A good river to canoe for a week??

-- Last Updated: Aug-31-09 10:20 PM EST --

I have 8 days off starting next saturday, and am looking for a good river in Iowa to canoe that currently has descent water levels. originally planned on the upper iowa river but water levels seem to be a bit low. Thanks much for any help.
danny d

James River in Virginia

– Last Updated: Aug-31-09 7:38 PM EST –

Plenty of water in the piedmont sections from the Blue Ridge Mountains to Richmond, or you can go from Richmond to Hampton Roads. There are a couple of trip reports on the internet about such sojourns. You can camp at several VA Dept of Game and Inland Fisheries locations along the way or primitive camp on islands. They are usually located about a day's easy paddle from each other.

Just ran the Niobrara in north Nebraska.
If you find it is still getting 550+ at the Sparks gauge, it offers 32 miles of excellent scenery. There ARE a few serious rapids, but the hardest can be portaged.

You could also consider the St. Croix on the WI/MN border, if you haven’t done it already.

The SE Iowa rivers have been rather high lately, unlike the upper Iowa. I took a look at them on the way back to GA, but I didn’t care for the chocolate brown water and the snaggy banks.

rivers in Iowa are low now because the corn and soybean fields are absorbing so much of the rainfall and not much gets out through the drainage tiles. Just plan on slow going and maybe some walking in the river bed.

Rivers in Iowa are all legally navigable even if you need to walk in the shallow water.

The nice thing about iowa is the many bridges and places to get in and out.

Good luck!

Low in the west maybe, but SE Iowa

– Last Updated: Sep-01-09 12:31 AM EST –

got socked with flooding last week. Check out the picture in this link.


river gages
Might go to the American Whitewater site and check out river flows for yourself:


Bill H.

Might use the wider USGS set, because

– Last Updated: Sep-01-09 12:49 PM EST –

American Whitewater, obviously, mainly lists river sections with whitewater. And I find that AW often lists rivers as "runnable" when they are dirt low. The USGS site, obviously, makes no recommendations about runnable levels.