Hey everybody. We have a group of 8 guys looking to plan a kayak trip on a beginner/intermediate river in the midwest region. We are open to further travel though. We are planning on doing a 25-30+ mile trip for 3-4 days while camping along the way. Hope to include some fishing too. Most of us don’t have our own equipment, so suggestions on places that rent out kayaks would be great. Any help/suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.
I’ve seen this movie …
It doesn’t end well.
The Midwest is a big area
Can you be more specific? And what is your experience level? Kayak rentals tend to be costly for multi-day use.
If you are close enough to drive to Shawville PA (north central near Clearfield along Interstate highway I-80) you can paddle the West Branch of the Susquehanna, a moderate river through nice wooded canyons with camping along the way. It is about a 4 hour drive due east from Cleveland, Ohio.
McCrackens rents kayaks and canoes and will shuttle you and the boats wherever you want to put in and take out.
The paddlers guide for the West Branch water trail can be purchased here – really nice waterproof multiple maps with everything you need to know marked on them.
More around Missouri/Arkansas area…
but I was trying to get opinions on any other area of interest. I was researching the Buffalo National River, which seemed like a good place to go with low level rapids. All of us are beginners when it comes to kayaks, but have been in canoes for 10+ years. I appreciate your suggestions and if you have any input for areas around Missouri/Arkansas, I’m all ears.
No experience with the Ozarks or other drainages near you.
You might try posting under the "wilderness tripping" tab on the forum headings here too. I notice some others asking about midwest trips on there. Here's a link to a thread on there:
Either the Current or the Eleven Point
The Buffalo is a wonderful river for a multi-day trip, but it is pretty low right now (as it usually is in summer) and only the lowest stretches would be reasonable to paddle in my opinion. Save it for a trip at higher water.
Both the Eleven Point River and the Current River are spring fed. If you put in at the Greer Spring crossing (as high up as you will want to go at current water levels) and go down to the Narrows access at highway 142 you would have a 27.7 mile trip. The Eleven Point is pretty flat below Riverton. It has fewer gravel bars for camping than the Current but there are a number of float camps at intervals along the way. http://www.gorp.com/parks-guide/travel-ta-eleven-point-river-paddling-missouri-sidwcmdev_068923.html
The Current River would have more weekend traffic than the Eleven Point, but on weekdays it is often lightly traveled even in the summer. You could put in a Akers Ferry and go down to Round Spring (about 19 miles) or put in at Round Spring and go down to Two Rivers (18miles) or Powder Mill (a little less than 25 miles). There are longer and shorter options available as well.
You can find a number of outfitters for either river with a simple internet search. One caution: most of the kayaks I have seen available for rental are not well-suited for multi-day overnight trips because of lack of storage and carrying capacity. Canoes make more sense. An option might be to rent some kayaks and some canoes and trade off.
You could put in up at Cedar Grove or Baptist Camp and it's about 45-50 miles to Two Rivers. Better yet, go on down another 6 or 7 miles to Owl's Bend, Powder Mill access. Several places rent canoes, but small 10' SOT are the only kayaks I know of. They DO, however, rent rafts. Some could use kayaks and take turns with a couple guys paddling the raft with gear? Here's a few links. BTW, not sure if Windy's in Emminence goes all the way up to Cedar Grove, but they're really nice folks. WARNING, BEFORE OR AFTER THE TRIP DON'T RENT THE CABINS AKERS FERRY HAS, THEY'RE VERY DIRTY! Better accomodations in Emminence, Salem, or Montauk State Park.