Cedar River State Water Trail

Cedar River

The Cedar River flows from just north of Austin, MN all the way down to southeast Iowa, where it joins the Iowa River and becomes a major tributary into the Mississippi. Enjoy catching small mouth bass while paddling down a moderately flowing beautifully wooded corridor. There are no major rapids.

Local contact and map

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Mower County, southeastern Minnesota
Contact Rice Lake State Park: (507) 414-6190.

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River character

This moderately flowing river is perfect for beginning canoeists, as it does not offer a host of challenges. This section of river does not have any rapids, but there can always be snags and overhanging trees. The water is highest in spring, and there have been historical floods on this section of the Cedar. The water levels are usually sufficient for canoeing throughout the summer.


The native tree species surrounding this stretch are bur oak savanna, tallgrass prairie and maple basswood forest. The bur oak is mostly on moraine ridges, the prairie on level or gently rolling hills, while the maple and basswood are in steep ravines or near streams. This stretch offers a pleasantly wooded paddle for canoeists, and also flows through agricultural land.

Fish and wildlife

Notable fishing spots include the area around Austin for small mouth bass, and around Lansing there have been reports of northern pike. There are also walleye and bullheads, but bass, especially small mouth and rock bass are most commonly caught. This stretch of river to the Iowa border is a good spot for Anglers to hook some fish. The Minnesota Department of Health has guidelines for consuming fish taken from Minnesota's lakes and rivers. Go to the Fish Consumption Advisory Page to find out more.

Some interesting and rare wildlife can also be seen on this stretch of river including the blanding’s turtle, wood turtles, western fox snakes, Ozark minnows, sandhill cranes, and several species of mussels.