Best Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing in Minnesota

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

  • #1 Rice Creek

    2 Reviews

    Minneapolis, MN

    Rice Creek is a fun run with swift water and easy rapids in the heart of the Twin Cities. The bends and tight channel get tricky in high water. Downed trees on sharp bends can upset your c ...
    •  2 - 4 hours
    •  6.6 miles
    •  Guide

    Rice Creek is a fun run with swift water and easy rapids in the heart of the Twin Cities. The bends and tight channel get ...

  • #2 Vermillion River: Vermillion Falls Park

    0 Reviews

    Hastings, MN

    The Vermillion gorge is a short but challenging whitewater run, but only in the high water of early spring. In high water, holes that form below ledges get grabby. The Vermillion River riffles ...
    •  Less than a hour
    •  0.6 miles
    •  Guide

    The Vermillion gorge is a short but challenging whitewater run, but only in the high water of early spring. In high water, ...

  • #3 Otter Tail River

    0 Reviews

    Fergus Falls, MN

    The Otter Tail races through several rapids, some rather challenging, as it passes woods, marsh, and some open country. The main hazard is Wall Lake Bridge, located about halfway through the ...
    •  4 - 6 hours
    •  12.8 miles
    •  Guide

    The Otter Tail races through several rapids, some rather challenging, as it passes woods, marsh, and some open country. The ...

  • #4 Cloquet River-Island Lake Dam to St. Louis River

    0 Reviews

    Duluth, MN

    The Cloquet races through a series of pools and easy rapids to its confluence with the St. Louis. The lower Cloquet provides good fishing for smallmouth bass, brown trout, and other species. ...
    •  10-15 hours
    •  29.6 miles
    •  Guide

    The Cloquet races through a series of pools and easy rapids to its confluence with the St. Louis. The lower Cloquet provides ...

  • #5 Kettle River: Banning State Park to Old Dam Site

    0 Reviews

    Sandstone, MN

    With medium to high water, this stretch fills with waves, souse holes and many play spots; it is suitable only for experienced paddlers. If you paddle an open canoe, stuff it with plenty of flotation ...
    •  4 - 6 hours
    •  4.5 miles
    •  Guide

    With medium to high water, this stretch fills with waves, souse holes and many play spots; it is suitable only for experienced ...

  • #6 Big Fork River-Dora Lake to MN 6

    0 Reviews

    Dora Lake, MN

    The Big Fork provides the occasional wild ride as it flows past a mix of forest land and farms. With many developed campsites, it’s a good choice for an overnight trip. The trip down the upper ...
    •  4 days
    •  79.8 miles
    •  Guide

    The Big Fork provides the occasional wild ride as it flows past a mix of forest land and farms. With many developed campsites, ...

  • #7 Sauk River: Pine View Park to Mississippi River

    0 Reviews

    Saint Joseph, MN

    In its final miles, the Sauk River runs through long stretches of fast water and rapids. The rapids and long stretches of fast current can be difficult when the water is high. Watch out for ...
    •  2 - 3 hours
    •  5.8 miles
    •  Guide

    In its final miles, the Sauk River runs through long stretches of fast water and rapids. The rapids and long stretches of ...

  • #8 Sunrise River

    1 Reviews

    North Branch, MN

    A small woodland stream with lively current and several easy rapids, the sunrise is a good bet in the spring or after rain, when the water is high. From Kost Dam County Park, the Sunrise winds ...
    •  3 hours
    •  9.5 miles
    •  Guide

    A small woodland stream with lively current and several easy rapids, the sunrise is a good bet in the spring or after rain, ...

  • #9 Snake River: Pine City to St. Croix River

    0 Reviews

    Pine City, MN

    The Snake picks up the pace again, rushing through long but mostly easy rapids. Fishing is good for a variety of species, especially smallmouth bass. Here, the river has grown from the tiny ...
    •  3 - 5 hours
    •  12 miles
    •  Guide

    The Snake picks up the pace again, rushing through long but mostly easy rapids. Fishing is good for a variety of species, ...

  • #10 Little Fork River-Cook to Samuelson Park

    0 Reviews

    Cook, MN

    Running through woods and past open pastures, the Little Fork descends through many runnable rapids and one that is unrunnable to all but the most experienced paddlers. The Little Fork is ...
    •  2 days
    •  39 miles
    •  Guide

    Running through woods and past open pastures, the Little Fork descends through many runnable rapids and one that is unrunnable ...

