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.

Learn more about Top Trails

#1. Rice Creek


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 canoe.…
From the guidebook "Paddling Minnesota"
Minneapolis, MN - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 6.6 miles BestWhitewater Kayaking & Canoeing Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#2. Vermillion River: Vermillion Falls Park


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 and g…
From the guidebook "Paddling Minnesota"
Hastings, MN - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 0.6 mile
Published by Falcon Guides

#3. Otter Tail River


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 run, is e…
From the guidebook "Paddling Minnesota"
Fergus Falls, MN - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 12.8 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#4. Cloquet River: Island Lake Dam to St. Louis River


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. No part…
From the guidebook "Paddling Minnesota"
Duluth, MN - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 29 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

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


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…
From the guidebook "Paddling Minnesota"
Sandstone, MN - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 4.5 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#6. Big Fork River: Dora Lake to Minnesota Highway 6


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. Two things in particular reco…
From the guidebook "Paddling Minnesota"
Effie, MN - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 77 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

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


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 snags wh…
From the guidebook "Paddling Minnesota"
Saint Joseph, MN - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 5.8 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#8. Little Fork River: Cook to Samuelson Park


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 upper reaches are narrow.…
From the guidebook "Paddling Minnesota"
Cook, MN - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 40 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

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


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 woodlan…
From the guidebook "Paddling Minnesota"
Pine City, MN - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 12 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#10. Snake River: McGrath to County Route 3


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 head…
From the guidebook "Paddling Minnesota"
McGrath, MN - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 26.5 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#11. Baptism River


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…
From the guidebook "Paddling Minnesota"
Finland, MN - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 3.3 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#12. Brule River


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, and t…
From the guidebook "Paddling Minnesota"
Hovland, MN - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 5.8 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#13. Whiteface River: Whiteface Reservoir to Cotton


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 Road 5…
From the guidebook "Paddling Minnesota"
Cotton, MN - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 20 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#14. Midway River


The Midway is a short, rocky run with several challenging rapids. The river runs through some riffles from the beginning, but the first class II drop occurs not far below Interstate 35. At one point,…
From the guidebook "Paddling Minnesota"
Esko, MN - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 4 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#15. Yellow Medicine River


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 land s…
From the guidebook "Paddling Minnesota"
Hanley Falls, MN - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 19 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#16. Sturgeon River: County Route 65 to County Road 923


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 notable…
From the guidebook "Paddling Minnesota"
Side Lake, MN - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 25.1 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

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


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 coaste…
From the guidebook "Paddling Minnesota"
Kettle River, MN - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 16 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#18. Vermilion River: Table Rock Falls Canyon


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 it again…
From the guidebook "Paddling Minnesota"
Buyck, MN - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 1 mile
Published by Falcon Guides

#19. Sunrise River


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 through…
From the guidebook "Paddling Minnesota"
North Branch, MN - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 9.5 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

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


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. Paddle…
From the guidebook "Paddling Minnesota"
Thompson, MN - Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - 3 miles
Published by Falcon Guides