President: MARK DeBOER

Dedicated to leisurely paced river paddling

The River Ramblers is an organization dedicated to leisurely paced river paddling, with an emphasis on enjoying the great outdoors. Individual and family participation is encouraged. This organization offers both quiet and whitewater trips. We ask for a $3 contribution per boat, per trip, or $10 year, to cover the costs of this website and to keep the River Ramblers organization functioning.

Car shuttles and trip leaders

River Rambler trip leaders send out the trip packets and arrange the car shuttles. Shuttles involve moving the paddler's cars to the take out or put in, depending on the river. The trip leader is a volunteer who has paddled the trip before and usually has lead it for many years. They are leading trips that they themselves are going on to have fun. You will find on these trips other people who truly share an appreciation for: nature, enjoyable exercise, fresh air, and adventure.

You are responsible for your own safety. Trip ratings designate the level of experience required to paddle a trip. In some cases trip leaders may request your confirmation that you have the skills required to ensure the trip is safe and enjoyable for everyone. If you are unsure of your skills, ask the trip leader for recommendations on if the trip is right for you.

Read the Trip Summaries

Come join the River Ramblers on this 2016 paddling season, and see for yourself how fun and relaxing it can be to enjoy the beautiful rivers and creeks that surround us. The best way to find out if this is for you, is to join the River Ramblers on one or more trips.

Check out the Trip Summaries to see if any of the trips sound interesting to you. Trip packets can be obtained from the trip leaders for any trip; and they give the basics of what will be necessary to enjoyably participate on that trip including meeting time and location. Then just be at the meeting place, with the correct gear, at the designated time, ready to have a really good time. Hopefully we will see you on at least one of the rivers or creeks enjoying nature soon.

TRIP SCHEDULE 2016

You are welcome to come for 1 day or multiple day trips

***Indicates WHITE WATER TRIPS

  • BEGINNER
  • INTERMEDIATE
  • EXPERT
  • **Due to the weather, this trip has been rescheduled from April 2 to SUNDAY, APRIL 10**

    **Other details remain the same**

    April 10 Zumbro River (Millville)

    Beginner

    This is the first of four sections of the Zumbro that will be paddled during our schedule. The Zumbro is a scenic river with an active current and easy Class I rapids. The river bottom is mostly sand and gravel.

    FMI and trip packet, contact the trip leader: JOHN & KANDY OLSON

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  • April 9 *** SNAKE RIVER

    Intermediate

    This is an enjoyable 12-mile trip from Pine City to the mouth of the Snake on the St. Croix. You can expect easy current with some rock-dodging opportunities for maneuvering experience. In high water this is one fast rollicking ride with thrills at every bend. Either way, plan to gain some whitewater experience and see beautiful scenery.

    FMI and trip packet, contact the trip leader: LAURA HUBERTY

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  • April 16 *** RICE CREEK

    Intermediate (whitewater)

    It's nearby; meandering through New Brighton and Fridley on an unusually winding course through narrow wooded canyons and luxurious suburban backyards. Rice Creek offers a swift current, narrow width, and many 90 and 180 degree turns. The 6.5 mile trip will go through several culverts that often have standing waves or ripples. Experience the feel of Class I whitewater. It's fun! The lunch spot is a grassy peninsula half way through the trip; just when the paddlers are in need of a rest.

    FMI and trip packet, contact the trip leader: WES GERBER

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  • April 23 - KINNICKINNIC

    Intermediate

    Paddle the river that gives its name to River Falls, WI. This is a small twisting and turning river in a deep wooded gorge. It offers superb scenery with difficulty comparable to Rice and Minnehaha creeks. This is a favorite paddle for many of the River Rambler members. It is less than an hour from the Twin Cities and probably the most scenic paddle within that distance.

