Northern Michigan’s Inland Waterway is a unique adventure and is Michigan’s longest chain of rivers and lakes. The Inland Waterway, which is 38.2 miles long, runs through Pickerel Lake, Crooked Lake, Crooked River, Burt Lake, Indian River, Mullett Lake, Cheboygan River and finally into Lake Huron.
The Waterway features two locks - the Cheboygan River Lock and Crooked River Lock. Fees and schedules do apply, please contact the Michigan DNR Field Office at 231-347-2311 for more information. At the Waterway’s north end, you are 15 miles from Mackinac Island, 18 miles to the Mackinac Bridge, 21 miles to Les Cheneaux Islands, 60 miles to the North Channel and 80 miles to the Soo Locks.
There are over 17 species of fish within the lakes and water enthusiasts can boat, fish, tube, swim, kayak, canoe and view scenery and wildlife. There are many boat rental companies in the area. Our front desk has a list of recommendations for your convenience.
Michigan Historic Site
The national historical marker can be found at Burt Lake State Park and it 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.