Map: Long Prairie River
The Long Prairie River gently flows through a diverse landscape of shaded woods, farm fields, small towns and floodplain meadows and forests. It begins at Lake Carlos and winds its way eastward to meet the Crow Wing River near Motley. The river varies in width and depth as it moves past a patchwork of open and tree-lined banks.
You may find erosion along banks that border fields. Portions of the river can become slow and shallow in the summer, even becoming impassable at times. Check river level readings before your trip. You'll usually experience the best canoeing during spring and early summer.
Hazards include a dam near Lake Carlos. Also be alert for numerous low bridges and culverts that may require portaging during high water levels. These are most numerous between Lake Carlos and the city of Long Prairie.
Recommended day trip
Long Prairie to Browerville
- Put-in location: City of Long Prairie (carry-in), river mile 47.5
- Take-out location: City of Browerville (carry-in), river mile 34.2
- Length: 13.3 river miles
This narrow, winding section of river brings you from one city to another with little development in between. Watch for herons, kingfishers, mergansers and other birds as you paddle past quiet, wooded shores and marshland. Plan for a full day on the water.
Explore on shore
Visit the park to swim, boat or fish the clear depths of Lake Carlos. You'll also find a beautiful setting for camping, hiking and horseback riding.
Long Prairie River Wildlife Management Area (WMA)
Lowland grass, cattails and brush areas offer great wildlife watching along the Long Prairie River. This WMA also has upland areas with grass fields and restored native grass fields. Be aware that hunting is allowed at this property.
DNR area office
1035 South Benton Drive, Sauk Rapids, MN 56379
Nearest medical facilities
50 CentraCare Drive, Long Prairie, MN 56347
Douglas County Hospital
111 17th Avenue East, Alexandria, MN 56308
A kayaker on a flat stretch of the river.
Sunset and clouds reflected in the river.
Photo by Jaime Jost.
Low culverts along the water trail.