Canoeing & Kayaking

Safe Paddling

Before you venture out on any river in Iowa, work to understand the local river conditions. The Iowa DNR's Interactive Paddling Map can provide some guidance. Some of the known, large hazards are marked. Be aware that rivers and hazards are constantly changing and not all hazards will be mapped. You can assist the DNR by providing photos and GPS locations of new hazards (see the map website for contact information).



Upper Iowa River

Named one of America's 100 Greatest Adventures by National Geographic magazine, the Upper Iowa River is the perfect destination for anyone looking for an enjoyable and relaxing day. Canoe, kayak, tube, or fish the waters and enjoy the scenic limestone bluffs rising as high as 280 feet above you. The river flows through Howard, Winneshiek, and Allamakee counties in Iowa before it reaches the Mississippi River.


We encourage you to check the Upper Iowa River water levels before all trips. The book Paddling in Iowa by Nate Hoogeveen recommends a minimum of 5.0 feet at Kendallville and 2.25-3.25 feet at Decorah for enjoyable trips. Please be aware of flood stage conditions and adjust your trip accordingly. Always paddle responsibly and safely.


Download the Upper Iowa River Paddler's Guide for a detailed map and information on access points, outfitters, campgrounds, points of interest, and more. You can also pick up a hard-copy of the map at the Winneshiek County Convention and Visitor's Bureau in downtown Decorah.


Winneshiek County Conservation Access Points

  • Chimney Rock Park: North of Bluffton off Bluffton Road on Chimney Rock Road
  • Chattahoochie Park: Northwest edge of Decorah off Highway 52
  • Kendallville Park: Off Highway 139 northeast of Cresco
  • Trout Run Park: East edge of Decorah off Highway 9, near Old Stage and Trout Run roads


Lake Meyer

Canoeing, kayaking, and boating with electric motors area all permitted at Lake Mayer Park. Parking can be found at several points around the lake; the main loading area is on the eastern lake edge. See our fishing page for more details on Lake Meyer. Picnic areas and camping are available at the lake.


Turkey River

Access to the Turkey River is available at Smallest Church Park, west of Festina off either Highway 150 or County Road W14. Picnic areas are available. Check the Turkey River water levels before all trips. Always paddle responsibly and safely.


Joomla templates by a4joomla