Spectacular Day Trip Paddling the Brule River and then Duluth

Let's take a spectacular day trip to the historic Brule River and then Duluth 40 minutes away from Brule, Wisconsin. We will go the Saturday of Memorial Day, May 24. This is a memorable paddling journey to a beautiful place that has attracted five Presidents of the United States for recreation. I have canoed this three times and love it. You will see licence plates from across the country is the Brule is a national attraction.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PV9uQVVbKc


The safe paddling scenery changes from slow and leisurely, then varied topography with varied waters, really fun light rapids (let's see who wipes out -- not me!), historic mansion cabin homes from a bygone Roaring 20s era, including the "Summer Whitehouse" of Calvin Coolidge, wildlife, and more.

https://www.google.com/search?q=brule+river+canoeing&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=WidhU6HyGoybyATZzoGADQ&ved=0CFMQsAQ&biw=1680&bih=935

We will rent canoes and kayaks, for those needing them, at Brule River Canoe Rental. The shuttle drives us to the entrance and we end the journey at our cars.

This would need group discussion but I assume the trip would be something like this:

8:00 AM: We all meet in Forest Lake.

2.5 hour drive from there to Brule.

11:00 AM: 5 hours Stones Bridge to Town of Brule with fun level II rapids towards the end. The website says 6 hours but it has never taken me that long.

6 PM: Dinner and socialize in Duluth. I really like going to the cool Pizza Luce on Superior Street and Lake Avenue for pizza, pasta, or vegetarian dishes. Then maybe hit the lakewalk, canal park, and places for libations or whatever the group wants. The lakewalk mood at dusk, lit Aerial Lift Bridge, and city lights are great after dark.

Then head home. Or some people could rent rooms for a weekend in the area. My smooth riding car take a few passengers up and then back, and I do not drink.

The Brule is amazing. Definitely worth a day!!

Depending on the number of rentals, canoe rentals are $47.50 (divided by two people) and kayaks are $33 each.

This can be scheduled another time but I have plans for the weekend of May 17, June 7 and June 21, plus another paddle event is June 14. I would like to take a group on May 24 so let's do it. I am an organizer in other Meetup groups and think I do a good job handling the details and would volunteer to be a host. I would like someone else to also be a leader host while I make sure the trip plans are in order.

Join or login to comment.

  • Diane

    would anyone be interested in paddingling through the chain of lakes around lake phaylen in saint paul sometimetoday for just a couple hrs before the rain heads in around 4 or so? if so call me[masked]

    May 25, 2014

  • Karen B.

    If you have your own boat/canoe we are welcome to put in at my parents. Their back yard is the Cannon River in Cannon Falls. I did it today also. It is higher than usual but if you have the roll, know the river where the rocks, turns and drop off are you are fine. It's really early spring for expert kayak skills and canoers that know by heart how to swim when being suck in from a under current as well. Otherwise, wait until mid to end of June for safe lower water levels on the rivers. Enjoy'

    1 · May 24, 2014

  • Todd C.

    Water levels on the Cannon River are high. This rental place declares they are temporarily closed due to high water levels: http://www.welchmill.com/high-water-we-are-temporarily-closed/

    Another place based in Cannon Falls, MN is open for the Memorial Day weekend but being not real familiar with what a safe level is -- water levels are way above the 75th percentile now -- I cannot in good conscience recommend we meet there this weekend. Feel free to get out and paddle as you personally see fit. I think high water levels for the rest of us are to be avoided. I do hope we have many meetup options this summer, like every few weeks. We must go to the Brule as simply spectaculer and a stop in Duluth. There is the Root River, St, Croix, etc.

    May 22, 2014

    • Krista

      For what it's worth, I paddled the Cannon today from Cannon Falls to Hwy 61 (around 19 miles) and didn't see any issues whatsoever with the high water. No log jams, dead heads, etc. Beautiful day and never saw another soul on the water!

      1 · May 23, 2014

    • Todd C.

      This is great intelligence. Even high water to that level on the Cannon is fine. Maybe annually this group could take a first paddle of the year south to the Cannon.

      2 · May 24, 2014

  • Mason

    Is this event still going on tomorrow?

    May 23, 2014

  • Bill

    I would be all in but I have to move my daughter on Sunday. I would be up for something like this on a future date.
    Another great place for flatwater paddling and camping is VNP on Lake Kabetogema.

    May 21, 2014

    • Diane

      where the heck is lake kabetogema?

