Paddling is a great way to explore the great rivers and lakes that define Minnesota’s landscape. Minnesota, popularly known as the land of 10000 lakes, also has terrific rivers that should grab any adventurer’s attention.
You will find plenty of spots susceptible to or exposed to rough waters perfect for experienced kayakers. Additionally, there are numerous places that a kayaker can find flat water, beautiful scenery and enough shoreline to paddle.Here are the top five flat water kayaking spots that you will undoubtedly find interesting:
Lake Superior, Grand Marais, MN
The harbor in Grand Marais is large enough to explore, enjoy and lacks heavy boat traffic. On the east side of the dock close to Artists’ point, there is a boat ramp with a shallow put-in and ample parking.
There are several outfitters in the town that offer equipment rentals, lessons and guided trips in case you need these services. Circle the break-wall for amazing views of the Sawbill Mountains and the town.
If the main lakes is calm, paddle past the break-wall and explore the peninsula on which the Grand Marais Sits. If the harbour is too rough to paddle, head up a few miles to Devil Track Lake and enjoy inland paddling in the North Woods.
Wild River State Park, Center City, MN
You can also head over to the Wild River State Park which is located along the roughest stretches of Minnesota’s side of the St. Croix River. The waters are relatively shallow but not particularly swift and filled with islands to explore and paddle around.
Unless the river is swollen, maneuvering a kayak up and downstream through this stretch is relatively easy. The river also provides perfect fishing opportunities which can be done from your boat or at the river banks. Beavers, otters, foxes and occasionally black bears can be spotted along the shorelines.
Lake Calhoun, Minneapolis, MN
Lake Calhoun is the perfect spot if you are looking for an urban flat water adventure. Paddling at Lake Calhoun unlocks the Minneapolis chain of lakes. The choice is yours on where to paddle and for how long.
You may decide to stick to Lake Calhoun and tour the canal that connects to Lake of the Isles. For a more thrilling adventure, paddle into the Lake of the Isles, explore the channel that connects to Cedar Lake, and if you want more, paddle further into Brownie Lake.
You may also take a swim and relax at one of Cedar Lake Beaches. You won’t see a lot of wildlife, but it’s a perfect spot to chill and enjoy nature.
Cannon River State Water Trail
Kayakers looking for a swift river experience with few rapids-(class 1) should try out the Cannon River especially the spread from Cannon Falls to Red Wing.
Kayakers will pass through rolling hills, hardwood forests and along rocks as they paddle the current downstream. Ensure that you make prior arrangements with a friend or a local outfitter for a ride back as despite the river’s smooth flow, you won’t paddle back upstream.
Root River State Water Trail
The Root River is one of the most scenic rivers in Minnesota. Flowing past thick forests, old towns, huge limestone rocks, the Root River Water Trail is an exciting spot to paddle. At normal flow, paddling is not that challenging and neither will you be far from supplies or amenities.
However, you will be amazed by the rough beauty of Minnesota’s driftless region. Although paddling won’t pose much of a challenge, you will need a ride back.
Given that the spots we have discussed have fairly calm and slow-moving waters, you have an option of using touring, recreational or sit-on-top kayaks, and you should plan your trip especially during summer.
Paddling on these spots can be done by any kayaker regardless of your experience however, we recommended that you bring a guide along or learn a safety course first. Visit these spots to enjoy kayaking, explore Minnesota, get in touch with nature and also remember to bring your fishing gear.