DNR overhauls state water trail trip planning tool

Those who enjoy canoeing, kayaking and other forms of recreation dependent on river levels can now get more and better information about current conditions from 120 real-time river-level gauges along many of Minnesota’s state water trails. Although the Department of Natural Resources has been installing and interpreting river-level gauges since 1971, the reporting service recently got some significant upgrades. 

For the most current statewide river level map—updated hourly—visit the river levels page.

Color-coded dots indicate water levels ranging from “scrapable” (so low that paddlers may have to get out of their watercraft to avoid rocks); to “very high” (where paddling is considered dangerous and not recommended).

“Since weather events can vary significantly throughout Minnesota, paddlers should always consider this tool to verify river level conditions and to make an informed decision,” said Stan Linnell, DNR boat and water safety manager.

Upgrades to the river level map include:

  • More accurate information for highly-visited water trails.
  • The addition of river-level information for the recently designated Cedar River and Shell Rock River state water trails.
  • River-level readings for a larger number of gauges.

For statewide water trail facilities map visit the water trails page.

For a list of all state water trails and maps visit the water trails page.