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Canoe Trails


There are a dozen marked canoe trails on the Refuge, as well as unmarked designated canoe areas.

  • Water Trail Signs

    Blue Canoe Sign

    When enjoying marked water trails, look for the diamond shaped signs and follow the arrow. 

    Please Note: Some signs may be missing along the way, know your location, and use maps!

    Canoe areas are unmarked.

  • Canoe Trail Maps


    Downloadable .gpx files for the Aghaming, Finger Lakes, Halfmoon, and Straight Slough canoe trails. (1.2 MB ZIP including CSV, GPX and JPG files)


    Learn More
  • Nelson Trevino Trail


    Nelson-Trevino Map

    Trail Details: 4.8 miles - Moderate Skill Level. There is a stretch where you will be paddling against the current. During high water and windy days it will require strong paddling.

    Directions: From Nelson, Wisconsin, take Highway 25 west towards Wabasha, Minnesota. The Nelson/Trevino Landing is located on the north side of Highway 25 and the Pontoon Slough Landing is located on the south side of Highway 25.

    Photo to the left by:  USFWS/Cindy Samples

  • Finger Lakes

    Kayakers on Finger Lakes

    Finger Lakes Map

    Trail Details: 5.2 miles - This is best during high water. The portage is approximately 1/4 mile during low water.
     There are two loops, a shorter 1 mile loop or the longer 5.2 mile loop. During low or "normal" pool conditions you will need to portage your canoe between 1st Lake and Wiggle Waggle Slough. This trail winds through the braided streams and sloughs of the Upper Mississippi River.

    Directions:  From Kellogg, MN, take HWY 61 north, turn right onto County road 81, turn left onto County Road 30, turn right onto County Road 24, continue onto N County Road 24, turn right onto Prairie Lane, turn right onto Pioneer Drive. You can access either using the Minnesota DNR Canoe Access area or Pioneer Landing. 

    Photo to the left by: USFWS/Cindy Samples


  • Halfmoon Landing


    Halfmoon Landing Map

    Trail Details: 5 miles -  Moderate to Difficult. Difficult during high water. Murphy's cut can be impassable during high water. Difficult due to vegetation towards end of summer. Recommended for experienced paddlers.

    Directions: From Kellogg, MN take Hwy 61 south, turn left onto County Road 84, turn right onto West Newton Road, turn right into Halfmoon Landing.

    Photo to the left by: USFWS/Cindy Samples

  • Straight Slough

    Trail Map in Canoe by Danielle

    Straight Slough Canoe Trail Map

    Trail Details: 11 miles - Difficult. The length of this trail makes it a more difficult adventure and you will be going against the current in the beginning. Recommended for experienced paddlers. However, you can put in at Bass Camp and go with the flow of the river following the canoe route signs to Verchota Landing instead of doing the entire loop from Verchota Landing.

    Directions: From Winona, MN, take Prairie Island Road to Verchota Landing.

    Photo to the left by: USFWS/Danielle Quist

  • Aghaming Trail

    Red Kayak Danielle

    Aghaming Canoe Trail Map

    Trail Details: 5.5 miles - Moderate to Difficult. This is a looped trail, and you will be paddling against the current on the return trip.

    Directions: From Winona, cross the interstate bridge and turn right. Cross over the Wagon Bridge and launch your canoe or kayak from the shore.

    Photo to the left by: USFWS/Danielle Quist

  • Long Lake


    Long Lake Canoe Trail Map

    Trail Details: 5 miles - Easy. This is a looped trail out of Long Lake Boat Landing. It can take 3-4 hours to complete. It is located in the backwaters, which has slower moving water than the main channel.

    Directions: From Trempealeau, WI at the intersection of Highway 35 and Fremont Street, head south on Fremont Street (Lake Road), past the railroad tracks 1.5 miles to the Long Lake Landing.

  • Brown's Marsh Canoe Area

    Red Kayak Danielle

    Brown's Marsh Canoe Area- Map Lower Pool 7

    Details: Canoe Area - No Marked Trail - Easy. This part of the river feels like you are paddling in a shallow lake. Aquatic vegetation is thick in some areas and the water can be quite shallow in places. In some places there are floating mats of vegetation that make navigation difficult.
    This is designated an Electric Motor Only area. These areas are closed year-round to all motorized vehicles and watercraft except watercraft powered by electric motors or non-motorized means.

    Directions: From Onalaska, WI take Highway 35 North , turn left onto County Road OT. Turn left onto County Road ZN, turn right onto County Road Z. Follow County Road Z to the end of the road where you can launch at Lytle’s canoe access point. This is also the parking lot for the Great River State Trail (biking/hiking).

  • Lake Onalaska Canoe Trail


    Lake Onalaska Canoe Trail Map

     Trail Details: 7 miles - Moderate. You may encounter strong currents, especially during high water events. 

    Directions: From County Road OT (intersection of 35 & OT) to Lytles Canoe Access, head west on County Rd OT toward County Rd ZM (0.5 miles).  Turn left onto County Road ZN (1.1 miles).  Turn right onto County Road Z (3.6 miles). Turn right onto Lytles Road (500 feet).

    From Upper Mississippi Refuge Visitor Center to Lytles Canoe Access
    Head northwest toward County Road Z (0.2 miles)
    Turn left onto County Road Z (3.5 miles)
    Turn right onto Lytle Road (500 feet)
  • Goose Island


    Goose Island Canoe Trail Map

    Trail Details: 7 miles - Moderate. It can take 4-5 hours to complete.You will be paddling against the current for one-half of your trip. You may encounter strong currents, especially during high water events.
    Canoes rentals available from Goose Island County Park.

    Directions: From La Crosse, WI take Highway 35 South to County Highway GI (west), the road into Goose Island County Park. The canoe trail may be accessed from any of the four boat ramps in Goose Island County Park.

