Map: Cottonwood River
The canoeable portion of the Cottonwood River begins in the city of Springfield and ends 58 river miles later when it empties into the Minnesota River near New Ulm. There are no major rapids, which makes this a good river for beginning paddlers. This river shares a map with the Minnesota River (Map 4).
Carved out some 10,000 years ago, the steep slopes are now covered with maple, basswood and hackberry trees, with oak and red cedar on the sunny side.
Near the confluence with the Minnesota, the river flows through Flandrau State Park, which offers some great hiking and overnight stay opportunities. The focal point for snag removal and maintenance on this river is from river mile 31.4 to the confluence with the Minnesota River.
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.
Explore on shore
River mile 6. Beautiful, treed campsites (fee), hiking trails and a sand-bottomed pool.
DNR Southern Region Headquarters
21371 State Highway 15, New Ulm, MN 56073
Flandrau State Park
1300 Summit Avenue, New Ulm, MN 56073
Nearest medical facilities
New Ulm Medical Center
1324 Fifth Street North, New Ulm, MN 56073
Sleepy Eye Medical Center
400 Fourth Avenue Northwest, Sleepy Eye, MN 56085
The Cottonwood River in late fall.