The Detroit River runs 28 miles from Lake Saint Clair to Bar Point at the Detroit River Lighthouse, where it flows into Lake Erie. It separates some of the southernmost areas of Canada from Wayne County. Before the French name "Detroit" was adopted, it was known as either the Chiebonani, Waweatunong or Wajotionony.

From Lake Saint Clair, it flows west, but at Zug Island turns south. At Ecorse the river widens out and is separated into different navigable channels, with Fighting Island straddling the international border. The current flows at 2 1/2-6 miles per hour.

The depth varies from 10 to 60 feet with an average depth of 35 feet. The width varies from a half-mile to 3 miles.

The river was declared a public highway by Act of Congress on December 31, 1819. An invisible boundary line was established by the Boundary Water Treaty of 1909.

Crossings of the Detroit River

Several bridges and two tunnels cross the Detroit River.

Islands of the Detroit River

Many islands are in the Detroit River and many are well-known. Belle Isle is a recreation area managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Zug Island is owned by US Steel, Grosse Ile Township is spread across a number of islands and parts of the city of Gibraltar are itself on four islands.

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