Paddling in Lebanon Hills Regional Park

Eagen/Dakota County • No fee

paddling lebanon hills
Rental kayaks at Lebanon Hills’ Visitor Center

What Makes Lebanon Hills Special

Lebanon Hills Regional Park is one of the few places in the Twin Cities area that has a chain of lakes to paddle that are connected by portages.

At close to 2,000 acres, Lebanon Hills’ East section has 10 named lakes plus a handful of ponds. Paddling a canoe or kayak is possible on 7 of them, thanks to the interconnecting water trail. You can see the PDF map here (scroll down to page 2).

You can bring your own boat, or you can rent a canoe, kayak or stand-up paddleboard at the Visitor’s Center.

Schulze Lake is a great spot for beginning paddlers

There are 2.6 miles of canoe route total—not including covering the same water twice for an out-and-back trip.

Rent a Boat or Bring Your Own

The rental facilities are at the Visitor’s Center, accessed from Cliff Road on the northeast side. If you start there on Schulze Lake, you’ll portage your boat over the hiking trail quite a ways to Portage Lake. From there you can do the loop through O’Brien and Cattail Lakes, or continue on to Jensen Lake and back.

If you have your own canoe, you can start at the carry-in launch on the west end of the park at Jensen Lake and head east. Paddle through the Ponds and into the Portage-O’Brien-Cattail loop for a nice half day trip. Again, here’s the map.

portage lebanon hills
The portages are well-marked and well-traveled

An Urban Paddle-and-Portage Experience

This would be a great way to experience portaging before heading up to the Boundary Waters for a multi-day canoe trip, Or a great way to introduce older children to portaging to see how they do before embarking on an ambitious trip.

We’ve had kids as young as junior high portaging canoes alone, and certainly could if they doubled up.

Even if you don’t plan for an out-of-town trip, Lebanon Hills provides a true paddle-and-portage experience that’s easily accessible. Give it a try!

portage lebanon hills
The portage between Cattail Lake and O’Brien Lake

Click here for more paddling options in Dakota County.

Sharon Brodin
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