Beitner Park

Located about 10-15 minutes south of Traverse City is Beitner Park, a popular launch/landing site on the Boardman River; this is the last opportunity to get off the river before Keystone Rapids.

Keystone Rapids on the Boardman River
NOTE: Keystone Rd & Beitner Rd are the same road; the name changes at River Rd.

Beitner Park is located on Beitner Road, where it crosses the Boardman River, just south of River Rd.

There is very limited parking (on both sides of road) & it's sometimes very busy, but there is no off-road parking, in fact it's a fairly bad spot because there's a hill in 1 direction & an intersection on a curve the other way - use great caution.

Oleson Bridge Trail-head is less than 1/2 mile north; there is ample parking there & good trails between sites.

There are vault toilets & leashed pets are welcome at Beitner Park.

From Beitner Park to Lone Pine Park is approximately 1 mile (via road or river). This entire stretch of fast water is a mix of large boulders, standing waves & a few tight turns.

Due to the dams removal project, the river is in a state of change, including the rapids.  Keystone Rapids are rated Class I-II (depending on seasonal water levels) & stretch about 1/2 - 3/4 mile, but there are also newly formed rapids in several areas and the river is stretching her banks as she adjusts to the new flow.

The river we know has new surprises, so be prepared & heed any posted warnings.  The rapids are quite changeable with the weather; it is highly recommended that everyone walk the trail to view the rapids before attempting.

Some people find it easier to launch/take out in the small pool next to the rocks, between the landing and the culverts.


Locals often drop inflatable tubes here, on the west side of the road, ride the rapids to Oleson Bridge, then walk back on the trail & do it again (and again, and again...)

There are miles of hiking trails as Beitner Park is adjacent to the Grand Traverse Natural Education Reserve. Keystone Rapids Trail Head, located across the road from Beitner, provides more than 2 miles of  well marked trails along the Boardman River. Hikers will find bridges, viewing platforms and ample opportunity for viewing wildlife.

This set of trails ends at Lone Pine Trail, where there is barrier-free access on a paved trail.

Never underestimate the power of any river; it can knock you down, push you into oblivion  & pin you in places you'll be helpless to escape from. The rapids may not look threatening, but they can & do flip watercraft VERY easily (and there are many submerged boulders along this stretch of the river).

The Boardman River is particularly unpredictable now that dams are being removed & ponds are being drawn down.


Heed all posted warnings!

* Wear a Coast Guard approved life vest

* Do not take young children through the rapids!

* View the rapids by walking the trail from Keystone Rapids Trail Head to Oleson Bridge

All original photographs & text Copyright © 2016 @TheBoardman

The Hacky Turtles "Take Me There" to Traverse City!