Click on the icons on the map for more detailed information.
No section of river on this map is “maintained” or served by any local liveries. While there are locals who paddle these rivers and try to remove deadfall, that is no guarantee that you won’t have to climb/carry/maneuver around some. The stretch of Coldwater River from Riverbend Park to JP Palmer launch (upstream from the Heritage Water Trail) has strong current and some deadfall. It would be a section better suited to experienced paddlers. The Coldwater River can be especially hazardous during spring run off or other high water flow periods. For current information on the rivers join the Facebook page: Friends of the Union City Heritage Water Trail. Local paddlers and members of that page are usually prompt at answering questions on current flow, blockage and hazard conditions.
The Union City Heritage Water Trail (purple section on above map), launched for Union City’s Sesquicentennial in 2016 marks 28 historic points as part of the village’s rich waterway history. It starts at newly named J.P. Palmer Launch on the Coldwater River just west of the bridge on Union City/Coldwater Road on the east side of the Village. Turn south through the gate marker with the canoe/kayak launch sign and proceed back to the drop off site. The trail starts on the Coldwater River near the old railroad trestle continuing under the Coldwater Road bridge and joining the St. Joe River to wind through the village toward the west.
It passes under the Broadway Bridge and paddlers are welcome to stop at Riverview Park on the left just past the Broadway Bridge. Refreshments are available across from the park at Jack’s Family Grocery. A short walk to the north across the Broadway Bridge you will find more dining options in the downtown including The Broadway Grille, Five Star Pizza, Mel’s Family Diner, and others. Or head east on St. Joe St though the 4 way stop and you can find a burger and a beer at Union City’s long standing “Bucket.” The Bucket is also accessible from the St. Joe River through the owner’s home property. The access is a small aluminum dock with the “Bucket” Heritage Trail Sign fastened to it.
Continue on west on the river under the Park St. Bridge on to the Arbogast Bridge where you will find the entrance to Union Lake, a 550 acre backwater to Riley dam. The 3 mile paddle across the lake can be a bit challenging on a west wind day. A portage is provided to the right (north side) of the Riley Dam and public parking is available there. The Historic Water Trail ends at Riley Dam but you can portage the dam and continue on to a very nice section of the St. Joe that takes you under the Athens Rd. Bridge on to an easy to access take out near Sherwood at the Arney Rd. bridge approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours past the dam. There is also access at a bridge about an hour below the dam on Athens Rd.