Cottonwood River State Water Trail

Cottonwood River

Trail Alert

Carry in access sites at Brown County Road 11 and Flandrau State Park are closed due to flood damage. The carry in access at State Highway 15 is currently closed due to a State Highway construction project expected to be completed by the end of October.

Updated September 27, 2021


The canoeable portion of this river begins in Springfield and ends 58 river miles later when it empties into the Minnesota River near New Ulm. The focal point for snag removal and maintenance on this river is from river mile 31.4 to the confluence with the Minnesota River. There are no major rapids.

Carved out some 10,000 years ago, the steep slopes are now saturated with maple, basswood, and hackberry trees, with oak and red cedar on the sunny side.

The best place to begin a trip is at the Highway 4 access south of Sleepy Eye or several miles downstream at the County Road 11 access. The take-out point is either at the Cottonwood Street bridge near Highway 15, or you can continue on down to the confluence of the Minnesota River and then several miles downstream to the Courtland access.

Eating fish from a Minnesota river or lake? Read the MN Department of Health's fish consumption advisory.

Local contact and map

Cottonwood River location mapDownload map
Brown County
Contact Minneopa State Park: 507-386-3910