Established in 2011 as a state water trail, the Cedar River begins north of Austin, Minnesota and flows to southeast Iowa. It passes agricultural land, forests, ridgetops with oak savanna, gently rolling hills with prairie plants, and steep ravines lined by maple and basswood trees. The Cedar River eventually joins the Iowa River and becomes a major tributary of the Mississippi River.
This river has a moderate flow and no major rapids, which makes it wonderful for beginner paddlers. The river is highest in spring and occasionally floods. Water levels are usually sufficient for canoeing throughout the summer. Anglers may enjoy casting a line for smallmouth bass, northern pike, walleye, bullheads and rock bass.
Hazards include dams - be sure to know their locations! Also watch for occasional snags and overhanging trees which may tip an unwary paddler.
Recommended day trip
Riverwood Landing to State Line Road
- Put-in location: Riverwood Landing carry-in access, river mile 11.8
- Take-out location: State Line Road carry-in access, river mile 0
- Length: 11.8 river miles
This route offers a day of variety on the river. Meander through the river's twists and turns as you pass incoming streams, wooded shoreline, farm fields and a Wildlife Management Area. Be aware that the take-out location does not have a parking lot.
Explore on shore
This WMA covers over 300 acres of wetlands, woodlands, grasslands and river habitats. Recreational opportunities include bird watching, fishing, waterfowl hunting and trapping.
Portions of this 29-mile paved trail follow the Shooting Star Wildflower and Historic Route Scenic Byway. Native wildflowers and grasses are a highlight of this byway and trail. The trail starts in the city of Austin. Map of Austin bike trails.
Over nine miles of trails and 500 acres of prairie, forests, and wetlands in the city of Austin, as well as a nature center and nature programs.
Paddling the Cedar River.
The Cedar River.
Rice Lake Area Office, 8485 Rose Street, Owatonna, MN 55060
Nearest medical facility
Mayo Clinic Health System, 1000 First Drive NW, Austin, MN 55912
Mayo Clinic Health System, 404 W Fountain Street, Albert Lea, MN 56007