Rum River State Water Trail

Rum River

The Rum River State Water Trail is a designated Wild and Scenic River with state legislation that preserves and protects its outstanding scenic, recreational, natural, historic and scientific values. The river begins its journey at Mille Lacs Lake and continues 154 miles to its confluence with the Mississippi River. The river varies in width from 20 to 100 feet. Water level is usually sufficient for canoeing throughout the summer.

River locator map


River segments and maps

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

  1. Mille Lacs Lake to Milaca
  2. Milaca to Isanti
  3. Isanti to the Mississippi River


The river passes extensive backwaters and marshes, sandy upland plains, farmland and bottom lands covered with maple, elm and other hardwoods. Small strands of red and white pine near the river's lowest reaches are what remain of the once vast pine forests. Mille Lacs Lake was formed from the last glacial retreat. From the lake the river flows through mostly glacial outwash plain, with geology typical to that of central Minnesota's glacial topography.

Fish and wildlife

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

Be sure to watch for white-tail deer, beavers, songbirds and bald eagles. The river is also a favorite among anglers seeking smallmouth bass, northern pike and walleye.


  • Smallmouth bass
  • Northern pike (near the headwaters)
  • Walleye (Princeton to Anoka)


  • White-tailed deer
  • Gray and fox squirrels
  • Rabbits and hares
  • Beavers
  • Minks
  • Muskrats
  • Raccoons


  • Loons
  • Great blue herons
  • Songbirds
  • Waterfowl (nesting areas near the headwaters)


Established in 1967 as a state water trail, the Rum River was originally called Mde Wakan or “Spirit Lake” River by the Dakota. The upper river valley has one of the highest concentration of prehistoric sites in Minnesota. Burial mounds, ricing pits, copper tools and other artifacts have been found throughout the area. An increased Euro-American presence along the riverbanks began during the fur trade and grew quickly as the lumber industry took hold.

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