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My favorite place to paddle near the Twin Cities is Willow River State Park!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6Z0VSsroAk&feature=related

Located between Hudson Wisconsin and River Falls, it is a treasure worth driving a few extra miles to see and experience!. You will feel like you are paddling in the far north, and yet you are so close to the Twin Cities! The wildlife is beautiful- you may see swans, egrets, turtles, eagles, deer-simply amazing! Nice boat launch to drop your kayak or canoe in (no carrying required!) and no motorized vehicles are allowed, keeping this lake and river pristine and quiet. Paddle the lake which leads into the river- eventually you will hear the roar of the huge water falls! You may wish to also hike to the falls and climb to the top of the gorgeous lookout tower. See my link for a video of this gorgeous place! This is perfect for beginner kayakers. The natural beauty will inspire you. It does cost $10 for a single day out-of-state pass, but I think you will find it to be well worth it. We buy an annual pass every year because we love it so much! If enough people are interested in going here, I will be happy to arrange a meet up here. It would be nice if participants could pack a lunch so we can stop and enjoy a little picnic at one of the beautiful parks along the route.

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  • A former member
    A former member

    Great trip Ros thanks. I enjoyed meeting all the fun people in the group and can't wait for the next outing. We had the luck of the Irish with us in keeping the rain at bay until we got back. Nice timing Ros I'm sure you planned it that way :)

    April 22, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    what a great group, was nice to see some familiar folks and meet some new peeps too. thanks Ros for setting this up!

    April 21, 2012

  • Mark

    For those of you interested, here's a link to the Paddling Minnesota Group: https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/paddleminnesota/ It's meant to be a place to join or invite others for those spontaneous paddling events....... Short notice stuff.....

    April 21, 2012

  • Mark

    Hey fellow paddlers! It could have been a bit warmer, but I'm still calling it a sucess. I posted pics. Please tag yourself !

    April 21, 2012

  • Roslynn B.

    What a lovely group of people! There must be something about kayaking that attracts the most interesting, nice folks around! It was chilly out, but the rain held out until the last minute. Beautiful natural setting- so many birds- kingfisher, tiny ducks, eagles, redwing blackbirds, Canada geese to name a few. Kirsten warmed us up with hot coffee. Thanks everybody- for a wonderful time. (Imagine how much fun we'll have on a warm and sunny day!)

    April 21, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Totally forgot about the Lowry Tunnel being closed. Wait for me! I have treats:

    April 21, 2012

  • Roslynn B.

    YAY! The weather man was wrong again! Sunshine- glorious day! Heading out soon in my big purple van. See ya there!

    April 21, 2012

  • Karen

    I will have to cancel for today, but cannot wait to get there soon, when it is a better forecast.

    April 21, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    weather be damned! I've been on the water every weekend since St. Patrick's Day. I'm not going to break my streak now. I don't know if I'll have time to make sandwiches today though :o

    1 · April 21, 2012

  • Dawn M.

    I'm willing to go rain or shine. I checked the NOAA site for Hudson weather. It said rain after 1:00 PM. If we get on the water by 11:00 AM, that's three hours of paddling...or just lazy floating. Hopefully that's what happens!

    April 20, 2012

  • Roslynn B.

    MN weather makes it so hard to plan anything! Forcast: Tomorrow
    50 °F, Rain, 60% chance of precipitation. GRRR! I don't mind the temperature but don't want to kayak in the rain! Last week they had a similar forcast, and then it turned out to be a beautiful day until late afternoon! I will be getting up early, and if it looks like the rain will be holding off- I will be there! I guess we will all have to use our best judgment. If the weather is too awful, we can plan another!

    1 · April 20, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm assuming this is a rain or shine event. Just wanted to make sure as it looks like rain Sat.

    April 20, 2012

  • Dawn M.

