It’s no wonder Minneapolis translates to “water city.” With its scenic lake trails, sleepy creek routes, and mighty river paddling opportunities, this major metropolitan area is a paddler’s haven.
For urban paddling, the automatic go-to is the Chain of Lakes Loop. Just 5 minutes southwest of downtown Minneapolis is a 13-mile circuit of 4 interconnected lakes: Lake Calhoun, Lake of the Isles, Cedar Lake, and Brownie Lake. Minnehaha Creek is a sleepy waterway that meanders through south Minneapolis and even offers a short portage to the scenic Lake Nokomis.
Only a quick drive down I-394W is Lake Minnetonka. Often populated with sailboats and water skiers, there are also quieter parts of Lake Minnetonka that feature prime paddling territory.
Only 30 minutes away from downtown Minneapolis is Upper Rice Creek, a 9-mile water trail that takes you through the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Park Reserve. After a good rain, this water trail hosts a fantastic paddle for all skill levels.