Crow River State Water Trail - North Fork

North Fork Crow River

The river flows southeast from Lake Koronis for about 125 miles to the Mississippi River at Dayton. The roughly 40 mile stretch from upstream of Rockford to the Mississippi is generally the best for canoeing. Once flanked by a thick forest of maple, basswood, elm, and other hardwoods, the river is now bordered by agriculture, prairie and hardwood vegetation. This river is generally smooth, with a few class I rapids in the Forest City area.

River locator map


River segments and maps

Get maps and more information for this river's two segments:

  1. Koronis Lake to Howard Lake
  2. Howard Lake to the Mississippi River


Fish and wildlife

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

The Crow River was named by the Ojibwe for the bird they called the "marauder of newly planted corn." Considered a sacred hunting ground by the Indians, the forest later attracted white trappers. Today there is still abundant fish and wildlife in the river corridor.


The river was established as a state water trail in 1967.

The Crow River's North Fork passes several archaeological sites, although none have been thoroughly studied. Two sites near Lake Koronis have a total of 43 mounds.

Early European settlers began building homes near Dayton in 1851. Several lumber mills operated along the river as the forest was cleared for agriculture. Steamboats were the only means of hauling passengers and freight during the early 1850's. Paddlewheel boats brought provisions from St. Anthony Falls to Dayton, where the goods were transferred to rowboats and carried up the river. Rowboats regularly ran supplies from Dayton to Rockford for about two years. In May 1851, when the river was high, the steamboat "Governor Ramsey" paddled to Rockford, farther upstream than any other steamboats had traveled.

Back to top