    FMI and trip packet contact the trip leader: MARK DEBOER

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  • April 30 - STRAIGHT RIVER

    Intermediate

    Away from the cities and small rural communities situated on its banks, the Straight is a narrow, intimate stream. Flowing through the farmland of southeastern MN, the Straight meanders north from Owatonna to Faribault where it joins the Cannon River. Don’t be fooled by the name, this paddle is anything but straight! It varies from 30 to 80 feet wide, and from 1-4 feet in depth. There are numerous areas of mild rapids and fast water, with rocks and narrow stream channels making paddling a challenge. Fields, pastures and farm buildings are screened from the river by a narrow strip of trees that reach out over each bank forming a leafy canopy. Note that in early Spring when the water is up, there might be downed trees that block parts of the river.

    FMI and trip packet contact the trip leader: STEVE CARPLES

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  • May 7 - LOWER RUM

    Beginner

    Come enjoy good company on a beautiful river where the Dakota and Ojibwa once lived and hunted. This small, intimate river is quite isolated for being so close to the Twin Cities. Trees of many species that are remnants of the vast forest that covered the region provide ever-changing wooded scenes. A one-foot per minute gradient creates a slow current that is easy to paddle, while occasional maneuvering is required around a few rocks and boulders. So pack a lunch and plan to spend a relaxing day on a quiet river.

    FMI and trip packet contact the trip leader: JIM DOSTAL

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  • May 14-15 - UPPER NAMEKAGON (CABLE)WEEKEND

    Beginner

    The 33 miles of the river upstream from Hayward is interrupted at 16.5 and 26.5 miles by dams and flowages. When water levels are sufficient, most of the stretch has excellent current and tight turns, wild shorelines, and many riffles, Class I rapids and trout. We will need to be flexible based on water levels.

    FMI and trip packet contact the trip leader: LLOYD BRANDON

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  • May 21 - MISSISSIPPI (ST. Cloud OR Monticello)

    Beginner

    Come enjoy at trip on the Mississippi just north of the metro. We will be starting in St. Cloud or Montissippi Regional Park just north of Monticello depending on water levels just prior to trip date. This stretch of river is wide and swift with some easy riffles and rocks to look out for. We will be paddling through the Mississippi River Islands Scientific and Natural area. Come explore the river and have fun.

    FMI and trip packet contact the trip leader: JIM DOSTAL

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  • May 21-22 - Willow & Boy Rivers (Remer/Longville, Minnesota)

    Intermediate

    The Willow River departs from Big Rice Lake south of Remer, MN. This river has the most remote feel to it of any of our rivers. It is about the width of Rice Creek and therefore, can be blocked by a single tree which could cause us to have to portage. Since it is a wilderness river, we may have to get our feet wet getting in and out of our boats. Typically, the water level is strong enough in May to provide a few good rapids. The forest is mainly composed of Ash which may not be leafed out yet. There are no maps or water levels published for this river. It is for the rugged adventurer. We have seen huge mud turtles, deer, otter, and swans. The Boy River is a part of the man chain and leaves Girl Lake in Longville. We paddle up Inguadona Lake and head into the rice rushes that line the river. Although no wider than the Willow, the river is more open due to rice and bog. There are not many places to take out and getting a group in for lunch may be a challenge. This route has DNR campsites, but I would still consider adventurous. Again, we have seen ample wildlife on this stretch of river; deer, eagles and eaglets, pileated woodpeckers, swans, osprey, hawks, king fisher, GBH, cedar wax wings, ducks and in nearby meadows Sand Hill Cranes. This trip is limited to 8-10 boats/people.

    FMI and trip packet contact the trip leader: JEAN BRANDES

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  • May 28-29 - ZUMBRO RIVER WEEKEND

    Beginner

    The Zumbro is a scenic river with an active current and easy Class I rapids. A different section of the river will be paddled each day. Bring your camera to capture the beauty of the occasional bluff, and other natural scenery. This is a great trip, just 70 miles south of the cities. Come for the weekend or just one day.

