Blue Earth River segments and maps

Map: Blue Earth River

Established in 2010 as a state water trail, the Blue Earth River takes its name from the blue-green clay found in the river bluffs near Mankato. This river flows through a diverse and scenic landscape. You'll pass remnants of the Big Woods that covered east-central Minnesota, as well as natural grassland where bison once roamed. The river shares a map with the Watonwan River.

The river deepens in the lower twelve miles, curving below rocky bluffs and wooded hills. Wildflowers add color to the shores in spring. The river runs north through Faribault and Blue Earth counties before the confluence with the Minnesota River near Mankato.

The river is usually calm with one area of Class I rapids; however, major rainfall can create fast moving water and waves capable of swamping a canoe or kayak. Check river levels before your visit. Other canoeable rivers flow into the Blue Earth, offering numerous trip options. Hazards include the Rapidan Dam. Be aware of portage locations and stay clear of the dangerous current below the dam.

Recommended day trip

Rapidan Dam Park to County Road 90

  • Put-in location: Rapidan Dam Park carry-in access, river mile 11.9
  • Take-out location: County Road 90 bridge, river mile 2.8
  • Length: 9.1 river miles

This route is for experienced paddlers. Enjoy beautiful scenery as you paddle an area of challenging Class I rapids, view nearby Triple Falls, and pass the "Big Moe" boulder. This stretch should be avoided if river levels are high. The paved Red Jacket Trail connects both access points, offering an opportunity for a pedal (biking)/paddle experience.

Explore on shore

Minneopa State Park

This state park offers a variety of recreational opportunities, from camping, picnicking and hiking to a drive-through bison range and a large waterfall.

Red Jacket and South Route paved trails

These paved trails crisscross each other and provide scenic views near the river. The Red Jacket is 13 miles long and runs between Mankato and Rapidan Dam Park. The South Route is 8.3 miles long and runs from Minneopa State Park to State Highway 22. Trail map.

Local contacts

DNR Southern Region Headquarters
21371 State Highway 15, New Ulm, MN 56073

Nearest medical facilities

Mayo Clinic Health System
1025 Marsh Street, Mankato, MN 56001

New Ulm Medical Center
1324 Fifth Street North, New Ulm, MN 56073

United Hospital District
515 South Moore Street, Blue Earth, MN 56013

Blue Earth River
Kayaking the Blue Earth River.
Photo by Cynthia Novak-Krebs.


Blue Earth River
Kayaking the Blue Earth River.
Photo by Scott Kudelka.


Blue Earth River area map

Back to top