Start in the town of Oscoda Michigan. Paddle and portage up the AuSable River some 113 miles and 561 vertical feet. Up and over 6 hydro electric dams and across 6 open water dam impoundments to the town of Grayling. Take out of the AuSable River at The Old AuSable Fly Shop for the start of the 7 mile portage to the Manistee River. Portage West on M-72 past Lake Margrethe to the Manistee River. Put in on the Manistee River. Paddle and portage down 160 miles and 561 vertical feet, over 2 hydro electric dams and finish at the Insta Launch Campground just before the Manistee River dumps into Lake Manistee.
Downtown Grayling at the Old AuSable Fly Shop
N 44 39.591' W 084 43.865'
This is another location steeped in paddling history. This is the site of the historic Rays Canoe Livery, the starting point of the AuSable River Marathon. Thousands of spectators line the banks of the river here every year to watch the lemans style start of the Marathon.
There is a nice open flat area for portaging preparations. Drinking water is available and there are many stores and shops on your way out of town for any resupply needs. There are also many miles of roadside camping opportunities during the 7 mile portage over to the Manistee River.
This 7 mile portage is mostly flat on the shoulder of M-72. Traffic is busy during rush hour times as this is a main artery connecting the towns of Traverse City, Kalkaska and Grayling. It's a good idea to have some kind of warning lights rigged on the rear of your boat so traffic coming up on you from behind can see you. The put in at the Manistee river is best if done on the east bank on the downriver side of the M-72 bridge.
The Manistee 150 will start at the portage put-in to the Manistee River on the east bank of the M-72 bridge.
Camping the night before the start is available (first-come first-serve, no reservations) at the Manistee River Bridge State Forest Campground.
This route was part of the Kruger Challenge and Ultimate Kruger Challenge in 2010, and the Tip of the Mitt Adventure in 2011.