A popular activity amongst the locals and students of the Ann Arbor area is taking a float, paddle, or SUP down the Huron River. If the coming warmer days of the summer season leads you to the liveries, use the following information to get the most out of your trip (or consecutive trips, because once is just not enough).
Ann Arbor has two liveries, Argo and Gallup, which are open daily for river trips and boat rentals without prior reservations.
- The Argo Canoe Livery is located at the Argo Cascades and offers a series of kayak sizes, rafts, tubes, and stand-up paddleboards (also known as SUPs). One attraction is the still-water boat rentals where one can take a slow-to-no-current trip – of either 1.5 hours or 4 hours, depending on your preference – on paddle operated boats. Tubing the cascades is also an option, bring your own flotation device or rent one from the livery and make the trek to the top as many times as you want on this natural waterslide. They also have concessions, merchandise, and river-themed programs for visitors of all ages. By checking up on their calendar, you can sign up for Parks and Rec classes at the Livery, such as Kayak I, Introduction to Stand-up Paddleboard, and family classes, amongst others.
- The Gallup Canoe Livery offers many of the same options for exploring the Huron River, including additional activities such as still-water paddling on the 2.5 mile pond (great for all skill levels and ages), a 2.5 hour river trip on the Barton-to-Gallup Park route (hits the sweet spot between Argo’s 1.5 hour and 4 hour* options), and the Gallup Livery rentable room for meetings or parties on the Huron Gallup also acts as a location for children’s summer camps or the aforementioned Parks and Recreation classes.
Feel free to utilize any of the river access points with your own kayaks and paddleboats, if DIY is more your style. A popular option among students consists of purchasing a tube at one of the convenience stores in the area, filling a foam-insulated cooler with chilled refreshments, and carrying their provisions to one of the liveries or access points along the way to start their afternoons full of sunny relaxation.
Tips for a well-executed DIY float:
A) Give yourself plenty of time.
- Sure, that one friend who is shifted to work tonight at 6pm wants to tag along, but will the rest of the group be able to relax with one eye on the clock (or shrink-wrapped cell phone)?
- Know that the river slows down at different points, and sometimes the speed has to do with water levels – so it is often best to schedule your river experiences around time-sensitive obligations.
B) Purchase or construct quality insulation for the objects you do not want to get wet.
- If possible, just leave your valuables at home. Pack clothing or other cover-ups in gallon zipping bags, and test the integrity of the bag by placing a paper towel inside and submerging it in your kitchen sink before finding out the hard way out on the Huron.
- Oh my goodness just put it on. Everywhere.
D) Look at a map beforehand – or, even, talk to the staff at one of the Liveries about what to expect out on the water.
- It’s important to know what you’re getting into.
Keeping You Informed,