State Water Trails in the Twin Cities

Of the 35 official state water trails in Minnesota, seven of them flow through the Minneapolis/Saint Paul metro area. All are suitable for kayaking, canoeing and paddle boarding.

kayakers on rice creek water trail
Kayakers on the Rice Creek Water Trail

Cannon River State Water Trail (Dakota County)

The Cannon River flows through, or forms the border of, four counties. There’s a 7-mile segment and a 12-mile segment on the southeast side of Dakota County. The Cannon is a designated Wild and Scenic River. Read more about the Cannon River State Water Trail…

Crow River State Water Trail, North Fork (Hennepin County)

The North Fork of the Crow River flows through five counties. There’s a 16-mile segment that forms the northeast border of Hennepin County before it joins the Mississippi. This designated Wild and Scenic River will take you through woods and rolling farmland. Read more about the Crow River State Water Trail, North Fork…

Mississippi River State Water Trail (Anoka, Hennepin, Ramsey, Dakota and Washington Counties)

The Mississippi River forms the borders of most of the Twin Cities counties. There are many launch options along the way on both sides of the river for either an out-and-back trip or from one launch to another. Some of the segments are very rural, others very urban. Read more and get a map for the Mississippi State Water Trail segment that runs through in the Twin Cities (Segment 10)…

mississippi river at mississippi gateway regional park
The Mississippi River just below the Coon Rapids Dam, from Mississippi Gateway Regional Park

Rice Creek Water Trail (Anoka County)

While not an official state water trail, the Rice Creek Water Trail is still a great option for local kayakers, canoeists and paddle boarders. It begins just below the dam at the Peltier Lake boat launch in Lino Lakes. From there you’ll paddle through the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes and follow Rice Creek until it reaches Manomin County Park in Fridley, just shy of the Mississippi River.

It’s 23 miles of lovely paddling through park reserve, woods and urban development. Read more about Rice Creek Water Trail…

Read: Kayaking in Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Park Reserve

Rum River State Water Trail (Anoka County)

The Rum River flows from Mille Lacs Lake 145 miles south to join the Mississippi River in downtown Anoka. The entire river is a designated Wild and Scenic River. The Anoka County segment starts at Rum River North County Park and flows down to the Mississippi. There are several options for launch and mileage, and also canoe campsites along the way. Read more and get a map for Rum River State Water Trail…

Read: Paddling the Rum: Rum River North to Rum River Central

St. Croix River State Water Trail (Washington County)

The St. Croix River flows 169 miles from its source in Wisconsin to its confluence with the Mississippi River. There’s a gorgeous 15-mile stretch between Interstate State Park (by Taylors Falls) and William O’Brien State Park. There are woods, high bluffs, and backwaters to explore. There are also several campsites along the river for paddlers. Read more about the Washington County segments of the St. Croix State Water Trail

Read: Kayaking the St. Croix River

Kayaking on the beautiful St. Croix River

For details on rules, outfitters and water levels, go to the Minnesota DNR’s (Department of Natural Resources) Water Trails resource page.

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…