Crow River State Water Trail - South Fork

Map: Crow River, South Fork

The Crow River's South Fork runs eastward from Little Kandiyohi Lake to Rockford, where it converges with the North Fork. This gentle river is perfect for beginning paddlers when water levels are normal, but it can flow quickly after significant rainfall.

From Little Kandiyohi Lake to Cosmos, the river has been channelized for agricultural drainage and is fairly straight and narrow, but can experience low flows. Between Cosmos and Hutchinson, the river flows through a gently rolling landscape of grassy fields, ridges and forested banks. This segment offers a nice mixture of slow pools and swift riffles. The Main Street Dam in Hutchinson gives rise to Campbell and Otter lakes, which combine to form a 1.3-mile basin just before town. The river narrows from Hutchinson to Biscay but is still generally suited to paddling.

The 27 river mile segment from Biscay to New Germany can be dangerous and impassable. Expect narrow bends and numerous overhanging trees, underwater snags and large logjams. The river widens downstream from Mayer. Watertown to Rockford is a popular stretch for paddlers.

Hazards include dams, logjams, overhanging trees and submerged snags. There are very few rapids, none more difficult than Class I.

Recommended day trip

Rick Johnson Park to Lake Rebecca Regional Park

  • Put-in location: River mile 13.8, Rick Johnson Park trailer access on Crow River - South Fork
  • Take-out location: River mile 24.7, Lake Rebecca Regional Park carry-in access on Crow River - North Fork
  • Length: 14.3 river miles

Launch on the Crow River - South Fork below the dam in Watertown and end on the Crow River - North Fork near the confluence of the two rivers (river right). You'll wind past wooded banks, fields and the town of Delano. Plan a full day for this longer paddle.

Explore on shore

Luce Line State Trail

This multi-use trail covers 63 miles of former railroad grade. From Winsted to Hutchinson the trail is paved; from Hutchinson to Cedar Mills it is crushed granite; and from Cedar Mills to Cosmos it is natural (mowed grass). Canoeists and kayakers can take advantage of the Luce Line State Trail near Hutchinson to shuttle using their bicycle. 

Local contacts

DNR central regional office
1200 Warner Road, St. Paul, MN 55106

Nearest medical facilities

Hutchinson Health Hospital
227 Freemont Avenue Southwest, Hutchinson, MN 55350

Ridgeview Medical Center
500 South Maple Street, Waconia, MN 55387

Paved trail along the Crow River South Fork
A paved trail adjacent to the river.



Riffles and fall colors along the South Fork
Riffles and fall colors along the South Fork.


Proud angler holds his catch.
A proud angler displays his catch.


Bridges overhead on the South Fork
Bridges above the South Fork.


Crow River South Fork area map

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