Iowa might have a reputation for its expansive acres of untouched land, but the state is actually home to plenty of bustling waterways, creeks and lakes that are perfect for a number of water sports—like canoeing. Head out for an adventure on the water this winter and check out the best canoeing spots in Iowa.
Lizard Creek is one of the more adventurous canoe spots in Iowa—known for its rapids, buzzing waterways and fast-flowing waters. Lizard Creek is a 14-mile stretch that boasts three access ramps, picturesque creekside views and plenty of paddling challenges along the way. Locals recommend this spot for more experienced paddlers, though anyone can join in on the fun of adventuring on Lizard Creek’s waters.
Boone River Water Trail
If you’re looking for a truly wild ride, look no further than the Boone River Water Trail for your next water-centric adventure. This centrally located spot boasts tummy-turning drops and curves that make the canoe hotspot feel less like a natural waterway and more like a fun amusement park ride.
Upper Iowa River
While this is by no means a “hidden canoeing gem” in Iowa—after all, National Geographic actually listed the Upper Iowa River as one of NatGeo’s 100’s Greatest Adventures—it is still a can’t-miss destination in Iowa for water sports fanatics and tourists alike. Navigate the bustling waterways and catch a glimpse of Iowa’s most scenic spots in the process.
Middle River Water Trail
With limestone bluffs and untouched, waterside spots, Middle River Water Trail is a favorite canoe destination among locals, travelers and tourists alike. While the trail feels scenic, the allure of Middle River Water Trail is its central location that’s accessible regardless of where you’re staying in Iowa—the waterway is only a short distance away from metro Des Moines.