    FMI and trip packet contact the trip leader: JOHN OLSON

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  • June 4 - BLUE EARTH

    Intermediate

    This 11.9 mile paddle, marked by mild rapids and rock gardens, is a fairly wide stretch of river that passes by steep embankments and remote woods. Several small tributaries and picturesque waterfalls and gulches can be seen along the banks during wet periods of the year. The trip starts just below the 87 foot high Rapidan Dam and continues by the mouth of the Le Sueur River to Sibley Park in downtown Mankato, at the confluence with the Minnesota River. We'll stop to enjoy lunch by a huge boulder in the middle of the river around halfway through the trip.

    FMI and trip packet contact the trip leader: STEVE CARPLES

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  • June 11-12 - Brule River

    Intermediate

    The Brule is a beautiful spring fed river that flows into Lake Superior. The intention is to paddle two sections of the river that are independent of each other, but this trip will not include the ledges section offered Jun 25 and 26. We will paddle Stones Bridge to the camp ground one mile south of the highway. This will include meandering river, sections of lake, many rapids and one class 2 rapid; Little Joe Rapid. The second day of paddling will include the section that heads out to the mouth of Lake Superior. The map shows a few named rapids, but the bottom of the map indicates "continuous riffles." This involves continuous navigating of low water riffles. It also involves a required portage around the dam where we need to help each other carry boats to the lower side of the dam. The final stretch is through flat water and meadow terrain. You will notice when you are close to Superior when you notice the air cooling. Booking early for the DNR campgrounds south of town or in the town of Brule River is advisable. Outfitting is also available in Brule.

    FMI and trip packet contact the trip leader: JEAN BRANDES

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  • June 18 - Upper Minnehaha Creek

    Intermediate

    If you liked Rice Creek, you'll also enjoy Minnehaha Creek. Minnehaha Creek offers all of the same amenities with less intensity: sharp turns, narrow width, low bridges and spots of fast moving water. You'll experience a wonderful paddle right in the heart of the city. The water ranges from slow and meandering to small Class I rapids. There is a short portage just upstream of 50th Street. See the western suburbs from a different point of view.

    FMI and trip packet, contact the trip leader: WES GERBER

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  • June 25-26 *** Brule River (Kayaking, MUST RESERVE EARLY)

    Intermediate (Whitewater)

    Have you ever thought you would like to try kayaking? The Brule is the place to be on this weekend for rookie and veteran alike. There's no need to cart your equipment around, we have an outfitter to do it for us. The outfitter provides: kayak, paddle, life jacket, and spray skirt, helmet and shuttle service. All you need to bring is your camping gear or take advantage of lodging option at Brule Cabins (as space permits). Every year, beginners try kayaking and have fun on the river. Being a daredevil is not required, just an ordinary person who wants to try something new. On Saturday we put in on an easier section of the river to get the feel for currents and mild rapids. The entire Saturday trip takes about four hours, which allows time at the campground for a fire as well as a swim in a beautiful lake. Sunday we run several enjoyable rapids. Cost in past years for the Saturday night camping fee and kayak rental for two days has been approximately $70. For guaranteed spots reserve four (4) weeks prior to trip; later reservations ONLY if space is available.

    FMI and trip packet contact the trip leader: RON DAHL

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  • June 25-26 - UPPER ST. CROIX WEEKEND

    Beginner

    The Upper St. Croix offers something for everyone: Beautiful scenery, swim spots, novice rapids, slow currents, and free camping. Saturday, the lazy paddling from Riverside to just above St. Croix State Park takes about 4 hours. Here the river offers a current strong enough for an easy paddle most of the way. The clear water and sandy bottom allow swimming almost at will. Sunday, the trip on the Lower Namekagon from the Namekagon Trail Bridge back to Riverside features small rapids and easy paddling through heavily wooded wilderness. This section takes about 3 hours.

