Grand River (Michigan)

Grand River (Michigan)

Infobox River
river_name = Grand River

image_size = 250px
caption = A map of the Grand River
origin = Somerset Township, Hillsdale County, Michigan
mouth = Grand Haven, Michigan
basin_countries =
length = 260 miles
elevation =
mouth_elevation =
discharge = 3,800 ft³/s (108 m³/s)
watershed = Grand River Watershed

The Grand River is the longest river in the U.S. state of Michigan. It runs 260 miles (420 km) through the cities of Jackson, Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Grand Haven.


The Grand's headwaters begin in Somerset Township in Hillsdale County , and in Liberty Township in Jackson County, and flow through Jackson, Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Ionia, Kent, and Ottawa counties before emptying into Lake Michigan.

Its watershed drains an area of 5,572 mile² (14,431 km²). The Grand River carries an average 3,800 ft³/s (108 m³/s). It has several dams along its length but is a trout and salmon stream for much of its length.

It is estimated that 22% of the pesticide usage in the Lake Michigan watershed occurs in the Grand River drainage which accounts for only 13% of the total watershed. Much of the basin is flat and it contains many swamps and lakes. Nevertheless, there is an elevation difference of 700 feet (213 m) between the source and mouth of the river.

Tributaries are the Red Cedar River, Looking Glass River, Maple River, Flat River, and the Thornapple River.

A 500 passenger dinner cruise ship modeled after a riverboat operates on the river in Lansing.

Grand Rapids was built on the site of a large rapids on the river, although these have disappeared after the installation of a low-head dam, and later a fish ladder.


Before roads, canals, and railroads, the Grand River was an important navigational route through the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, used for centuries by various Native American tribes and later by explorers and white settlers. The river was called "O-wash-ta-nong", meaning "Far-away-water" because of its length."A Snug Little Place Memories of Ada Michigan 1821 - 1930", Ada Historical Society/Jane Siegel, 1993, (Siegel 1993) p.18 ]

It also formed part of a major demarcation of land ceded by Native Americans enabling U.S. settlers to legally obtain title to land in the area. In the 1821 Treaty of Chicago, the Ottawa, Ojibwe, and Potawatomi ceded to the United States all lands in Michigan Territory south of the Grand River, with the exception of several small reservations.

Grand River Avenue (or Grand River Road) was built early in the settlement of Michigan and runs from the head of navigation on the Grand to downtown Detroit. It formed an important part of an early route between Chicago and Detroit, along with the Grand itself, from Grand Rapids to Grand Haven, and Lake Michigan.


ee also

*List of Michigan rivers

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