Paddling is great in and of itself, but have you ever considered expanding your horizons on your next canoe or kayak trip to see what else is attracting folks to the river?
Canoeists, kayakers, bicyclists, birders, historians, naturalists, seekers of cool scenery and others visit the Mississippi River in search of its diverse resources, intrigues, and stories.
For a different perspective entirely, try adding a bit of bicycling to your paddling adventure! When traveling the Mississippi River at the pace and intimacy of a bicycle, you'll see what many tourists miss. You will be immersed in the river's way of life, and you'll enjoy a route filled with history, enchantment, and remarkable adventure!
Several sections of the Mississippi River have nearby bike trails, and you can even use your bicycle as your transportation shuttle for your paddling trip. (This is usually called a "pedal/paddle shuttle.")
A good place to start with your pedal/paddle adventure is on Minnesota's Mississippi River Trail, which winds roughly 500 miles down river from its source within Itasca State Park to the Iowa border. (The river trail is even longer when you consider all the additional miles on alternative routes!)
The trail is primarily located on the shoulders of paved roads and on low traffic roads. Long sections of it run along scenic state and regional trails.
You can find canoe and kayak outfitters just about anywhere along the Mississippi River. Some outfitters will ferry your bicycle ahead so that you can meet up with it down river.
Whether you do your own pedal/paddle shuttle or use an outfitter, there’s something for everyone on the Mighty Mississippi. Come experience and enjoy the river from a whole new perspective!