The Paddle Antrim Festival celebrates the amazing waterways and communities of Northern Michigan. The festival, always the second weekend after Labor Day, includes a two-day paddle event through the Chain of Lakes Water Trail. This chooses your own adventure paddle provides the opportunity for you to paddle one or both days and decide how far to travel. There are exits strategically placed along the route so you may go anywhere from 7 miles to all 42 miles. Paddling Route Friday: Begin in Ellsworth and travel 7 miles through four small lakes to the first checkpoint in Central Lake, a great spot to get out and stretch. For those who continue, it’s another 8 miles through Intermediate Lake to Bellaire. Time to complete the entire route averages 4-7 hours. Saturday: Begin in Bellaire and travel 9 miles to the first checkpoint, Dockside Restaurant’s Beach. For those whose boat meets the additional criteria, you can continue and travel up to 27 miles to Elk Rapids. There are 2 additional checkpoints along the way (#2 Torch River Bridge at 17 miles & #3 Chippewa Trail at 21 miles) where paddlers can end their day to make it a perfect adventure for them. To complete the entire route, paddlers must stay focused and paddling averages 8-10 hours to complete the entire route, depending on ability and conditions. The first 9 miles are calmer waters but after the first checkpoint the route includes larger lakes and a lake crossing which requires a higher skill level. Choose the best adventure for you and your ability and feel free to end your paddle at any checkpoint, this is not a race!