Paddling enthusiasts can arrive in Paw Paw for a day of canoeing or kayaking on Maple Lake or up and down the Paw Paw River. You can put into Maple Lake at the Sunset Park boat launch on the north end of the island or at the south end at Lake Front Park. From either, you will be able to paddle the 172 acre MapleLake. Take a break from paddling and enjoy a picnic on Maple Island, at Sunset Park (boat launch), or Lake Front Park. Maple Island has 19 picnic sites with tables, most with grills, and all with waste barrels. Some picnic sites are sheltered and some are open air; some are shaded and some in full sun.
The Paw Paw water trail launch is on the north side of the dam on Power Plant Road and parking is available nearby. The Paw Paw River runs all the way to St. Joseph/Benton Harbor where it joins the St. Joseph River before flowing into Lake Michigan. Paddlers can enjoy a 11.5 mile paddle on the Paw Paw River south of Maple Lake. There are four (4) road crossings so you can select a paddle that fits you best. • A 2.6 mile trip takes paddlers to County Road (CR) 665 road crossing • A 5.6 paddle goes to 40th Street road crossing • A 9.1 paddle winds it way to 44th Avenue road crossing • A 11.5 paddle will take you to the 45th/46th Street road crossing.
For a trip up river, park in the Village lot on West Michigan Avenue and launch your canoe or kayak into Briggs Pond. Paddling around Briggs Pond is beautiful and it is an easy paddle up the Paw Paw River.
For a trip down river, put your canoe or kayak in on the north side of the dam on Power Plant Road/51st Avenue. The Paw Paw Area Rotary Club installed steps and a launch so you can easily carry your canoe or kayak to the Paw Paw River for a little more challenging paddle down river.
While you are paddling around, remember there are public restrooms at Lake Front Park, Maple Island and port a johns at the boat launch.