Keystone Rapids Trail Head


Located about 10 minutes south of Traverse City on Beitner Rd, Keystone Rapids Trail Head is across the road from Beitner Park, a popular launch/take-out site on the Boardman River. This is the last opportunity to get off the river before reaching the rapids; I highly recommend walking the trail to view the rapids before attempting.


Due to the dams removal project, the river is in a state of change, including this stretch of the Boardman that contains Keystone Rapids, the only recognized rapids in Michigan's lower peninsula.

Keystone Rapids are rated Class I-II, depending on seasonal rains & they stretch about 1/2 - 3/4 mile. This entire stretch of fast water is a mix of large boulders, standing waves with a couple of tight turns.

There is very limited parking (on both sides of the road) and 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 & 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.

Locals often drop tubes in at the bottom of the small hill, ride the rapids to Oleson Bridge, then walk back on the trail & do it again (and again, and again...) There are also a few good swimming holes near Oleson Bridge.

There are miles of hiking trails that are part of the Grand Traverse Natural Education Reserve.  

There are seasonal vault toilets at Beitner Park & leashed dogs are welcome.

From Beitner Park to Oleson Bridge is about 1/2 mile & then another 1/2 mile to Lone Pine Trail head.


All original photographs & text Copyright © 2015 @TheBoardman

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