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For other rivers named Flint, see Flint River (disambiguation page).
The Flint River is a river in southeast Michiganmarker, 142 mi (229 km) long, that flows through the city of Flintmarker and the counties of Geneseemarker, Lapeermarker, Saginawmarker and Shiawasseemarker.


Map of the Saginaw River watershed including the Flint River
The Flint River drains 1,332 sq mi (3,449.8 km²) of Michigan, mostly in the counties of Lapeermarker, Geneseemarker, Shiawasseemarker, and Saginawmarker. It also drains parts of Oaklandmarker, Tuscola, and Sanilacmarker.

The river is formed in Lapeer County near Columbiavillemarker where the river's South Branch and North Branch come together. The river is supplemented by four major creeks, the Kearsley (draining the south and central portions of the east side of Genesee County), Thread (draining the south central part of the county), Swartz (draining the Swartz Creekmarker area), and Misteguay (draining the area near the northern section of the border of Genesee and Shiawassee Counties).

The river empties into the Shiawassee River in the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refugemarker near the city of Saginawmarker. Within the refuge, the Cass and Tittabawassee combine with the Shiawassee to form the Saginaw River. The Saginaw empties into the Saginaw Baymarker of Lake Huronmarker.

Features along the Flint River

The river is dammed in Richfield Township to form the Holloway Reservoir, which was formed in 1953 and fully completed 1955. The reservoir was constructed, originally, as a water supply for Flint, and to move the river through the city more quickly to dilute sewage. By 1967, though, the city got its drinking water from Lake Huron, and only uses it as an emergency back-up water supply.

The C.S. Mott Dam just five miles downstream and west of Geneseemarker forms Mott Lake and was completed in 1972 for recreational use. Local attractions along the lake include Crossroads Village, Huckleberry Railroad, and Stepping Stone Falls, and the riverboat Genesee Belle.

The next dam is the Utah Dam. A largely steel dam, it was completed in 1928 to prevent industrial discharges from entering the drinking water supply downstream. The gates have since been locked in the open position so that it no longer impedes the flow of the river.

The Hamilton Dam exists downstream at the University of Michigan–Flintmarker campus in downtown Flint. Constructed in 1920, it also once serves as a pedestrian bridge, but is now in severe disrepair. Because of its dilapidation, The Michigan Department of Enivronmental Quality ordered that steps be taken by 2008, and if that did not occur that the river be lowered to reduce the use of the dam. In 2008, the city of Flint spent $30,000 on a pre-engineering study to assess whether a new dam was needed or the old one be repaired.

Finally, downstream from the Hamilton Dam is an infatable dam just west of the Grand Traverse Street Bridge. The Fabridam was completed in 1979 mostly for visual and recreational purposes as it impounds very little of the river. It was replaced in 2001 with a $604,000 Obermeyer Hydro Inc. dam.

In the city of Flint, the river flows past the sites of former General Motors factories, most notably Chevrolet's first assembly plant, which was bisected by the river, and downtown through the campus of the University of Michigan–Flint and Riverbank Park. Continuing to the west, the river runs past Kettering Universitymarker and McLaren Hospital out into Flint Township and Flushing. The stretch of the Flint River from downtown Flint to Kettering University is channelized with concrete sides. In Downtown Flint, the Flint Carriage Factory is on the river, which was later Dort Motors, a predecessor to General Motors. William C. Durant and Josiah Dallas Dort's office building (the original corporate headquarters of the General Motors Corporation) is across the street.

A recreational trail called the Flint River Trail runs along the river from Grand Traverse Street in Downtown Flint to Carpenter Road on one side and Johnson Elementary School on Pierson Road on the other. It is a paved path, except behind the Flint Water Plant. North of Carpenter Road, the trail connects to the Mott Lake Trailway, which goes to Bluebell Beach on Bray Road and Stepping Stone Falls on Branch Road in Genesee Township. Another portion of the Mott Lake Trailway runs alongside the lake from the corner of Center Road and Coldwater Road to the corner of Genesee Road and Stanley Road. Together, the trails run 21.5 miles. Map of the Flint River Trail.

Northwest of Flint, a city park in Flushingmarker lies on the river.

Cities and villages along the river


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