Paddling in Rum River Central Regional Park

Ramsey Township, Anoka County • Park permit needed

Rum River  with trees along the banks
The Rum River starts on the south end of Mille Lacs Lake and flows down to the Mississippi River

Rum River Central Regional Park is one of Anoka County’s three parks along the 145-mile Rum River. Central is the largest of the three.

The Rum is one of the most paddled rivers in our area, popular with canoeists, kayakers and floaters (on inner tubes). It’s a beautiful river, very clean these days.

One unique feature of Rum River Central for paddlers is their canoe campsite, just a short portage from the River.

There’s no fee to use it, and it’s first-come, first-served. However if you’re going to park your vehicle at the park overnight, you’ll need a permit for that.

canoe launch on the rum river
Canoe launch on the Rum River, just across from the portage to the campsite

Rum River Water Trail

The Rum River is one of Minnesota’s State Water Trails. It starts north on the sound end of Mille Lacs Lake and winds its way south until it joins the Mississippi River in downtown Anoka. It’s designated as a wild and scenic river due to its, well, wild and scenic nature!

One great day trip is to launch at Rum River North County Park and paddle here to Central. Another is to launch here at Central and paddle down to Rum River South County Park.

If you’re looking for something shorter, you can even launch on the northeast side of the park (circled in red below) and take the river downstream as it winds around to the southwest side (also circled in red below).

rum river central map with paddling route
This is a nice paddling stretch between the two canoe launches

That section alone could take you an hour or so, and it’s quite beautiful. Of course, it would involve a hike to get back to your vehicle, unless you have two vehicles and can be park one in each lot.

canoe campsite at rum river central
It’s a short portage from the canoe landing to the campsite

For a little more adventure, start at Rum River North, camp overnight at Rum River Central’s canoe campsite, then finish the next day at Rum River South.

If you’re really ambitious, take on the whole river for a few days! Here’s the Minnesota DNR’s map of the route. It labels launch points, rest areas, campsites, campgrounds and distances.

The canoe campsite

The canoe campsite here is spacious, flat and shady with room for 2-3 tents if needed. There’s also a canoe rack for up to 4 canoes or kayaks.

canoe campsite at rum river central regional park
Racks for your canoes or kayaks

Since you can’t make reservations and there’s only one site, you may want to either start early enough to be the first one there, or plan your paddling trip during non-weekends and holidays. Even better would be before or after the busy summer season.

canoe campsite rum river central
Canoe campsite at Rum River Central Regional Park

Get more info about: Rum River Central Regional Park and Canoe Camping in Anoka County.

More Activities at Rum River Central

Hiking and trail running are beautiful at Rum River, with its wide variety of terrain and the river itself. It’s not a large park, about 4 miles of trails, but great for a hike any time of year.

Bikers are welcome on the paved trails, but again, there’s not a lot of them. Great for families with younger kids.

Cross country skiing and snowshoeing is popular in the winter. The ski trails are mostly intermediate due to the hills.

How to Get There

Rum River Central Regional Park has just one entrance, at 17955 Roanoke Street NW in Ramsey. You’ll see the sign on the east side of Highway 7 a few miles north of Anoka.

It’s a little ways out there, but well worth it!

You’ll need an Anoka County Parks permit for your vehicle(s). They have a self-service box there for a day permit, or you can buy an annual permit here. It’s also good for Washington County’s regional parks.

Paddling guide cover

Twin Cities Paddling Guide

Published in 2020, our 52-page digital Paddling Guide is the easiest way to find local lakes and river trails in all seven counties of the Twin Cities metro area.

Click here for the details…

Here’s more…

Sharon Brodin
Latest posts by Sharon Brodin (see all)