Recommended paddling trips

There are 35 Minnesota state water trails, including the north shore of Lake Superior, and most Minnesotans live within an hour of a state water trail. Are you ready to start paddling? We've put together a few suggested trips for you to start with.


Day trips from the Twin Cities metro area

Cannon River State Water Trail

  • Route: Cannon Falls to Miesville Ravine County Park (6.9 miles)
    or Cannon Falls to County Road 7 (11.9 miles)
  • Highlights: Smaller, scenic river with moderate current

St. Croix River State Water Trail

  • Route: Taylors Falls to Osceola (8 miles)
  • Highlights: River is a National Scenic Riverway

Crow River State Water Trail, North Fork

  • Route: Hanover (Crow-Hassan Park Reserve) to Mississippi River (16 miles)
  • Highlights: Rural landscape and farmlands

Rum River State Water Trail

  • Route: Isanti to St. Francis (11 miles)
  • Highlights: Easy rapids and good fishing

Mississippi River State Water Trail - option one

  • Route: University of Minnesota East River Flats Park to Hidden Falls Regional Park (5 miles)
  • Highlights: Urban setting, scenic bluffs, paddle through lock and dam

Mississippi River State Water Trail - option two

  • Route: Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park to Anoka County Riverfront Regional Park (near I-694 bridge) (6 miles)
  • Highlights: Wooded banks with islands and side channels

Weekend overnight trips

St. Croix River State Water Trail (two trips)

  • Route: State Highway 48 to State Highway 60 (33 miles)
    or State Highway 60 to Wild River State Park (31 miles)
  • Highlights: River is a National Scenic Riverway

Root River State Water Trail

  • Route: State Highway 52 to Rushford (47 miles)
  • Highlights: Wooded bluffs along river

Zumbro River State Water Trail

  • Route: Zumbro Falls to Kellogg (42 miles)
  • Highlights: Great get-away experience

Whitewater rivers (experienced whitewater paddlers only)

Rapids classes defined

Kettle River State Water Trail

  • Through Banning State Park 16 miles with class II to IV rapids
  • The 7 miles through St. Croix State Park have class I-II rapids

St. Louis River State Water Trail

  • Scanlon to Thomson Reservoir has 5 miles of class II-III rapids
  • The 7 mile section through Jay Cooke State Park is class II-VI (kayaks recommended)
  • Only river in the state with whitewater rafting.
  • Water level can vary significantly, but generally navigable by experienced whitewater paddlers
  • Check river level conditions before you go
  • National Kayak Center is located in Carlton

Snake River State Water Trail

  • Near McGrath 13 miles of class II-III rapids
  • The 13 miles from Pine City to the St. Croix River State Water Trail has class I-II rapids

Vermilion River State Water Trail

  • Has 39 miles of scattered class I-VI rapids