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. We have 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, keep the River Ramblers organization functioning, and support organizations that work to better our local rivers.

River Ramblers supports Friends of the Mississippi, Friends of the St. Croix, and Friends of the Kinni.

Car shuttles and trip coordinators

River Rambler trip coordinators 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 coordinator is a volunteer who has paddled the trip before, often for many years. They are coordinating 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 coordinators 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 coordinator for recommendations on if the trip is right for you.

Read the Trip Summaries

Come join the River Ramblers on this 2021 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 coordinators 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.

You are welcome to come for one day of multiple day trips.

***Indicates WHITE WATER TRIPS

  • April 3 - ***LOWER TAMARACK RIVER***

    Intermediate (Whitewater)

    The Lower Tamarack River is a small tributary of the St. Croix River east of Hinckley MN. Constant Class I rapids flow throughout most of this trip because of the river's gradient of 14 feet per mile. Enthusiasts of big beautiful pines have a lot to look at on this narrow, winding river, and although it is uncommon for downed trees to block the Lower Tamarack, there is a possibility of that because of the density of tall pines.

    FMI and trip packet contact the trip coordinator: MARK NELSON

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  • April 17 *** SNAKE RIVER ***

    Intermediate (Whitewater)

    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 coordinator: Kelly Hegle

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  • May 31 - ZUMBRO RIVER (Monday Trip)

    Beginner

    The Zumbro is a scenic river with an active current and easy Class I rapids This popular trip will take us from Zumbro Falls to Millville. 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.

    FMI and trip packet, contact the trip coordinator: KEVIN HANNON

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  • June 5-6 *** BRULE RIVER *** (Ledges)

    Advanced

    The Bois Brule is one of the most popular rivers for canoeing and kayaking in Wisconsin. The Saturday trip will be about 10.5 miles, from Stone's Bridge to the Wisconsin DNR Bois Brule Campground. This trip goes through some lakes, several riffles, class I rapids, and one class II rapids that is a straight ramp type drop and can be done in an open canoe.

    The Sunday trip of about 8 miles from Pine Tree Landing to Hwy 13 is for experienced paddlers and returnees to Lenroot and Mays Ledges, which include numerous class II rapids with sudden drops of 2 to 3 feet. Canoes with float bags and kayaks 6 to 10 feet long are recommended. Helmets are also highly recommended for all participants in the ledges trip. Please note that the River Ramblers system is one in which all participants are responsible for their own safety.

    Camping is available at DNR Bois Brule Campground or Pine Tree Campground. It is suggested that you make reservations 2 - 3 mo ths in advance as these campsites fill up. There are motels and cabins available in the town of Brule and surrounding area.

    FMI and trip packet contact the trip coordinator: MARK NELSON

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  • June 11-12 - KICKAPOO RIVER WEEKEND (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 coordinator: KELLY HEGLE

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  • June 19-20 - UPPER ST. CROIX RIVER 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 McDowell Bridge Landing back to Riverside features small rapids and easy paddling through heavily wooded wilderness. This section takes about 5 hours including lunch.

    FMI and trip packet contact the trip coordinator: Cyndi Barthel

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  • July 3 - KINNICKINNIC RIVER (River Clean Up Trip)

    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 coordinator: JERRY NORRIS

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  • July 17-18 - LOWER NAMEKAGON RIVER 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 coordinator: Cyndi Barthel

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  • July 24 - CROW RIVER

    Beginner

    Designated a Wild and Scenic River, the Crow River leads paddlers through rural landscapes just outside the metropolitan area. The section of river we intend to paddle will be selected closer to the time of the paddle pending river levels. It will be in the Rockford Hanover - Dayton area. If Covid restrictions continue and river levels allow us to paddle appropriate section for a bicycle shuttle, we will do that. Alternatively, driving restrictions may apply. This will be a 10 12 mile paddle.

    FMI and trip packet contact the trip coordinator: JEAN BRANDES

  • July 31 - 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 coordinator: JOHN AND KANDY OLSON

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  • August 7 CHIPPEWA RIVER (Limited to 20 Boats)

    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 coordinator: SEPTEMBER STEINOLFSON

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  • August 14-15 - MIDDLE NAMEKAGON WEEKEND (Hayward)

    Intermediate

    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 to capture the beauty of one of America's most scenic wild rivers. Wildlife abounds on this trip. Saturday night we relax at the rustic campground at Earl that is encircled by the river. The current is slow here giving us the opportunity to step into the river, float a good quarter mile and step out at the other side of the campground. On Sunday we backtrack a little and repeat the best part of the river and continue further downstream. We will be paddling about 4 hours each day.

    FMI and trip packet contact the trip coordinator: DOUG RITZINGER

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  • August 21 - RUM RIVER

    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 coordinator: SEPTEMBER STEINOLFSON

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  • September 11 - MISSISSIPI RIVER (Coon Rapids to Broadway)

    Beginner

    This section of the Mississippi River from the Coon Rapids Dam to Ole Olson Park in Minneapolis covers about 10.5 miles of travel. We weave our way through the islands if water levels allow. We anticipate some lovely fall colors. Eventually, the view opens up to the city scape. One has the contrast of being in a natural setting with the city rising up in front of us as we travel south bound. This is a flat water trip suitable for those able to handle October temperatures and keep themselves dry.

    FMI and trip packet contact the trip coordinator: JEAN BRANDES

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  • October 2 - RED CEDAR RIVER (Colfax)

    Beginner

    The Red Cedar River flows from Sawyer County around 100 miles until it joins the Chippewa River south of Menomonie. On this 14 mile trip we will go through Colfax and take out before Tainter Lake. The current flows steady the whole way. Bordered by woods and some bluffs this trip can be a fall color special.

    FMI and trip packet contact the trip coordinator: STEVE KUHN

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  • October 3 - 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 coordinator: SEPTEMBER STEINOLFSON

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  • October 9 - LOWER CANNON RIVER

    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 coordinator: MARK DEBOER

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Trip Coordinators

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