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Make Macomb Your Home

The Clinton River

Spanning four counties, the Clinton River is 760 square miles of clear, cold waters and is home to diverse wildlife. It flows through 10 of the 27 communities that make up Macomb County. Whether you are looking to connect with nature, fish, paddle or bike on a nearby trail, the Clinton River is the ideal setting.

The heart of the Clinton River (Auburn Hills to Utica) is comprised of steep gradients, hairpin turns and fluctuating water levels – to be paddled only by experienced kayakers. The lower river (Sterling Heights to the river’s mouth at Lake St. Clair) features heavily forested riverbanks and scenic stretches of slow-moving water that empties into beautiful Lake St. Clair.



The Clinton River is one of the nation’s best urban paddling rivers.

The lower river, particularly from Budd Park in Clinton Township to Mount Clemens, is the best stretch for beginners. A section from Utica to Sterling Heights is being improved for access and will become a key area for beginner and intermediate paddlers.

Anyone wanting to paddle the Clinton River should understand that sections can be challenging and the water can run very fast and high, especially after a rain event. You should always check the streamflow gage nearest to the area you are paddling to assess if the river is running high.

Clinton River and Lake St. Clair Water Trails Map


Access Points

Yates Park
Dequindre Road and 23 Mile Road
Shelby Township

Riverbends Park
5700 22 Mile Road
Shelby Township

Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center
4101 River Bends Drive
Shelby Township

Downtown Utica

Heritage Park
44505 Van Dyke

Nature Center
42700 Utica Road
Sterling Heights

North Clinton River Park
8600 Riverland Drive 
Sterling Heights

Budd Park
19000 Clinton River Road
Clinton Township

Shadyside Park
155 Shadyside
Mount Clemens

Downtown Mount Clemens/MacArthur Park
96 North River Road
Mount Clemens

Harley Ensign Memorial Park
32995 S River Road
Harrison Township


Boat Cruises and Canoe/Kayak Rentals

Clinton River Cruises

Clinton River Canoe & Kayak

Simple Adventures



Waterfront Parks and Nearby Hike/Bike Trails

Macomb Orchard Trail

This hike and bike path is a 24-mile linear park that starts at 24 Mile Road and Dequindre in Shelby Township and travels northeast to the city of Richmond. It connects with Stony Creek Metropark, Bloomer Park and the Clinton River Trail.

Lake St. Clair Metropark

This large park on Lake St. Clair offers a variety of activities, including a sandy swimming beach, marina and boat launching sites.

Stony Creek Metropark

This expansive park offers a wide variety or year-round activities including swimming beaches, boating, hiking, golfing, mountain biking and cross-country skiing.


Walkable Downtowns

Downtown Mount Clemens River District
Once known for its mineral baths, today, Mount Clemens is the unique combination of city living and pastoral ambiance. Residents and visitors can boat or kayak along the scenic Clinton River, dock at the riverfront park and head inland to enjoy everything that charming downtown Mount Clemens has to offer. It has a thriving restaurant row, specialty shops and many options to enjoy the pub and nightlife scene. The city also offers top-notch special events that include riverfront concerts, parades, festivals and the area’s premier firework event.

Downtown Utica
Utica boasts a vibrant business district offering a wonderful variety of restaurants, quaint shops and hotels. In 2016, Jimmy John’s Field opened on Auburn Road adjacent to M-59 in downtown Utica. This state-of-the-art ballpark offers fun for the whole family. Utica is known for its beautiful park system and abundant opportunities to get outdoors and play – by picnicking, biking, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, hiking and more.