  • #11 Snake River: McGrath to County Route 3

    0 Reviews

    McGrath, MN

    The narrow upper Snake tumbles over several rapids. Most are easy, but watch out for Upper and Lower Snake River Falls, especially in high water. Be sure to get a recent water-level report before ...
    •  10 hours
    •  26.5 miles
    •  Guide

    The narrow upper Snake tumbles over several rapids. Most are easy, but watch out for Upper and Lower Snake River Falls, especially ...

  • #12 Baptism River

    0 Reviews

    Finland, MN

    Baptism River is typical of North Shore streams, it is steep, twisting, and potentially lethal. This run is for experts only. The Baptism should not be attempted except by accomplished whitewater ...
    •  3 - 5 hours
    •  3.3 miles
    •  Guide

    Baptism River is typical of North Shore streams, it is steep, twisting, and potentially lethal. This run is for experts ...

  • #13 Brule River

    0 Reviews

    Hovland, MN

    The Brule roars through one big, distinctive rapid after another as it races toward the big lake. Big drops don’t give you much notice. The take-out to portage Devil's Kettle is really tricky, ...
    •  4 - 8 hours
    •  5.8 miles
    •  Guide

    The Brule roars through one big, distinctive rapid after another as it races toward the big lake. Big drops don’t give you ...

  • #14 Whiteface River: Whiteface Reservoir to Cotton

    0 Reviews

    Cotton, MN

    The Whiteface is a narrow, winding stream that races past banks forested with aspen, birch, spruce, fir, and occasional pine. The river is undeveloped for most of its length, even though County ...
    •  7 - 10 hours
    •  20 miles
    •  Guide

    The Whiteface is a narrow, winding stream that races past banks forested with aspen, birch, spruce, fir, and occasional pine. ...

  • #15 Midway River

    0 Reviews

    Esko, MN

    The Midway is a short, rocky run with several challenging rapids and a surprise at the end. The surprise is a 5-foot-high falls right before the reservoir. The river runs through a boulder-bed ...
    •  2 hours
    •  4.2 miles
    •  Guide

    The Midway is a short, rocky run with several challenging rapids and a surprise at the end. The surprise is a 5-foot-high ...

  • #16 Yellow Medicine River

    0 Reviews

    Hanley Falls, MN

    For much of its length, the Yellow Medicine River flows slowly over the relatively flat farmland and prairie of southwestern Minnesota. Several miles past Hanley Falls, the pace picks up as the ...
    •  6 - 9 hours
    •  19 miles
    •  Guide

    For much of its length, the Yellow Medicine River flows slowly over the relatively flat farmland and prairie of southwestern ...

  • #17 Kettle River: County Road 131 to County Route 52

    0 Reviews

    Kettle River, MN

    Because the river is small, steep, and drains quickly, it's too low and rocky to run most of the year. But when heavy snowmelt or spring rains funnel down the watershed, hop aboard for a roller ...
    •  4 - 6 hours
    •  16 miles
    •  Guide

    Because the river is small, steep, and drains quickly, it's too low and rocky to run most of the year. But when heavy snowmelt ...

  • #18 Vermilion River: Table Rock Falls Canyon

    0 Reviews

    Buyck, MN

    It only takes about 15 minutes if you were to run straight through. But if you're expert enough to run the falls and steepest part of the canyon, you'll probably want to carry back up and run ...
    •  15 minutes
    •  1 miles
    •  Guide

    It only takes about 15 minutes if you were to run straight through. But if you're expert enough to run the falls and steepest ...

  • #19 Sturgeon River: County Route 65 to County Road 923

    0 Reviews

    Side Lake, MN

    The Sturgeon undergoes another change - from hair-raising whitewater run to a lazy stream blocked by frequent log-jams. Don't be lulled to sleep by the long quiet sections and overlook the few ...
    •  10 - 14 hours
    •  25.1 miles
    •  Guide

    The Sturgeon undergoes another change - from hair-raising whitewater run to a lazy stream blocked by frequent log-jams. Don't ...

  • #20 St. Louis River: Scanlon to Thomson Reservoir

    0 Reviews

    Thompson, MN

    Though short, this section provides a wild and beautiful ride down distinctive rapids and falls. It also provides the only commercial rafting in the state. Several rapids are steep and long. ...
    •  2 - 3 hours
    •  3 miles
    •  Guide

    Though short, this section provides a wild and beautiful ride down distinctive rapids and falls. It also provides the only ...