April 2015

The Paddle Experience

Paddle Antrim Map 2015The first day begins on the sandy beaches at the Village of Ellsworth’s beautiful Ellsworth River Park.  In the first couple hours, paddlers cut through the calm waters of four small lakes before passing under the bridge into Intermediate Lake in the Village of Central Lake.  Thurston Park is a perfect spot to pull out and stretch with park amenities and restaurants and shops a quick walk up.  The paddle continues through the long, yet narrow, Intermediate Lake before passing under the picturesque pedestrian bridge as you enter Richardi Park in the Village of Bellaire.  The closeness of the shores throughout the paddle create a wonderful opportunity to really see the landscape and wildlife as you pass by.  In September, the trees are changing and the views are breathtaking.  Because this paddle is slightly shorter, 16 miles, and offers smaller lakes, it is also a great experience for paddlers looking for a calmer waters.

The second day begins at the Ohio Street boat launch in Bellaire on the Intermediate River before entering Lake Bellaire.  Paddlers continue through the scenic and incredibly important Grass River Natural Area  and Clam Lake before coming to the first checkpoint (9 miles) at the entrance to Torch Lake.  The crystal blue waters of Michigan’s second largest inland lake are amazing and paddlers may choose to stop halfway through in Alden at the second checkpoint (13 miles) where there are restaurants and supplies.  The final four miles of Torch Lake brings paddlers to the third checkpoint (17 miles) at the beginning of the Torch River.  Torch River flows into Lake Skegemog where paddlers enjoy the northern portion of the lake.  Paddlers will pass their fourth checkpoint (21 miles) before the final stretch through Elk Lake, ending at the Elk Rapids Chamber of Commerce kayak boat launch (26 miles).  This paddle is more technical and offers the open waters of the larger lakes, and yet is just as amazing as the upper portion of the Chain of Lakes.

Ellsworth – A Paddle Antrim Festival Community

Activity and enthusiasm share the stage in the Village of Ellsworth. Located at the north end of the Chain-of-Lakes, this community boasts strong agricultural and lumbering roots. It remains a solid agricultural region with many dairy and beef farms, orchards, vineyards and farm markets. Ellsworth is very involved in local and Chamber of Commerce events, programs and activities. One of the area’s signature events, the Pig Roast, is celebrated and produced each year the third weekend in June by an all-volunteer committee.  The Village of Ellsworth continues to be an active member of the Breezeway Task Force. The community leaders are constantly exploring ways to enhance and promote its many natural recreational and business amenities as well as improving the resident’s and visitor’s quality of life.

With its’ excellent location on the Chain-of-Lakes, Ellsworth offers a multitude of recreational opportunities for all ages including; kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, fishing, boating, hiking, hunting, birding, photography or painting. The Wooden Shoe Campground, which is owned and operated by the village, is a great destination for campers. It features an up north setting and includes many family-oriented amenities. A stop at the Ellsworth Labyrinth (one of the largest in the Northern Midwest) located on the shores of Ellsworth Lake allows a chance to relax, meditate and contemplate. The Ellsworth Community Park offers an elevated archery range, covered pavilion, multi-purpose building, restrooms, playground area, day boat dock, walking paths, observation deck, sledding hill and a paved parking area.

A perfect adventure and a chance to escape to your inner spirit awaits you in Ellsworth. Celebrate and explore the natural beauty and tranquility that is offered here year round. Nature and art in perfect harmony, along with restoration and advancement, abound and grow throughout the entire region!

For more information on local events, business offerings and opportunities, check out the East Jordan Area Chamber of Commerce or the Village of Ellsworth.

– East Jordan Area Chamber of Commerce