Inland Waterway (Michigan)

Cheboygan River flowing through Cheboygan

The Inland Waterway or Inland Water Route is a series of rivers and lakes in the U.S. state of Michigan. With only a short portage, it forms a navigable route for small craft connecting Lake Huron and Lake Michigan across the Northern Michigan region.

The route is in Emmet and Cheboygan counties and consists of Round Lake, Iduna Creek, Crooked Lake, Crooked River, Burt Lake, Indian River, Mullett Lake, and the Cheboygan River.

The route passes through or near the communities of Conway, Oden, Ponshewaing, Alanson, Indian River, Topinabee, and Cheboygan.


Early history

The Inland Waterway was originally used by Native Americans to avoid the strong waves around Waugoshance Point on Lake Michigan. Consequently, fifty Native American encampments have been discovered along the shores of the Inland Water Route. One such encampment, located in Ponshewaing, has artifacts dating back over 3,000 years.

Settlement in 1800s

The Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad reached Petoskey in 1873. This opened up the surrounding area to tourism, settlers, and lumbermen. This eventually led to various people proposing different ideas for the water way. One such plan was the transportation of mail along the waterway. This involved the dredging of Crooked River. Freight was eventually transported along the route. With the advent of the railroad as a cheaper means with which to move goods, the Inland Waterway fell into decline.

The Inland Waterway today

Today the region surrounding the route is still a tourist destination. The historical society for the region was founded in 2004 and is known as The Inland Water Route Historical Society. It also is home to a museum in Alanson.

See also


External links

Coordinates: 45°28′00″N 84°40′00″W / 45.46667°N 84.6667°W / 45.46667; -84.6667

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