The Argo Park Canoe & Kayak River Trip from to Gallup is now one of my daughter’s favorite summer activities. In summer 2018, we took our first family river trip before my daughter would be going with classmates.
The 2023 Kayaking Season started in late April with the opening of the Gallup Park Canoe & Kayak Livery. It runs into October.
This review of Ann Arbor River Trip Kayaking is part of our Summer Series: Wednesday Activity Reviews.
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 which is the more popular trip.
In early spring and late fall, both trips are run out of the Gallup Park canoe livery.
Ann Arbor River Trip Kayaking Experience
The Argo to Gallup trip starts on Argo Pond. This gives you a few minutes to get used to paddling the kayak before heading through the Argo Cascades.
When you enter the Cascades, steering the kayak is important. If you are off-center entering the rapids, you might hit a rock and tip your kayak. When there are lots of tubes in the Cascades it is harder to enter each rapids straight on.
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, most of these pictures are from our still water experience or ones I took with my phone after our trip.
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.
In a double kayak, my husband and I got stuck on rocks in two shallow areas. We also saw others in a double kayak who were stuck. Our daughter had no trouble in a single kayak (especially since she weighs so little).
On subsequent trips, we have rented 3 single kayaks to minimize the chances of getting stuck. Getting stuck is also more likely when the river level is low.
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
The Barton to Gallup River Trip requires registration at least the day before your trip. You can call the day of your trip to see if they have extra boats available that day.
No reservation is required for the trip to Gallup from Argo Park by canoe or kayak. Canoes will start the trip after the Argo Cascades.
Transportation is included as part of both river trips. The Argo to Gallup trip starts at Argo and has transportation from Gallup back to Argo. The Barton to Gallup Trip provides transport from Gallup to start at Barton.
On weekends there can be a line to catch the van back to Argo. Since we drive by Gallup Park to get to Argo, we usually drop a car off at Gallup Park. Then we drive back to get our other car at Argo.
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 Details
Schedule for Gallup Park Kayaking Trips
Argo to Gallup River Trip
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.
Before Memorial Day and after Labor Day, the Argo livery may not be open. Trips will be run out of Gallup with transportation to Gallup and a limited departure schedule.
Barton to Gallup River Trip
The Barton to Gallup trip is 5.7 miles and is estimated to take 2.5 hours. Check-in for this trip is at the Gallup Park Canoe Livery and includes transportation to Barton to start your trip. The last rental is at 1p. The trip has set departure times with additional times on the weekend.
River Trip Experience
The rower in the stern of each boat should have paddling experience (5 trips). I was not an experienced paddler on our first trip, so I went in a double with my husband. Our daughter went alone. Now that we all have experience, we prefer single kayaks.
River Trip Pricing
The following rentals are available for the Argo to Gallup trip (Pricing updated for 2023):
- 1 Person kayak – $24
- 2 Person kayak – $30
- 2 Person Canoe (3-4 if children) – $30
- 5 person raft – $72
The following rentals are available for the Barton to Gallup trip (pricing updated for 2022):
- 1 Person kayak – $29
- 2 Person kayak – $35
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. We preferred to play it safe on our first trip and left our phones in the car.
Arrive early for your River Trip especially on the weekends. Rental lines can get long and parking can be difficult. River Trips start at 9a when the livery opens.
Parking was readily available at Argo at 9:15a. 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.
Other Ann Arbor River Adventures
We also love tubing the Cascades. Since we bought our own tubes, this is a free activity for us. The Argo Livery offers tube rentals.
Both the Argo Livery and Gallup Livery in Ann Arbor also offer boat rentals for stillwater paddling. My daughter tried both kayaking and stand up paddleboarding at Huron River Day and had a great time.