    FMI and trip packet contact the trip leader: SEPTEMBER STEINOLFSON

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  • July 9-10 - Crow Wing River

    Beginner

    The Crow Wing derives its name from the shape of the large island at its mouth, which early American Indians believe to be in the form of a raven's wing. This island is where the river meets the Mississippi at Crow Wing State Park. We will likely paddle a section considerably further north (look for Huntersville on your map) about 160 miles northwest of the Twin Cities. The Crow Wing is remarkably clear with sandy beaches and excellent swimming areas. This is easy flat water in scenic territory. The trip leader will select a landing or county park where we can set up camp. We will run our shuttles from our base camp. River sections will be determined based on water levels.

    FMI and trip packet contact the trip leader: JEAN BRANDES

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  • July 16-17 - LOWER NAMEKAGON WEEKEND

    Beginner

    The Lower Namekagon offers a slow pace to give you time to enjoy the scenery, bask in the warmth, observe the animals, and celebrate the hazy days of summer. Saturday, we will be canoeing the shallow, sandy-bottomed section downstream from the campsite. Lunch will be at a halfway point where there are picnic tables or you may sit on the bridge and watch others float by. After lunch, we will be going past the highest sand dune in northern Wisconsin. We will also have many swim stops where the water deepens. Saturday evening we will have time at the campsite for renewing old friendships and reminiscing round the fire. On Sunday, we will put in upstream and paddle back to the campsite take-out. The river on this upper section again is: relatively narrow, clear, shallow, and sandy; and it also has an abundance of: fish, turtles, ducks, osprey, and deer.

    FMI and trip packet contact the trip leader: JOE REISCHEL

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  • July 23 - UPPER CHIPPEWA

    Beginner

    Come paddle in the beautiful Northern Highlands Region of Wisconsin. This part of the Chippewa is described in the Rusk County brochure as "one of the clearest and most prestigious rivers in the State." The scenery is woods, grassy banks, clear water, sandbars and islands with a few scattered but unobtrusive houses. The river has a good current, but is suitable for beginning paddlers and swimming. The estimated drive time from the metro area is about two hours. The mileage from the Wisconsin state line at Taylor's Falls is about 67 miles (about 95 miles from the 35E/35W junction) to the meeting place near Bruce.

    FMI and a trip packet contact the trip leader: SEPTEMBER STEINOLFSON

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  • August 6 - Eau Claire River

    Beginner

    A tributary of the Chippewa River, the Eau Claire River flows through county forest just east of the city of Eau Claire WI, not to be confused with the white water river with the same name near Wausau. This is a slower paced 13 mile trip to enjoy the scenic beauty of pine trees, bluffs, and sandy beaches. Swim, relax, and enjoy a summer day on the river.

    FMI and trip packet contact the trip leader: STEVE KUHN

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    • August 13-14 - UPPER NAMEKAGON WEEKEND (Hayward)

      Beginner

      The Upper Namekagon between Hayward and Earl, Wisconsin has a swift current with a series of moderate (Class I-II) rapids - just enough to keep it enjoyable. Bring your camera, and telephoto lens to capture the beauty of one of America's most scenic wild rivers. Wildlife abounds on this trip. Saturday night we lounge around the rustic campground at Earl that is encircled by the river. The current is slow here giving children of all ages the opportunity to step into the river on the front side of the camp and float (body surf) a good quarter mile and step out right at the back, at the side of the campground. What away to relax before snuggling into your sleeping bag. We will be paddling about 4 hours each day.

      FMI and trip packet contact the trip leader: LAURA HUBERTY

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    • August 20 - UPPER ROOT RIVER (Parsley Landing)

      Beginner

      This is a gentle flowing, spring fed, peaceful river with a sandy bottom. There are a few rocks and riffles. The banks are mostly tree-lined with limestone walls and some awesome towering bluffs. Join us for a quiet paddle further from the commotion of riverside campgrounds and outfitter tours. The Root River supports over 40 species of birds including blue herons, egrets, wood ducks, red-tailed hawks, osprey, turkey vultures and bald eagles. Wooded shores harbor mammals such as deer, gray fox, red fox, coyotes, raccoons, woodchucks, squirrels, weasels, river otters and badgers. The timber rattlesnake can be found along the banks, trails and outcrops anywhere in southeastern Minnesota.

