river-right, but peter out pretty soon downstream.
Two more short bits of riffles and rips before our listed take-out.