Northern Michigan's Inland Waterway
Inland Waterway is Michigan's longest chain of rivers and lakes.
The town of Indian River is right at the heart of it! The Inland
Waterway, which is more than 40 miles long, runs through
Pickerel Lake, Crooked Lake, The Crooked River, Burt Lake, The
Indian River, Mullett Lake, The Cheboygan River, and finally
into Lake Huron.
The Inland Waterway:
•Can handle boats up to 65 feet long (18 foot beam) with up to a
5 foot draft.
•Route has two bridges along the way that do not open. Lincoln
Avenue bridge has a vertical clearance of 20 feet and M-33
Highway bridge has a vertical clearance of 16.7 feet.
•Route is 38.2 miles long.
•Route features two locks. Cheboygan River Lock - call the
Michigan DNR Field Office in Cheboygan at (231) 627-9011 for
fees and time schedules. Crooked River Lock - call the Michigan
DNR Field Office in Petoskey at (231) 347-2311 for fees and time
•Longest distance between gas stops is 10 miles.
•At the waterway’s north end, you’re just 15 miles from Mackinac
Island, 18 miles to the Mackinaw Bridge, 21 miles to the Les
Cheneaux Islands, 60 miles to the North Channel, and 80 miles to
the Soo Locks.
•Navigation on the Crooked River generally limits boats to 25
•17 species of fish inhabit the waterway.
This historical marker can be found at Burt
Lake State Park. Caption at right reads:
The glaciers of the last Ice Age retreated to the north some
25,000 years ago, leaving behind the lakes that rank as
Michigan's most notable and geographical feature. Among the
state's largest inland lakes is Burt Lake, named after William
A. Burt, who, together with John Mullett, made a federal survey
of the area from 1840 to 1843. By following the Cheboygan River,
Mullett Lake, and Indian River to Burt Lake, then up Crooked
River to Crooked Lake, Indians and fur traders had only a short
portage to Little Traverse Bay. Thus they avoided the trip
through the Straits. Completion of a lock on the Cheboygan in
1869 opened this inland waterway to the Cheboygan Slack Water
Navigation Company, whose vessels carried passengers and freight
until railroads put it out of business. Day-long excursions over
these waters became popular with tourists.
VIEW & DOWNLOAD
THE INLAND WATERWAY BROCHURE HERE!
Links of interest:
Navigation Charts of the
Route Historical Society
Inland Water Route History
Lake Huron, Cheboygan River, Cheboygan River
Lock, Mullett Lake, Indian River, Burt Lake, Crooked
River, Crooked River Lock, Crooked Lake