      FMI and trip packet contact the trip leader: SEPTEMBER STEINOLFSON

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    • August 27 - MINNESOTA RIVER (Jordan and Chaska)

      Beginner

      Come paddle the river that was named after this great state. Wide and scenic with plenty of wildlife, this river flows through the south metro and should have much less water than when run in the spring. It is only a short drive from the Twin Cities metro area. We will be paddling from Thompson Ferry Unit to Highway 41 in Chaska, a section with little visible development along the river. Paddle both the spring and fall trips and see how the river changes through the season.

      FMI and trip packet contact the trip leader: KEN JOHNSON

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    • September 3 - Pine River

      Beginner

      If the water levels prevail, the Pine River is a beautiful option for us in September. The Pine departs from Pine Lake near the beautiful Whitefish Chain of Lakes and travels to the Mississippi River. It is an exceptionally clear water river that travels through both wooded and meadow areas. Early planning may be helpful to secure camping or hotel reservations for yourself in the area. The river is located just north of Crosby. Although not included in this trip, one might combine this day trip with a trip on the Mississippi River or the deep mining lakes in the Crosby area (also known for mountain biking).

      FMI and trip packet contact the trip leader: LAURA HUBERTY

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      • September 10 - APPLE RIVER (Star Prairie)

        Beginner

        The Apple River is a 77 mile long tributary of the St Croix River with many dams, flowages, and tubers in the summer. There are sections that are fun and beautiful to paddle. While this 14 mile trip with clear water does have a laid back lazy country river feel it does include a few sections of class I rapids along with a nice park to stop for lunch.

        FMI and trip packet contact the trip leader: STEVE KUHN

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      • September 17 - LOWER CANNON

        Beginner

        The Cannon is a fun river and only a short drive from the Twin Cities. We will paddle an 11-mile trip from Miesville Ravine Park Reserve to Highway 61. We hope to avoid most of the inner tubers at this time of year so we may have this great section of the Cannon to ourselves.

        FMI and trip packet contact the trip leader: MARK DEBOER

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      • September 23-24 - KICKAPOO RIVER (Fri-Sat trip)

        Beginner

        Come join for two days of paddling in the heart of the unglaciated Driftless Area of Wisconsin. This river is 60 miles long, winding and narrow through towering bluffs. It offers clear water, many riffles, rock face walls with beauty around every bend. Our trip will start in Ontario, WI. We will paddle a different route each of the two days. Camping is available at Wildcat Mountain State Park, 1.5 miles east of Ontario.

        FMI and trip packet contact the trip leader: LAURA HUBERTY

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      • October 8 - LOWER ST. CROIX RIVER (Somerset Landing)

        Beginner

        This section of the St. Croix offers views of a heavily wooded steep-sided valley with occasional sandstone and limestone bluffs. Winding side channels and shaded backwaters offers a chance for some exploration. Springs and small streams entering the river create miniature deltas and valleys. Animals that we might see on our trip are white-tailed deer, beaver, raccoon, otter, mink, muskrat, fox and the occasional waterfowl.

        FMI and trip packet contact the trip leader: SEPTEMBER STEINOLFSON

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      • October 15 - KINNICKINNIC

        Intermediate

        Paddle the river that gives its name to River Falls, WI. This is a small twisting and turning river in a deep wooded gorge. It offers superb scenery with difficulty comparable to Rice and Minnehaha creeks. This is a favorite paddle for many of the River Rambler members. It is less than an hour from the Twin Cities and probably the most scenic paddle within that distance. This trip will is limited to 20 boats.

        FMI and trip packet contact the trip leader: KELLY HEGLE AND MAGGIE THOMPSON

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          Trip Leaders

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