    Regarding rentals; if you don't want to take your chances with the park's supply, REI has always had a fairly generous rental policy. For instance, when I have wanted to rent a kayak for a Saturday, they've allowed me to pick it up on Friday and return it on Sunday. Rentals include the kit to car-top it, kayak, paddle and lifevest.

    April 19, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I don't have my own kayak. Are there rentals???

    April 19, 2012

  • Roslynn B.

    This is for people who love a zen-like experience in quiet, serene natural setting! Relax and drink in the natural beauty- no stress!

    April 18, 2012

  • Roslynn B.

    First you will have to stop in at the State Park office on the way in to the park. You can purchase a one day sticker for your car, or a season pass. Ask for a map and you can drive right to the BOAT RAMP and put in your kayak or canoe- (no walking required!) Then park in the parking lot right behind the ramp. Figure about 3 hours, or longer, if you wish to stay longer. There are no strong currents- it's usually very still and peaceful water, so no struggling to paddle upstream or anything

    April 18, 2012

  • Janelle

    Is this a "loop?" How do we get back to our vehicles?

    April 16, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Same questions as Dawn, plus an estimate of river miles and/or time on the water would be helpful. Thanks.

    April 16, 2012

  • Dawn M.

    Hi , Roslynn, Thanks for organizing this. Will we be putting in at the Little Falls Lake boat launch? And is there a pre-determined take out location? I will mos def bring a lunch!

    April 13, 2012

  • Roslynn B.

    Natalie- most of it is deep- however, there are some shallow areas as you wind down the river toward the falls. You may not be able to go quite as far as some who have traditional type kayaks. Either way, you will have a wonderful time!

    1 · April 9, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    You are so very kind! I don't mind paddling! :) Not positive if I'm able to go, yet. Will be in touch. Thank you so much!

    April 6, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Jim and I are renting a canoe. You could ride in ours... Or I would be happy to let you paddle.....

    April 6, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Will anyone be canoeing?

    April 6, 2012

  • Natalie m

    Is this a shallow paddle? ( water levels under 12 inches) i own a hobbie cat and this kayak is one you peddle with your feet. I would love to do this paddle but need to know if any of you can answer the question i have above. I've always wanted to hit this park and photograph it.

    1 · April 1, 2012

  • Paul B.

    Jim.
    Check out REI or Midwest Mountaineering for rentals of good Kayaks

    1 · March 30, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Roslynn - did you find that business yet that rents Kayaks?

    March 29, 2012

  • Roslynn B.

    How to Get There
    From downtown Hudson, at the Vine Street stoplight turn east. Follow Vine Street up the hill to County Highway A (Carmichael Road). Turn left and follow County A to the park entrance.

    From Interstate Highway 94, take Exit # 4 and go north on US Highway 12 for about 1.6 miles. Go straight on to County Highway U for about .3 mile to County Highway A. Continue north on Highway A 1.5 miles. The park entrance will be on the left.

    March 26, 2012

  • Roslynn B.

    I think they have a few, but it is on a first-come-first served basis (at least it was last year). However, I recall driving by a private business near the park that has tons of rentals. I will try to find it on line and post it here for you!

    March 26, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    One of my fav places. I've never checked, do they rent kayaks there? I don't recall seeing anything.

    March 25, 2012

  • Roslynn B.

    You will LOVE it Mark! It is so lovely and pristine- the variety of birds seen is phenomenal. It feels like a trip up north, without having to travel so far. Spread the word! Thanks!

    March 25, 2012

  • Mark

    I've been to Willow River State Park in the fall for a hiking meet-up. I actually brought 8 people with in addition to myself. VERY NICE! Can't wait to explore it by water.

    March 25, 2012

  • Roslynn B.

    Thanks Mark and Tara! You will love this place!

    March 25, 2012

  • Roslynn B.

    Willow River is actually NOT located between Hudson and River Falls; it's east of Hudson. River Falls is south of Hudson.

    March 25, 2012

  • Roslynn B.

    1 · March 25, 2012

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