Snake River State Water Trail

Snake River

The Snake River State Water Trail flows 84 miles from the McGrath area to its confluence with the St. Croix River State Water Trail.

There are some nice campsites along this river, including the Snake River Campground, which is tucked below the towering mixed pines in the Chengwatana State Forest.

River locator map


River segments and maps

This river has only one segment. Get maps and more information.

River character

Water level generally peaks in April with a less severe peak in June. During low water, canoeing the stretch below Cross Lake may not be possible. The Snake's watershed drains quickly, therefore rapid fluctuations may occur. From north of McGrath to the St. Croix River, the river falls 440 feet, an average of 5.2 feet per mile. However, much of that drop occurs at the upper and lower reaches, leaving the middle stretch as a relatively gentle stream. The river varies in width from 20 to 250 feet.

Fish and wildlife

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


  • Walleye
  • Northern pike
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Catfish
  • Panfish
  • Lake (Rock) sturgeon


  • White-tailed deer
  • Black bears
  • Gray and red fox
  • Beaver
  • Muskrat
  • Otter
  • Bobcats
  • Coyotes
  • Mink
  • Raccoons


  • Ruffed grouse
  • Numerous waterfowl
  • Songbirds


The Ojibwe called this river Kanabec, or snake, naming it after their enemies, the Dakota, who lived upriver and whom they later displaced. As Europeans entered the area, the fur trade became important along the Snake. Later, logging became an important industry, with evidence such as the Old Bean logging dam and campsite.

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