My wife and I will be meeting my son and daughter-in-law in late July for a weekend on the North Iowa River and would appreciate recommendations on the best section(s)to introduce some newbies to river paddling. And we’d appreciate recommendations on campground locations in those areas. Thanks in advance.
You would be best to get a copy of Nat Hoogeveen’s book “Paddling Iowa.” I like the Kendallville to Buffton section - about 18 miles. You can camp at Kendallville, Chimney Rock, or Buffton.
Re: Upper Iowa
Upper Iowa alternative
The only problem with the wonderful Kendalville to Bluffton run is the possibility of low water in July. Keep an eye on the gauge and talk to one of the outfitters to find out how the river is paddling. If that section is too low, you could try the section below Bluffton - more water and still wonderful springs.
I prefer camping at Hruska’s campground in Bluffton. It is generally immaculate with grassy sites and nice trees. All pretty much riverside camping with water and electric available. No flush toilets though - it’s in the flood plain and has super clean portajohns. They advertise “solar” showers but I generally camp there in May and October so I haven’t been very interested . Across the river is Randy’s campground. Separate sections for riverfront camping and water/electric connections (up the hill from the river). Fun bar though!
Weekends are frequently a zoo on the UIR. Weekdays are generally lovely. Fishing is also good for trout and small mouth bass.