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A Guide To Minnesota Water Trails

When the topic of whitewater rafting was suggested to me my first reaction was, "There's
whitewater rafting in Minnesota?" It turns out there is, but there is only one river designated
as a whitewater trail by the Department of Natural Resources. So, if you're feeling adventurous
check out the gnarly tour down the St. Louis River, but if you're looking for a slower more
relaxed ride, there are some of those listed, as well. In general, earlier in the season the rapids
are more challenging and later in the season you will encounter milder conditions, but this may
not always be the case so be sure to check water conditions. If you go, do remember to always
wear a helmet and a life jacket. There are also a number of outfitters and tour guides available
if you're in need of gear and instructions. A listing of such outfitters can be found on the MN
DNR's website, as listed below.

Here are a few resources for water trail tours in Minnesota:

Lakefront Park in Prior Lake

Superior Whitewater Rafting

St. Louis River, Cloquet, Minn.
Cost: $40 per person

Experienced whitewater rafters lead groups of 4, 5 or 6 people per raft on a 2.5 hour trip down the St. Louis River. This excursion is perfect for first timers, veterans, families, individuals or groups. Superior Whitewater Rafting can accommodate up to 52 people per trip. Participants must be at least 12 years of age for this tour. Call and book your trip in advance or check for last minute space. MN DNR states that the Lower St. Louis River is the only river in the state with whitewater rafting opportunities.

Edelweiss Bakery in Prior Lake

River Ramblers

Various Rivers and Creeks in Minnesota
$1 per person per trip or $5 for the year

River Rambler trips are a great way to acquaint yourself with paddling and rafting. Experienced trip leads will take trips down a number of rivers and creeks in the area; some are considered whitewater routes and others are considered quietwater routes. Check the site for trip dates, locations and guide contact information. The leads will give instructions on the basics of getting on and off the water safely. The River Ramblers hope to get more people out enjoying nature by providing these economic trips. Contact a lead for trip information, including where to meet and what to bring.

Edelweiss Bakery in Prior Lake
(credit: Jupiter Images)

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

Minnesota State Water Trails throughout State
Licensing and fees, approximately $24

According to the MN DNR site there are 32 state water trails; some have rapids, some are slow meandering routes. From this site you can find suggested trips, water conditions and levels, rapids ratings, safety information and even outfitters from which to rent or buy gear. The state is offering a new "I Can Paddle!" program for beginners. This program is being offered in various locations across the state. Participants of all ages will learn the basics of paddling in a small group setting. The programs are free, but there is a vehicle permit fee of $5 a day or $25 per year that is required to enter all Minnesota state parks.

Anna Berend is an attorney and the author of Motherly Law Blog. On Motherly Law, Anna writes about legal issues that affect families and offers tips and resources that pertain to those legal topics. On occasion, inspiration strikes and Anna writes about something totally unrelated to the law.You can find Anna at, on Facebook at Motherly Law and on Twitter @MotherlyLaw.

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