The Betsie River begins in Grand Traverse County at Green Lake, and flows in a southwest direction into Benzie County. The average water depth down to Grass Lake Dam is 14"- 20". Betsie river covers 50-55 river miles and takes about 22 hours to canoe. River start at Grass Lake Dam.
There are no rapids on the Betsie but it has a steady, swift current to keep you moving. It is a very crooked river with many overhanging trees and submerged logs tomaneuver around to test your skills. There will be some unexpected fallen trees to portage over or around, dropped by beavers or high winds. There is one designated portage on the river which is Homestead Falls. The portage is made on the right and is about 200 feet long.
There are some private cabins along the river, but the Betsie is a state designated wild and scenic natural river which ensures against new construction close to the river. There are two state campgrounds on the river, at Grass Lake and Fred's landing, along with some state land bordering the river. From Thompsonville down to Fred's Landing the water depth averages 2-3 feet. This same stretch of river is bordered by hardwood-covered hills which drop off to the river bottom of conifers.
The river drops down into Manistee county for a few miles, then enters Benzie county again at the County Line Road #602. Many small streams run into the river where the trout like to feed, and trout hide in the many log jams along the river which are distant memories of the old logging days. Trout are easily fished by canoe or from shore. From Fred's Landing to the Homestead Dam (now known as Homestead Falls) the river has been altered from floodwaters of the past hydro elastic dam and some sand bars may occur. The river from Homestead Falls to the second bridge on River Road becomes deeper and wider. This section is the easiest to canoe. From second bridge on River Road to Frankfort the river passes through a wildlife sanctuary and some open marsh to the mouth of the river. Canoe trips end at the second bridge on river road.