      May 22, 2014

  • Diane

    I wouldnt mind going to some local lake or how about the Cannon River?

    May 22, 2014

  • Sarah

    Todd, I would be interested in a paddle somewhere this weekend. Can it be somewhere where I can rent the boat there and just shove off into the water though? I don't feel like making this the weekend to learn how to install a rack on my jetta, then the boat, then tool down the road with it all, hoping I did it right... Smiles. I am in Woodbury but can drive your way if you want.

    May 22, 2014

  • Todd C.

    Does the rest of the group want to arrange something else for this weekend? Please reply. It could be just hitting a local lake. I would not organize that. If anyone is interested in socializing, Monday I am hosting two Meetup groups to go to Lord Fletcher's at 3 PM for an amazing dance band and party of the wharf of beautiful Lake Minnetonka.
    http://www.meetup.com/MN-culturevultures/events/182308682/

    May 22, 2014

  • Rebecca M.

    I was so excited when I came across this but as with all other plans I have had for the weekend the weather and water levels have made it too dangerous. Does anyone know of any flatwater paddles going on this weekend instead? I thought about heading to WI and paddling out to one of the free island campsites on the Chippewa Flowage, but don't want to take my chances on getting a spot since it's first come... They do have a larger group site which can be reserved but I hardly think myself and two qualify as a group.

    May 21, 2014

  • Judy J

    I would be glad to participate in this road trip and paddle at a future date.

    May 21, 2014

  • Todd C.

    CANCELLED. CANCELLED EXCEPT FOR EXPERT PADDLERS WHO MAY WANT TO FORM A NEW GROUP. UNSAFE WATER VOLUMES.

    May 20, 2014

  • Todd C.

    Everyone, go to this link to understand why we have been waiting and watching. I will explain. http://waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/uv?04025500 We need that at around 300. I would love, love to canoe the Brule at high water early in the year but it can only be so high. Last week it came down to about 360 and looked to have a trajectory to hit 300. But look at the graph. The rain yesterday nudged it up over 400. After rain this morning we have great weather the rest of the week -- but not great enough to get down to 300. It will probably get down to 350. Had we not had the rain yesterday we may have made it. Had the North not had late snow and heavy rains then we would have made it for a fun high water adventure. Unfortunately, I don't think anyone should canoe the Brule now unless you are a very strong paddler and advanced in experience. So for intermediate and below, the trip is cancelled.

    May 20, 2014

    • Joe L.

      Thank you, Todd, for your diligence in monitoring and communication the river conditions. There will be other opportunities. See you and the others at that time.

      May 20, 2014

  • Kelly H.

    I'll be staying in town this weekend and kayaking the Kinni on Saturday and the Mississippi on Sunday with the Ramblers. The Brule will have to be another time for me.

    May 20, 2014

  • Karen B.

    No worries, I'm back on the schedule to work.

    May 19, 2014

  • Todd C.

    I am waiting for a return call to see if it is possible to safely do the first 2/3 of the river. We should know soon. Safety first. We are now entering the set plan details or terminate stage.

    May 18, 2014

    • Joe L.

      I think Todd is doing a terrific job of accurately keeping the group updated on conditions and event status. Thanks Todd.

      May 19, 2014

    • Karen B.

      No worries...I'm working that day. Have fun!

      May 19, 2014

  • Diane

    HI Karen, I can certainly understand your frustration about the trip being cancelled if it has, but with the weather in MN and these outdoor events, this may happen alot on many of these functions. I would in your case either delay asking your boss about having time off until the event is a for sure go, or else I would find another event to get in and enjoy your day off. It is not the organizers fault, our weather here in MN is an act of god and very unpredictable for outdoor events.

    May 19, 2014

  • Todd C.

    Early forecast is for 77 degrees and mostly sunny and then 80 the next day. So that climate may cooperate. Still waiting on water flow safety news....

    May 19, 2014

  • Judy J

    I must cancel due to numerous personal issues happening plus must work on Sunday. I agree extreme caution is advised. I spent the last two weekends driving north of Duluth on personal business; and indeed, all streams, waterfalls, are absolutely gushing down. A very late spring up there after huge snowfalls, some areas still even melting lead to super flow.

    1 · May 19, 2014

  • Kelly H.

    For those of us who are bringing our own kayaks, are we to follow the shuttle to the put in? If so, then our cars will not be at the take out. Or is the shuttle going to haul our gear to the put in, too?

    May 14, 2014

    • Todd C.