  • Reno Bottoms

    Reno Bottoms_Linda_Weinmann150x118

    Reno Bottoms Canoe Trail Map   

    Trail Details: 3 miles to 14 miles - Moderate. There are 3 take-out points along the trail. However, from April to early June, Millstone and New Albin Army
    Road Landings are frequently under water. You should take out at Visger’s
    Landing during high water conditions.

    Reno to New Albin Landing 14 miles (4-8 hours) See below for description of the stretches of river. Spillway to Millstone Landing 7miles (2-4 hours) Pickerel Slough merges with the canoe trail about halfway to Millstone
    Landing. Use the map and follow the signs to make your way through the
    maze of islands and marsh.

    Millstone to Visger's Landing 3 miles (1-2 hours) During high water you will be able to paddle directly to the landing from Ice
    Haul Slough, located about 0.5 miles south of Millstone Landing. If the
    river is low, you will have to go around the islands and paddle a short distance
    upstream to the landing.

    Visger's to New Albin Army Road Landing 4 miles (1-2 hours) The trail crosses large expanses of open water. Be aware of wind conditions.

    Directions: The trail is located off Highway 26, just east of Reno, Minnesota. Be prepared to carry your gear from the parking lot, across the railroad tracks, down to the launch site on the south side of Lock and Dam 8 spillway. 

    Photo to the left by:  Linda Weinmann

  • Blue Heron Canoe Trail


    Directions to Blue Heron Canoe Trail:  The trail head is located east of New Albin, Iowa.  From Highway 26, head east on Ross Avenue, turn right (south) on Main Street, turn left (east) on Elm Street.  Elm Street becomes Army Road.  Follow Army Road to the New Albin Boat Landing.  Blackhawk Park is in Wisconsin offering a lunch/take out point near the in the halfway point of the trail  To use Blackhawk Park Landing, head west from Highway 35 on County Road BI.  The trail is posted to Big Slough Landing near Lansing, Iowa.

    There are 2 launch/take-out points along the trail.  However, from April to early June, Army Road is frequently under water.  If flooded, you should consider launching from Blackhawk Park.

    Section:  New Albin Landing to Blackhawk Park is a 3 mile trail and usually take 1-2 hours.  This is considered a moderate skill level canoe trail through Minnesota Slough to Lost Channel, crossing the Main Channel on to Blackhaw Park boat ramp.

    Section:  Blackhawk Park to Big Slough Landing is a 7 mile trail and usually takes 3-5 hours. Blackhawk Park to Big Slough landing crosses the main channel.  Follow the signs to make your way through the maze of islands and marshes.

    New Albin to Big Slough Landing is a 10 mile trail and usually takes 5-7 hours.  This trail bypasses crossing over the main channel to Blackhawk Park.  


  • Ambrough (Ambro) Slough Canoe Area


    Ambrough (Ambro) Slough Canoe Area- Map Upper Pool 10

    Details: Canoe Area - no marked trail - Easy. A quiet backwater area to paddle around.

    Directions: From Prairie du Chien, WIsconsin head north on WI-35/Great River Road, turn left onto County Road K, take the first right toward Ambro Road.

  • Johnson Slough


    Johnson Slough Canoe Trail Map

    Trail Details: 6.1 miles Moderate. You will paddle against the current for half of this trail. The trail follows the edge of the main channel for approximately 3 miles.

    Directions: From McGregor, Iowa take Hwy 18 south to County Road X56, turn left into the Sny Magill Unit of Effigy Mounds National Park and follow to Sny Magill River access.

  • Wyalusing State Park Canoe Area


    The Wyalusing State Park canoe trail has been changed to the Wyalusing Canoe Area.  The 9 mile canoe trail has been abandoned.  There is a section that is posted to the north and south but when paddlers approach the main channel there are big stop signs instructing paddlers to turn around.  

    The Canoe area is in the backwaters of the Refuge.  Access is from the Wyalusing State Park.

    Bring your own canoe or kayak or rent them from the Cconcession Stand in the Peterson Shelter in the Wisconsin Ridge Campground in Wyalusing State Park.   

    Directions: From Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, head south on US Highway 18 and State Highway 35, turn west on County Road C just south of the Wisconsin River bridge. Turn right on County Road X and go one mile to the park entrance, follow signs to boat landing.

  • Spring Lake Canoe Area


    Spring Lake Canoe Area- Map Lower Pool 13

    Details:  Canoe area no marked trail. No Public Access from October 1st to the end of the State waterfowl season.

    Directions:  From Savanna, IL head south on Route 84 approximately 7 miles, parking at observation area.

  • Rock Creek Canoe Loop


    Rock Creek Canoe Loop- Map Upper Pool 14Lower Pool 14

    Trail Details: -  5.3 miles - Easy.  This is a marked looped trail. 

    Directions: From Camanche, Iowa take HWY 67 south to Rock Creek County Park. 

  • Lost Lake Canoe Loop


    Lost Lake Canoe Loop- Map Lower Pool 14

    Trail Details: 2.9 miles Easy. This marked trail is part of the Rock Creek Canoe Trail.

    Directions: From Camache, Iowa take HWY 67 south to Rock Creek County Park.

  • Wapsipinicon River Canoe Trail


    Wapsipinicon River Canoe Trail- Map Lower Pool 14

    Trail details: 10 miles - Experienced Canoers. This is a one way marked trail trip. Launch on Hwy 67 paddle down the Wapsipinicon River and head north on the Mississippi River into the Rock Creek Canoe Loop.

    Directions: From Princeton, Iowa head north on HWY 67. There is an access to the Wapsipinicon River off of Hwy 67.

Last Updated: Jul 26, 2016
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