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 2019 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

  • BEGINNER
  • INTERMEDIATE
  • EXPERT
  • April 6 - ***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 13 *** 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: Mark Nelson

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  • April 20 - STRAIGHT RIVER (Limited to 12 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 requiring good paddling skills.

    FMI and trip packet contact the trip coordinator: DOUG RITZINGER

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  • April 27 - KINNICKINNIC RIVER (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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  • April 27 - LOWER TAMARACK RIVER has been rescheduled to April 6

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  • May 4 - ZUMBRO RIVER (Theilman to Kruger Park)

    Beginner

    The Zumbro is a scenic river with an active current and easy Class I rapids. The river bottom is mostly sand and gravel. You might see eagles, herons, geese and other wildlife. Spring flowers should be in bloom.

    FMI and trip packet contact the trip coordinators: JOHN & KANDY OLSON

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    • May 18 - 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 27 - 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 1 - RED CEDAR RIVER

      Beginner

      The 85 mile long Red Cedar River is a tributary of the Chippewa River flowing through Barren and Dunn counties in Wisconsin. This 14 mile paddling trip will be close to the middle, from near Chetek to near Sand Creek. The Red Cedar here has a steady current flowing through a rural area with tree lined banks, many little islands, and some parks along the way.

      FMI and trip packet contact the trip coordinator: STEVE KUHN

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    • June 8-9 *** BRULE RIVER *** (Ledges)

      Advanced

      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 14-15 - 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: JERRY NORRIS

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    • June 22-23 - 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: Cyndi Barthel

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    • June 29 - RICE CREEK

      Beginner

      Rice Creek has two distinct areas of paddle. This trip is planned for the upper section starting in the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes. The lakes are shallow, tall grass lakes with lots of Egrets and GBH. After navigating the lakes we head down the creek through the meadows section. The paddle will end before the Old Arsenal in New Brighton due to bridge construction in 2019, approximately 6 miles. One must be able to get out to step around obstacles such as a fish barrier.

      FMI and trip packet contact the trip coordinator: JEAN BRANDES

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    • July 6 - 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 13-14 - 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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    • July 27 - CROW RIVER

      Beginner

      Designated a Wild and Scenic River, the Crow River leads paddlers through rural landscapes just outside of the metropolitan area. The river banks, forested with maple, basswood, and elm, are occasionally interrupted with gently rolling farmlands. Chances to see wildlife are plenty and sightings of great-blue herons, white-tail deer, and bald eagles are common. Our route will begin at Crow Springs County Park (River mile 35.6) on the North Fork of the Crow River and finish at the launch in Rockford (River mile 22.8). This is a 12.8 mile paddle with some easy rapids in last mile near Rockford.

      FMI and trip packet contact the trip coordinator: SHAWN NIELSEN

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    • August 3-4 - 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, and telephoto lens 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 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. 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 10 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 17 - 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 24 - 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 31 - MISSISSIPPI RIVER (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 coordinator: JIM DOSTAL

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    • September 7 - APPLE RIVER (Star Prairie) - Limited to 20 boats

      Intermediate

      The 77 mile long Apple River in Wisconsin is a tributary of the St Croix River with some dams, flowages, and the popular Somerset tubing section. This 14 mile paddling trip is through a rural area with tree lined banks and clear water. It starts with moving slow current and a little tree dodging, then after a lunch stop at the beautiful Star Prairie Park there are a couple miles of class I rapids before the river slows near the end.

      FMI and trip packet contact the trip coordinator: STEVE KUHN

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    • September 14 - 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 - 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 5 - 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

    • October 6 - 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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