Iowa is blessed with a variety of rivers, creeks, and lakes offering a number of different types of experiences for beginner to expert paddler. 18,000 miles of navigable streams await exploration by curious paddlers from across the state. The Iowa DNR wants you to enjoy, appreciate, and respect Iowa's rivers. We hope you find this site very useful.
What is a Water Trail?
Water Trails are recreational corridors and routes on rivers and lakes that provide a unique experience for canoeists and kayakers. Water trails provide adequate access points that can be used for planning your trips at various lengths and difficulty. A water trail may also provide access to riverside campgrounds, primitive campsites, amenities such as shelters and restrooms in city, county or state parks. A water trail will have a detailed map showing access points and river mileage and may even provide information on history and area culture, wildlife viewing opportunities and more. Water trails can help re-connect Iowans to their history, heritage, geology and wildlife. A water trail promotes an ethic of caring that makes us more aware of our surroundings and environment and can be thought of as educational venues. Whether they are used for relaxation, health and fitness, education or just for spending time with family, water trails provide in-state destinations for recreational river users that can even help boost local economies.
Livery Training Class 2013 a Success
The recent training class that was provided for livery owners in Iowa was well attended and the reviews from participants were very positive. Outfitters here in Iowa put a lot of people on our streams and they are dedicated to assisting in the education of paddlers who choose to recreate on our waterways. The IDNR is building strong relationships with these liveries as we continue to work together on helping all paddlers understand basic good stewardship and learning about proper river etiquette. As a paddler, you can help keep our rivers beautiful and safe for families and other users by following a few essential guidelines:
- Take out what you bring in. The river is not a dumping ground. Please place your trash into a bag that you can have with you at all times. Practice "leave no trace" and leave it better than you found it.
- Respect private property. Do not trespass. Understand what is public and what is private land.
- Respect other river users. The river is not just for paddlers. There are many who use them for fishing or just spending the day with the family. This means there can be young children present. Give people that are fishing plenty of room and respect their space. Know your navigation laws for when other boats are near-by.
American Canoe Association (ACA) Classes for 2013 (IDNR Canoe Schools)
2013 IDNR Canoe School dates have been announced! These classes will fill up fast so it is highly recommended that you reserve your spot now. The May class is sold out. Space for these popular classes are limited. If you are a Naturalist and lead groups out on the water and down river, then you need this class. Read all about it now and sign up today. 2013 paddlingschools (revised).doc 2013 paddlingschools (revised).pdf
On-Line Paddle Safety Boating Course
Check out this free resource and improve your safety knowledge when it comes to paddling. This course is NASBLA (National Association of State Boating Law Administrators) approved. All new paddlers should take this free course and it is a great review for the experienced. Register for a free account and get started today! Free Paddling Course
__________________________________________________________________________________________________Water Trail Designations
Keep checking back to learn what water trails will be designated in 2013. Check out the current Water Trails map to see what is close to you and what trails are under development. 2013 Water Trails Map
Charles City WhiteWater and Riverfront Park OPEN!
The nations newest whitewater play park is open for enjoyment in Charles City, Iowa! See why it's turning heads across the state and across the nation! Paddlers from as far away as Oregon and Arizona have come to paddle the nations newest whitewater park and to enjoy the entire riverfront in Charles City. A full review of the project will be found right here soon so keep checking back. For now, please use the following link for more information! Charles City Whitewater Park
It's not just about whitewater. Charles City is dedicated to improve it's local watershed in a number of ways. Check out how they have connected to their river! Watershed Success
2013 River News
Klondike dam removal on the Big Sioux River report coming soon!