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Carp River



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Carp River Trail

Carp River

Kayak Carp River

Click to view the Carp River Trail Map.

The Carp River flows through predominantly forested lands with little development along its way. Spring's high water provides for canoeing and offers steelhead fishing and dipping for smelt near the river's mouth. Summer is the time for brook or brown trout, and fall brings salmon fishing.

Designated Reach: March 3, 1992. From the west section line of section 30, T43N, R5W to Lake Huron.

Classification/Mileage: Wild -- 12.4 miles; Scenic -- 9.3 miles; Recreational -- 6.1 miles; Total -- 27.8 miles.

Hiawatha National Forest
2727 North Lincoln Road
Escanaba, Michigan 49829

Carp River Canoe Trail

An easy two-day trip, the Carp River Canoe Route provides an enjoyable weekend's float along a winding, beginner-level river. Flowing east to its mouth in St. Martin Bay of Lake Huron, the river passes through a variety of vegetation types including pine, aspen, maple and paper birch.

Small openings along the river's edge called "rollways" reveal that the Carp River was used as a 19th-century travel way for log drives. Logs were cut and piled near the river in the winter. During spring breakup, they were rolled into the river, headed for Lake Huron and farther transported by schooner.

View Larger Map

Strangely enough, the Carp River was not named for the many carp that now inhabit the river. The present-day carp is an Asian fish that was introduced here in the mid-l8OO's. Records show, however, that the river was named Carp before then. The answer? Early European explorers saw the carp-like native fish (possibly suckers or buffalo fish) in the river and dubbed it Carp River.

River Facts

  • Launch/Take-Out Points
    • Forest Road 3458
    • Michigan State Highway 123
    • Forest Road 3119 (East Lake Road)
    • Boat landing at the mouth of the Carp River
  • Distances Between Launch Points
    • Point A to point B: 6 miles
    • Point B to North Branch: 6 miles
    • North Branch to point C: 2 miles
    • Point C to Flat Creek: 7 miles
    • Flat Creek to Red Creek: 2 miles
    • Red Creek to point D: 1.5 miles


Carp River has been designated a second quality trout mainstream by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Anglers may catch brook, rainbow or brown trout in pools along the route. Steelhead and salmon may be caught in season near the mouth of the river. Please check with DNR publications for information on fishing seasons and creel limits for each species.


The Carp River Campground, a developed campground with pit toilets and water pumps, is located approximately two riles from Lake Huron. Although no other developed sites are available along the canoe route, rustic camping is permitted. Campers should limit their stay to 14 days and follow a "pack in, pack out" policy for trash.

Canoe Safety

Wear a life preserver while canoeing. If your canoe capsizes, stay with it and hang on. Pack your food, bedding, clothing and matches in waterproof bags and tie them in the canoe. Spring weather in the Upper Peninsula changes quickly. Pack extra warm clothing. Leave a trip plan with a friend describing your route, destination and approximate time of arrival. Be a courteous, considerate canoer.

Pack It In-Pack It Out

If you can carry it in, you can carry it out. Go one step further and carry out trash that less thoughtful people have left behind.

If You Must Have A Campfire

Keep it safe and small! Shelter your fire from high winds and keep away from logs, brush and tree trunks. Clear the ground to mineral soil. Make sure it is DEAD OUT before leaving. Be sure you have necessary permits.

Keep The Water Supply Clean

Please don't wash in it. Wash dishes and yourself away from and below all sources of drinking water. Dispose of waste water away from lakes, streams and springs. Boil or treat water before drinking it.

Disposing Of Human Waste

Stay at least 100 feet away from any water. Dig a small hole about 8 inches deep. Cover it with loose soil and sod after using.

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