Registration is now open for the 2021 Paddle Antrim Festival, September 16th-18th. Now in its sixth year the Paddle Antrim Festival is the best way to experience the Chain of Lakes Water Trail and the quaint lakeside communities surrounding the trail. This fun, non-competitive event provides opportunities for all levels of paddlers to participate one or two days and paddle 7 to 42 miles.

This event highlights the wide-range of paddling opportunities that Northern Michigan’s Chain of Lakes provides. The first day begins with a series of small lakes and interconnected rivers with beautiful scenery and paddling levels suitable for all paddlers. The second day you can explore up to five lakes and two rivers including the tranquil Grass River Natural Area and the crystal blue waters of larger lakes including the well-known Torch Lake. Paddlers will enjoy the charming communities of Ellsworth, Central Lake, Bellaire, Alden, and Elk Rapids as they make their way down the waterway. To make the weekend stress-free, meals and shuttle service can be added.

“We are excited to invite all levels of paddlers to grab their canoe, kayak or paddle board and experience the diversity of paddling available on our pristine waters”, says Deana Jerdee, Paddle Antrim executive director. “Over 150 paddlers come from all over the state and the country to experience the diversity of the pristine Chain of Lakes Water Trail and the wonderful hospitality each community has to offer.”

The Paddle Antrim Festival not only encourages folks to get out and enjoy the lakes and rivers but supports Paddle Antrim’s mission to protect the waterway by focusing on stewardship, education, and increasing access through development of the Chain of Lakes Water Trail.

The Festival will feature a community event on each day for paddlers to come together to celebrate the amazing communities that make up the water trail. The Festival kicks off with a relaxing evening and paddler check in at Ellsworth River Park followed by a fun Block Party at Bellaire’s Richardi Park Friday afternoon. To culminate this incredible weekend, the Festival’s top sponsor Short’s Brewing Company will host a final bash at the Elk Rapids Pull Barn with great brews and live music and fun for the whole family.

For additional information on Paddle Antrim, the Chain of Lakes Water Trail or Paddle Antrim Festival, go online or contact Paddle Antrim at or 231-498-2080