      I will defer to experts. I believe the massiveness of the flow right now affects currents, rapids, controlability. This of a big, swelled river. Height is a function of that. The graph showing height does not reference the 75% percentile or median, and the history shown is back a few months. I talked to the owner of the rental place awhile ago and now the level is too high and I doubt he would rent to us, but it is draining and I hoped it would decrease but the overall region soil must be very saturated as evidences by so much standing water I saw last weekend.

      May 14, 2014

    • Tony Y.

      Discharge is the volume of water per second passing a given point, so a combination of speed, height, and width.

      1 · May 18, 2014

  • Karen B.

    I thought I read this kayak trip cancelled...? Due to high waters.

    1 · May 17, 2014

  • Renee

    I live in Ramsey... I would be happy to rideshare.. Room for 3 others in my car. Thanks. [masked]

    May 15, 2014

  • Todd C.

    The Brule flow right now is not doable except for experts. The flow needs to be around 300 and seems stalled at 500. The recent heavy rain after heavy late snow is causing problems. The Brule tends to get surges of flow and pours into Lake Superior but this appears stalled at heavy flow.

    May 13, 2014

  • Sarah

    I decided it was crazy of me to sign up for this event. I would have to get up at the crack of dawn, pack and lunch and dinner (I am gluten free) and then drive home quickly right after to let out the dog. I will certainly join future events if they are closer to Woodbury. Have fun folks!

    May 13, 2014

    • Todd C.

      Other dogs are be coming.... Just something to consider.

      May 13, 2014

  • Kim

    Hi, I have no car at the moment, so I need a ride to go there. I would really appreciate if anyone can give me a ride.

    May 12, 2014

    • Todd C.

      Someone for sure will give you a ride. We will fine tune details soon. I am the fallback ride.

      May 12, 2014

  • Todd C.

    I went to Duluth Sunday and the rivers were very high. I just checked the Brule and the level is very high. We have to watch this: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/uv?04025500

    May 12, 2014

    • Todd C.

      It's raining there right now but the extended forecast is for no rain the next full week. We have to huddle up as the time approaches, and all details will be clarified at that time. We will have a few options. If the weather is nice but the water is high we can stop before the rapids at the end and then off to Duluth for dinner and weekend fun. If the weather is really bad we can cancel the trip. At that time we could divert to another nearby river, like the Root River southeast. Assuming weather is good, getting away to Duluth and Brule is the assumed plan.

      May 12, 2014

  • Rose B.

    Have my own kayak but may rent and will definitely need a shuttle. Haven't decided on staying in Duluth and was curious: who is planning on a Duluth overnite?

    1 · May 11, 2014

  • Karen B.

    it's been 10 years since I kayaked the Brûlée River. I'm really looking forward to it. And going with a group of fun people:)

    1 · May 11, 2014

  • Todd C.

    Hope for weather like right now and that the Brule does not get more rain so it can drain and we can paddle the whole route.

    1 · May 10, 2014

  • Kelly H.

    I have a trailer that holds four kayaks. (I do have four kayaks, although will only need two that weekend. If somebody wants to use the other two or need me to haul theirs, let me know. [masked]

    1 · May 7, 2014

    • Joe L.

      Hi Kelly, Might I use one of your kayaks?

      1 · May 8, 2014

    • Kelly H.

      Hi, Joe. I may have spoken too soon. We have a couple that are still on the fence with whether or not they are able to go that day. (If they do go, at least you're able to rent one, too.)

      1 · May 8, 2014

  • Diane

    I have a kayak but would rather canoe. I have a little 15# dog that I need to take with. Does anyone else want to rent a canoe? The water is going to be really high & fast now so would prefer to only do the shorter trip.

    My PC crashed so if anyone would be interested please call me[masked]

    1 · May 7, 2014

    • Todd C.

      I can do either canoe or kayak -- leaning to canoe. I thought I would let others choose first and then I choose what works best. I will check in on the water as the time approaches. Now it is high due to the rain and snow. It is draining into Lake Superior well. We are not obligated to go. This is a great group I can tell. I definitely want to do the Brule early, personally, as a lifetime event since all other times for me have been later during heat of summer but sometimes so low water it is barely doable.

      May 7, 2014

    • Todd C.

      Safety first... We will see.

      May 7, 2014

  • tyler

    I have an extra kayak if anyone needs one, if not I have an extra space on my vehicle. I'm also planning on staying in canal park Saturday if anyone wants to get a room.

    1 · May 5, 2014

    • Rose B.

