Best Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing in Minnesota

This list represents the most popular flatwater kayaking & canoeing in Minnesota. Use this list to plan your next Minnesota flatwater kayaking & canoeing trip. Select a state and/or activity below to find even more top trails.

Learn more about Top Trails

#1. Minneapolis Chain of Lakes


Four of the lakes in south Minneapolis provide a chain perfectly suited to canoeing. Launch at the access at the northeast shore of Lake Calhoun. Paddle around a bit on Calhoun, dodging the sailboa…
From the guidebook "Paddling Minnesota"
Minneapolis, MN - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing
Published by Falcon Guides

#2. Cannon River: Cannon Falls to Mississippi River


The Cannon races through a series of easy rapids and passes tall, rocky bluffs on its way to the Mississippi River. Less than a mile below the put-in, the Cannon runs through the largest rapids on th…
From the guidebook "Paddling Minnesota"
Cannon Falls, MN - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 28 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#3. Mudro Lake Loop


Put in at Mudro Lake and paddle down the Horse River to the Basswood River. Follow the Basswood River to Crooked Lake, turn south at Friday Bay, and negotiate a series of small lakes back to the put-i…
From the guidebook "Paddling the Boundary Waters and Voyageurs National Park"
Ely, MN - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 35 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#4. Minnehaha Creek


Quick and winding for much of its length, Minnehaha's often natural character belies its urban setting. Watch for downed trees, low culverts, and dams at Browndale Avenue, Lake Nokomis, and Lake Hiawa…
From the guidebook "Paddling Minnesota"
Minneapolis, MN - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 22 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#5. Brule Lake


This trip heads north from gigantic Brule Lake through two chains of lakes and one river, before returning to the put-in point. A variety of lakes and one river are encountered. Tall, scenic bluffs bo…
From the guidebook "Paddling the Boundary Waters and Voyageurs National Park"
Grand Marais, MN - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 32 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#6. Angleworm Lake to Basswood Lake Loop


Two of the longest portages in the BWCAW are negotiated on this trip. Several beautiful, small lakes are utilized, and the largest lake in the BWCAW is visited. Two rivers form part of the journey. Pi…
From the guidebook "Paddling the Boundary Waters and Voyageurs National Park"
Ely, MN - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 33 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#7. Voyageurs National Park


With all their islands and campsites, the large, interconnected lakes of Voyageurs National Park provide fascinating exploration for boaters, especially sea kayakers. Unlike wide-open Lake Superior, t…
From the guidebook "Paddling Minnesota"
International Falls, MN - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing
Published by Falcon Guides

#8. Kettle River: Minnesota Highway 48 to St. Croix River


With mile after mile of long, easy rapids, wooded bluffs, and good fishing, the final section of the Kettle River is one of the finest day-long canoe runs in Minnesota. The river is more than 200 fee…
From the guidebook "Paddling Minnesota"
Hinckley, MN - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 18.5 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#9. Crane Lake and Sand Point Lake


Launch the boat outside Voyageurs National Park, at Crane Lake. Head north to Sand Point Lake, the smallest of the four large lakes in the park. It is about 7.5 miles long and 2.5 miles wide at its wi…
From the guidebook "Paddling the Boundary Waters and Voyageurs National Park"
International Falls, MN - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 30 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#10. Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness: Basswood Lake


A trip to Basswood Lake doesn't require much portaging but puts the paddler into some of the best fishing in Minnesota. With hundreds of lakes and few serious anglers at work, the Boundary Waters off…
From the guidebook "Paddling Minnesota"
Ely, MN - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing
Published by Falcon Guides

#11. Clearwater Lake Loop


This region is probably the most scenic of the entire BWCAW. Deep blue-water lakes stretch for miles between spectacular bluffs. All the customary game fish can be caught, and one lake even has muskel…
From the guidebook "Paddling the Boundary Waters and Voyageurs National Park"
Grand Marais, MN - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 34 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#12. Elk River


The Elk is a quiet woodland river, tailor-made for a day's paddle or fishing trip. It glides through shallow, rocky rapids and sandy swifts as it passes marshes, rolling hills, forested bluffs, and f…
From the guidebook "Paddling Minnesota"
Big Lake, MN - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 6 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#13. Rum River: St. Francis to Anoka


The Rum picks up its pace, running through class I rapids for several miles. It then settles down and flows quietly for its last few miles to the Mississippi. This section provides excellent fishin…
From the guidebook "Paddling Minnesota"
Saint Francis, MN - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 21 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#14. Shoepack Lake


This run will challenge your stamina and outdoor skills. Paddle across a short section of Kabetogama Lake, enter a bay, paddle to the end, and find a long portage. Portage and paddle to three interior…
From the guidebook "Paddling the Boundary Waters and Voyageurs National Park"
International Falls, MN - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 20 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#15. Root River: Chatfield to Whalan


Easy rapids, stunning scenery, several campsites, and good fishing make this stretch of the Root an excellent route for a day trip or overnight. The river here is small; paddling is best when water i…
From the guidebook "Paddling Minnesota"
Chatfield, MN - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 34.7 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#16. St. Croix River: Taylors Falls to Stillwater


The St. Croix enters a valley of dramatic outcrops and soaring bluffs. Overnight camping is limited, but the river is popular for day trips -- too popular, in fact, judging by canoe and boat traffic…
From the guidebook "Paddling Minnesota"
Taylors Falls, MN - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 27 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#17. Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness: Crooked Lake - Basswood River


Here's a trip that provides great fishing and backwoods travel - if you're ready to portage. Put in on the small creek leading to Mudro Lake. Paddle to the northern corner of the lake and follow a 30…
From the guidebook "Paddling Minnesota"
Ely, MN - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 36 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#18. Root River: South Branch from Preston to Whalan


A swift trout stream with easy rapids, the South Branch makes a good one-day canoe trip when the water is fairly high. Clear and riffling, it cuts through a deep, wooded valley. At times the view i…
From the guidebook "Paddling Minnesota"
Preston, MN - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 18 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#19. South Lake to Hungry Jack Lake


This is a very unusual and scenic trip that follows the border along part of the Voyageurs highway. On the north shore of Gunflint and North Lakes the remains of a historical town and a railroad can b…
From the guidebook "Paddling the Boundary Waters and Voyageurs National Park"
Grand Marais, MN - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 23 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#20. Mississippi River: Lake Itasca to Bemidji


The uppermost stretch of the Mississippi is narrow, winding, and wooded with a few easy rapids to negotiate and beaver dams to pull over.…
From the guidebook "Paddling Minnesota"
Bemidji, MN - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - 62 miles
Published by Falcon Guides