Where Can You Kayak in Iowa?

Iowa may not be the first state that comes to mind when you think of kayaking, but it actually offers some fantastic options for paddlers of all skill levels. From peaceful lakes to rushing rivers, Iowa has plenty of places to explore by kayak.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced paddler, there’s something for everyone. Here are some of the best places to kayak in Iowa:

Lake Red Rock

Located in central Iowa, Lake Red Rock is a popular destination for kayakers. With over 50 miles of shoreline and 15,000 acres of water, there’s plenty to explore here.

The lake is surrounded by beautiful forests and rolling hills, making it a scenic spot for paddling. There are several access points around the lake where you can launch your kayak, and the calm waters are perfect for beginners.

Maquoketa River

The Maquoketa River in northeastern Iowa is a great option for those looking for a bit more excitement on their kayaking trip. This river offers both calm stretches and exciting rapids, making it a fun challenge for experienced paddlers.

The scenery along the river is also stunning, with towering bluffs and lush forests lining the banks.

Clear Lake

Clear Lake in northern Iowa is another popular spot for kayaking. The lake is known for its crystal-clear water and sandy beaches, making it a great place to cool off on a hot day.

There are several rental shops around the lake where you can rent kayaks or bring your own and launch from one of the many access points.

Des Moines River Water Trail

The Des Moines River Water Trail spans over 80 miles through central Iowa, offering plenty of opportunities for kayaking. Along the way, you’ll pass through several charming towns and see a variety of wildlife.

The water trail is well-marked and offers several access points, making it easy to plan your trip.

Volga River State Recreation Area

The Volga River State Recreation Area in northeast Iowa is a hidden gem for kayakers. The area features several miles of river to explore, as well as a scenic lake.

The river offers both calm stretches and small rapids, making it a fun challenge for all skill levels. There are also several hiking trails in the area if you want to stretch your legs after your paddle.

Tips for Kayaking in Iowa

  • Check the weather before you go – Iowa weather can be unpredictable, so make sure to check the forecast before heading out on the water.
  • Wear a life jacket – Even if you’re an experienced paddler, it’s important to wear a life jacket while kayaking.
  • Bring plenty of water and snacks – Paddling can be tiring work, so make sure to bring enough water and snacks to keep you fueled throughout the day.
  • Respect wildlife – Iowa is home to many species of wildlife, so be sure to give them plenty of space and avoid disturbing them.

In conclusion, Iowa may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of kayaking destinations, but it’s definitely worth checking out. With its peaceful lakes and rushing rivers, there’s something for everyone here. So grab your kayak and head out on the water – adventure awaits!

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Emma Gibson