      Lotsa hotels, including the Hampton are already booked so if your points also get you preferential reservation treatment better reserve NOW.

      May 7, 2014

    • Kim

      Thank you, Tyler! I'd like to use the kayak on that day.

      May 7, 2014

  • Keith

    Who is the organizer so I can let them know about shuttle needs?

    1 · May 5, 2014

    • Sarah

      I will need a shuttle and to rent a kayak.

      May 6, 2014

    • Todd C.

      Sarah, be sure to RSVP yes. Thanks!

      May 6, 2014

  • Keith

    Thanks Todd for the info. My wife Janet and I would like to join you all in this paddle. We both have done this paddle several times including ledges. Also used the same outfitters in previous years. We have our own kayaks so we would just need shuttle service. We could meet you at outfitters or forest lake. We would likely just be along for paddle as we may try to see a friend in the area after the paddle.

    1 · May 6, 2014

    • Todd C.

      Wow! You have done the ledges further down! It would be great if you joined us. The plans for everyone can be flexible for whatever works for you. I will post my phone number as the time approaches so we all can stay is text communication for meeting up at the start.

      May 6, 2014

  • Sarah

    I am interested in going and will need to rent a kayak. Pls let me know what I should wear (have only kayaked in AZ) and any other gear I should bring. Thanks.

    1 · May 5, 2014

    • Todd C.

      Dress for water fun. Average high in May is 63. Expect that or a bit warmer. We go mid-day. All-time high is 95. I never spill in the light rapids but plan as though I will. I wear shorts and a T-shirt with another layer on top I probably leave at the car. I wear my life jacket. Your shoes will get a bit wet getting in and out so wear older tennis shoes, sandals, or water shoes. Sun glasses. Water bottle. Sun screen. Snacks. Have a swim suit on or underneath if you plan to jump in as we go through a couple small lakes but will be a bit cool. Water will be high and fun. Have a towel and change of clothes if needed for Pizza Luce at the car. I will bring bags for anyone needing to secure and keep dry valuables in case you tip. Again rapids are not deep; you just stand up and are mild. We will respect safety first as a team of friends so that someone is nearby to help grab the boat if needed. We will monitor the weather before for rain or cold. We can cancel. Could be amazing.

      1 · May 5, 2014

    • Todd C.

      Correction, average high for that specific day is 66. We will see... I remember canoeing once later in the year and kept getting caught on rocks due to the lack of water and had to drag the canoe awhile and walk the shallow creek with my then-girlfriend. Will be spring green foliage and higher water this time.

      May 5, 2014

  • Grady

    I'd love to go, but already have plans for that weekend. I'd really like to hear how the trip goes. I've got the Brule on my list to hit this Summer. Enjoy

    1 · May 1, 2014

  • Joe L.

    I plan on renting for this trip.

    1 · May 1, 2014

  • Diane

    Do we have to do the whole river? What if one just wants to do the easy paddling & not the rapids? Is there a shuttle that takes us back to the car at half point?

    1 · May 1, 2014

    • Todd C.

      You can stop half way if you want. A shuttle will take you to the parking lot at the end. The mild rapids in the second half are nothing to worry about... Just some bumpiness. Put it this way, people would inner tube the whole run before tubing was banned. We are not going to do the more extensive rapids further below, which is after the parking lot and landing. So you can stop half way if you want buy encourage everyone to go all the way.

      May 1, 2014

  • Todd C.

    Anyone from anywhere can go. Just RSVP "yes" and meet at the rental place in Brule by 10:45 AM.

    May 1, 2014

  • Lisa La R.

    Would love to go but will be out of town.

    1 · May 1, 2014

  • Todd C.

    If you RSVP yes please indicate if you will need a canoe rental, kayak rental, or you have your own boat and will need just a shuttle.

    May 1, 2014

  • kathryn

    I live in Duluth, but I would love to go still

    1 · April 30, 2014

  • Todd C.

    This trip is easy enough for anyone with someone in the back of a canoe (or a kayak) who can steer and lean. In the video, the more difficult route described with ledges is not part of this. Anyone wanting to do that, preferably experienced paddlers with sea kayak's could do that. I would not try the Lenroot and Mays ledges for my experience level.

    1 · April 30, 2014

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Imagine having a community behind you

Get started Learn more
Rafaël

We just grab a coffee and speak French. Some people have been coming every week for months... it creates a kind of warmth to the group.

Rafaël, started French Conversation Group

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy