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 2018 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.

TRIP SCHEDULE 2018

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

***Indicates WHITE WATER TRIPS

  • BEGINNER
  • INTERMEDIATE
  • EXPERT
  • April 7 *** SNAKE RIVER trip has been cancelled ***

    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: WES GERBER

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  • April 14 *** RICE CREEK *** - Limited to 20 Boats

    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 coordinator: WES GERBER

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  • April 21 - STRAIGHT RIVER -Limited to 20 boats

    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 coordinator: DOUG RITZINGER

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  • April 28 - KINNICKINNIC (River Cleanup 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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  • May 5-6 *** UPPER NAMEKAGON RIVER WEEKEND (Cable) ***

    Intermediate (whitewater)

    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 coordinator: LLOYD BRANDON

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  • May 12 *** 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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  • May 19 - RUM RIVER (ST. FRANCIS)

    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: JIM DOSTAL

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  • May 28 - ZUMBRO RIVER (Monday Trip)

    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 coordinator: Kevin Hannon

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  • June 2 - BLUE EARTH RIVER

    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 coordinator: MARY JO CARLSON

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  • June 9-10 *** BRULE RIVER *** -Ledges

    Intermediate

    This trip is for the Bois Brule River in Douglas County Wisconsin. The city of Brule Wisconsin will be our home base city. This is not to be confused with the Brule River that borders Michigan. I will refer to the Bois Brule River as the Brule River. The Brule is a famous trout stream in the Midwest. Presidents Grant, Coolidge, Hoover, and Eisenhower have visited it. It is one of the most popular rivers for canoeing and kayaking in Wisconsin.

    This trip will be both Saturday and Sunday offering two different trips. It is highly recommended you arrive Friday night and stay at a local accommodation. Most attendees will camp at the Wisconsin DNR Bois Brule Campground. This campground is usually booked full 1 month in advance, so it is recommended you make reservations much earlier than that, maybe 2 or 3 months in advance. There are other accommodations in the area.

    This is considered a whitewater trip. The Saturday Trip will warm up our maneuvering skills, is about 10.5 miles long, and is suitable for open canoes and kayaks 10 to 14 feet long. This trip goes through some lakes, several riffles, class I rapids, and one class II rapid that is a straight ramp type drop and can be done in an open canoe. On Sunday is the Ledges Trip and is 8 miles long. This trip takes the group over the Lenroot and May Ledges, which are class II rapids. Canoes with float bags and kayaks 6 to 10 feet long with spray skirts are a necessity. Helmets are required for all participants for this trip only.

    FMI and trip packet contact the trip coordinator: JEROME ADAMS

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  • June 16-17 - MINNEHAHA CREEK WEEKEND - Limited to 20 Boats

    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.

    On Saturday, we’ll do the 11 miles of the Upper from Grays Bay Dam to Utley Park. On Sunday, it’ll be 10 miles on the Lower from Utley Park to 39th Ave. You can sign up for either one or both.

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

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  • June 23-24 - UPPER ST. CROIX RIVER WEEKEND - Limited to 20 Boats

    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: SEPTEMBER STEINOLFSON

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  • June 30 - 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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  • July 7 - KINNICKINNIC RIVER

    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 14-15 - 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: JOE REISCHEL

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  • ** Canceled: July 28 - ST. CROIX RIVER **

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  • August 4-5 - MIDDLE 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 coordinator: DOUG RITZINGER

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  • August 11 - 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 coordinator: Kelly Hegle

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    • August 18 - 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: PATRICIA SMITH

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    • August 25 - 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 coordinator: KEN JOHNSON

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    • August - Rescheduled: 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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    • September 1 - RICE CREEK

      Beginner

      Rice Creek has two distinct areas of paddle. If all conditions allow, we will start at the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes and paddle through the upper meadow section of the creek. This portion goes through the old New Brighton arsenal. Once we drop down out of Long Lake the creek changes to a windy, sometimes fast, sometimes challenging creek (the section done on the spring trip). The creek will wind through park area as well as residential area. This is considered an intermediate paddle because of the possible challenges. High water can be pushy. Low water can be navigable with a high level of skill in reading the water.

      FMI and trip packet contact the trip coordinator: JEAN BRANDES

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    • September 8 - APPLE RIVER (Star Prairie) - Limited to 20 boats

      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 coordinator: STEVE KUHN

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    • September 15 - 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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    • September 21-22 - 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 coordinator: LAURA HUBERTY

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    • October 6 - KINNICKINNIC RIVER - Limited to 20 boats

      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: MARK DEBOER

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    • October 13 - 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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    Trip Coordinators

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