Minnesota features a wide variety of great spots for kayaking. They vary distinctly by region and difficulty. However, if you want to make a great adventure in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, your options are plentiful. Here are some of the best places to kayak in Minnesota.

Voyageurs National Park




Boundary Waters Canoe Area

Located at the border of the United States and Canada, one of the best places for kayaking in Minnesota is the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. With 1200 miles of trails on both the American and Canadian side of the border covering over one million acres, the 2000 lakes, streams and rivers cut through the pristine wilderness.

In Canada, this area is known as Quetico-Superior country. It is located in a series of preserved lands including Voyageurs National Park, Superior National Forest, La Verendrye Provincial Park and Quetico Provincial Park.

The scenic landscape is one of the most unique in the country, drawing outdoor enthusiasts from all over the country. Composed of Precambrian bedrock and boreal forests, the sites are considered by many as some of the best for following the waterways.

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

Crow Wing River

As a tributary of the Mississippi River, Crow Wing River is part of a long chain of lakes in Hubbard County, Minnesota. Named after the Ojibwe word for “raven feather,” the river’s mouth features an island shaped like a wing. Many kayakers love this river due to its length (90 miles) and scenic wilderness. One of the best features of the river is the fact that it is shallow enough to facilitate safe kayaking, but deep enough that it never dries up. The average is roughly three feet.

Explore Minnesota Canoe the Crow Wing River

Cannon River

Flowing 112 miles from Shields Lake in Fairbault to Red Wing and the Mississippi River, this Minnesota waterway is widely-sought by many kayak enthusiasts. Featuring a watershed of 1460 square miles, it supports a variety of smooth and rapid waters covering a width ranging from 50 to 200 feet. For those adventurous, many spots are registered as Class II.

Of particular interest is the confluence of the main river and the Little Cannon River near Cannon Falls. This has some dangerous waters which have claimed the lives of many kayakers. Individuals should be extra cautious when it comes to this river as long distance travel requires one to portage several dams, with low header ones of specific danger.

US Department of Natural Resources Cannon River State Water Trail

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Written by Cliff Steele

Cliff Steele prides himself on having a strong knowledge of kayaks and kayak supplies. He works hand-building kayaks for a variety of clients. Sharing a name with a well-known comic book character, Cliff is known to his friends as “Robotman.” Cliff lives in San Diego, California.

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