Ann Arbor River Trip Kayaking – Wednesday Activity Review

This review of Ann Arbor River Trip Kayaking is part of our Summer Series: Wednesday Activity Reviews.

Earlier this summer at Huron River Day, my daughter went kayaking in still water at Gallup Park. She requested that we try the river trip this summer. Last weekend our family took our first kayaking trip down the Huron River. 

Ann Arbor River Trip Kayaking - Ready to Go

Ann Arbor River Trip Kayaking

The Ann Arbor Canoe Liveries at Gallup and Argo both offer River Trips. The Argo livery offers a trip from Argo to Gallup. The Gallup livery offers trips from Barton through Argo to Gallup. We decided on the shorter Argo to Gallup River Trip.

Ann Arbor River Trip Kayaking Experience

The Argo to Gallup trip starts on Argo pond where you can take a few minutes to get used to paddling the kayak before heading through the cascades.

Ann Arbor River Trip Kayaking - Getting in Kayak

When you enter the Cascades, steering the kayak is important. We were there early so there were not many tubes to avoid. However, you still need to enter each cascade straight and in the center. My husband and I were slightly off center in one of the cascades, hit a rock and flipped over. Unfortunately my waterproof camera was loose in the kayak and we never found it. So, I only have a few pictures that I took with my phone after our trip and some photos from our still water paddling experience.

After the Cascades, we entered the river. On the river you pass Island Park, the Arb, and continue to Gallup Park. The river level was relatively low this weekend. They were not allowing canoes or rafts to make the trip. My husband and I had a double kayak and got stuck on two shallow areas – we also saw another double kayak stuck. Our daughter had no trouble in a single kayak (especially since she weighs so little). In hindsight, we would have been better with 3 single kayaks instead of a single and a double kayak.

Ann Arbor River Trip Kayaking - At Gallup Pond

As we approached Gallup Park, the number of kayaks increased, but it was still manageable to navigate around them.  


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Ann Arbor River Trip Kayaking Logistics

Transportation from Gallup back to Argo is provided as part of the river trip. However, since we were driving by Gallup Park anyway, we decided to drop a car off there so we did not have to wait on the van. When we finished our river trip, there was a line waiting for the vans back to Argo. I am not sure we would have made the first van.

The Argo Canoe Livery has 3 stations for renting Kayaks. First, go to Station 1 in the pavilion to decide what you are renting and sign the releases. Then, head to Station 2 to pay for your rentals. You will need to leave either car keys or a drivers license as a deposit. When you return, go to Station 3 to pick up your deposit.

After paying for your rental, pick up your paddles and life jackets. Make sure everyone in your party has used the bathrooms before getting in line for a kayak.

Ann Arbor River Trip Kayaking - Paddles & Life Jackets


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Ann Arbor River Trip Kayaking Details

The Argo to Gallup trip is 3.7 miles. It is estimated to take 1.5 hours after exiting the Argo Cascades. The last rental is at 4p. 

The Barton to Gallup trip is 5.7 miles. It is estimated to take 2.5 hours. This trips starts at the Gallup Park Canoe Livery and includes transportation to Barton. The last rental is at 2p.

Ann Arbor River Trip Kayaking - Map

The rower in the stern of each boat should have paddling experience (5 trips). My daughter and husband both have more experience than I do, so my daughter went alone (which is what she wanted) and my husband and I partnered up.

The following rentals are available for the Argo to Gallup trip:

  • 1 Person kayak – $21
  • 2 Person kayak – $27
  • Canoe – $27
  • 5 person raft – $72

The following rentals are available for the Barton to Gallup trip:

  • 1 Person kayak – $26
  • 2 Person kayak – $32

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Ann Arbor River Trip Kayaking Tips

Make sure to wear sunscreen for your trip and dress to get wet – including footwear. We brought towels that we left in our car at Gallup Park. We also left water bottles in the car.

Plan that all of your items will get wet. Even if you don’t capsize, there will be splashes particularly in the Cascades.The Canoe Livery sells dry bags. However, we preferred to play it safe and left our phones in the car and only brought the key portion of our key fobs. 

Arrive early for your River Trip especially on the weekends. River Trips start at 9a when the livery opens. When we arrived at 9:15a, parking was readily available. By the time we returned, all of the Argo Cascade lots were full. Overflow parking is available at the Kellogg eye center on the weekends.

Pack a picnic lunch in your Kayak and enjoy a picnic at Gallup Park after your trip. Or leave it in the car and enjoy it at Longshore Park once returning to Argo. Check out our Playground Profile of Longshore Park and Playground Profile of Gallup Park.


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Other Ann Arbor River Adventures

We also love tubing the Cascades. Since we bought our own tubes, this is a free activity for us.

Argo Cascades - with Tube

The Canoe Liveries also offer stillwater paddling options. My daughter tried both kayaking and stand up paddleboarding at Huron River Day and had a great time.

Ann Arbor Still Water Paddles - Stand Up Paddleboarding

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Anna Mae

Anna Mae owns & operates Ann Arbor with Kids, a website dedicated to Family Activities in Ann Arbor. My husband and I moved to Ann Arbor in 2003 and our daughter joined the family in 2006.

Anna Mae

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