Kayaking Minnesota: Places to Kayak in Minnesota

Minnesota is rich in waterways with 10,000 plus lakes to explore throughout the confines of the state.

Baptism River

Its waters vary significantly in relation to the difficulty and region – but with a little research it should be possible to locate a perfect stretch of water to match the paddling experience.

Kayaking Minnesota

Here are five of the top kayaking Minnesota waterways to explore:

Baptism River

The Baptism River is certain to excite the thrill seekers in search of the most difficult whitewater in the region. It is rated Class III to VI and passes through the North Shore of Lake Superior.

This kayaking course is best reserved for the experienced paddlers with its tick-infested portages and un-runnable falls. The season is limited by the amount of rainfall and snowmelt, which can mean the ability to race these waters is restricted to about 3-4 weeks per year.

Plus, this area is great for hikers with the ability to explore inland lakes (only accessible by foot) and great views overlooking Sawtooth Mountains.

Cannon River

The Cannon River in southeastern Minnesota has Class I waters for a gentle paddling session for kayakers of any experience level.

There are several rapids on the river, but none are rated as difficult. The preferred site to launch is at Cannon Falls via the city park. Great features of the river include the sightseeing and wildlife opportunities, as well as the woods, farmland, high bluffs, and rolling hills.

Plus, this river is close to the Cannon Valley Trail to provide an enjoyable hiking path in the wilderness.

Kettle River

The Kettle River is the preferred kayaking destination for whitewater runs with low-waters rated at Class I to II and high waters at Class II to IV.

A great place to put in includes Banning State Park. Great places to past along the river include Hell’s Gate, Dragon’s Tooth, Mother’s Delight, Blueberry Slide, and Little Banning Rapids.

With the pull out point at Robinson Park, the length of the kayaking session is in the region of 4.5 miles. A great place to rest up for the night includes the Banning State Park with its relaxing camp site.

Root River

The Root River stretches for some 13 miles to give a pleasant course that loops and includes Class I waters.

Paddling down this river takes in great scenery like the lofty limestone outcrops and cliffs. A preferred site to launch the kayak is at County Road 21.

St. Croix River

The St. Croix River is a perfect destination for a relaxing kayak trip with rich scenery that includes sandy beaches, wooded island, and long-stretches of undeveloped wilderness.

The waters vary from placid to gentle rapids to provide a paddling opportunity for most levels of experience. Plus, there are numerous camp sites in the region to stop at with these rustic camps based on a first come first served.

The length of a kayaking session can differ with the choice of launch sites along the river, including Soderbeck Landing, Snake River Landing, Hwy. 48 (St. Croix State Park), or Fox Landing (in Wisconsin).