Rum River State Water Trail

Rum River

The Rum River flows south from Lake Mille Lacs 145 miles to its confluence with the Mississippi river in the city of Anoka. Enjoy smallmouth bass along the river and northern pike near the headwaters as you relax in your canoe or near your campsite. The Rum is designated as a wild and scenic river. Water levels are usually sufficient for canoeing, with Class I to Class II rapids throughout the summer. About rapids classes.

Local contact and map

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Mille Lacs, Isanti, and Anoka Counties, east central Minnesota
Contact DNR Parks and Trails Central Regional Office: (651) 259-5841.

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River character

A number of rocky boulder beds present a challenge to beginning canoeists, although they would mostly be Class I, with a few Class II pitches occurring during high water. Several dams must be portaged and caution should be used to avoid snags and overhanging trees. The river varies in width from 20 to 100 feet. Stream flow typically peaks in mid March, with spring runoff causing greatest flow. Water level is usually sufficient for canoeing throughout the summer.


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

Smallmouth bass are very popular to anglers along the river. Northern pike are common near the headwaters. Walleye are not uncommon from Princeton to Anoka.

The Minnesota Department of Health has guidelines for consuming fish taken from Minnesota's lakes and rivers. Go to the Fish Consumption Advisory Page to find out more.

White-tailed deer, gray and fox squirrels, cottontail rabbits and snowshoe hares, beavers, minks, muskrats, raccoons, loons, great blue herons can also be found. Songbirds are plentiful along the whole route, as well as waterfowl nesting areas in the headwaters region.


The upper river valley has one of the highest concentration of prehistoric sites in Minnesota. The area is rich with Indian history, dating back to more than 3000 years ago. Burial mounds, ricing pits, copper tools and other artifacts have been found throughout the area. Early White/Indian intervention played an important role in the settlement of the area by white men. The French, instigated fights between the Ojibwe and Dakota so as to ally themselves with the Ojibwe. Furs were the early push for settlement in the area, and later efforts turned towards lumbering, which quickly established settlement throughout the area.