04 Mar Urban Kayaking on the Mississippi River in Minneapolis
We have been kayaking in so many different places—in lakes, rivers, you name it. But we have yet to even make a dent in exploring all the lakes in our home state (there are mover than 11,000 lakes in Minnesota after all!). One of our major oversights in our paddling expeditions, was never kayaking on the Mississippi River.
The Mississippi River starts in north central Minnesota, about an hour from where we grew up, and it runs straight through the Twin Cities where we live now. So, even though we have explored the shores of the Mississippi River, we haven’t actually explored the waters themselves. It was about time to correct that error, so last summer when the TBEX North America conference came to town, we signed up for a morning of paddling on the Mississippi with Above the Falls Sports (which is now the Paddle Bridge Guide Collective) and a group of fellow bloggers.
Photo courtesy of Above the Falls Sports
We love urban kayaking and it was fun to see the Minneapolis skyline from the water. It’s a perspective of the city we had yet to witness, plus getting out on the water is always a great time.
Our tour explored the river above St. Anthony Falls—Micah and I were in a tandem kayak which is always quite the experience. We never have the same ideas on where we want the kayak to go, so it’s always causes problems out on the water! Thankfully, this time around we were able to catch up and chat with some friends, so there wasn’t time to debate over which direction we wanted to go.
We were on the “working the local channel” tour and our group started the tour from Boom Island. We paddled along the wide open river by the Grain Belt Brewery landmark, under bridges, down canals lined with trees, and along the shores of Nicollet Island. Our tour started out going downriver, which meant we had to finish the last leg heading back upriver. Luckily, the current wasn’t too strong so the paddle was manageable.
It was a fantastic spring morning out on the water—the cloudy skies eventually turned to sun, the weather was warm, and we had great company paddling with us. Throughout the tour, our guides filled us with information on what we were seeing and the history of the city.
We had a great time kayaking, but we would also love to check out another tour that is offered by Above the Falls Sports called Minneapolis to Minnehaha Falls. On this paddle, you make your way to Minnehaha Creek by passing limestone cliffs, sandy beaches and making your way through the Lower Saint Anthony Lock. Paddling through a lock on kayak would be a fun adventure!
Above the Falls Sports offers a short paddling lesson before every tour and all paddling equipment is included (boat, paddle, PFD and guide). They also take photos during the experience that you can download from an online gallery; medium resolution photos are free to download, and high resolution images are $2.00 each. You can bring your own camera with as well, but we would recommend a dry bag or waterproof camera if you do! It’s also a good idea to bring sunglasses, sunscreen, water, a hat and a snack with on your tour.
We loved getting a chance to finally explore the Mississippi River from the water. This tour is a great urban adventure for anyone looking for something just a little bit different, and it definitely made kayaking on the Mississippi a higher priority for us in the future!