Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

West canoeing: Minnesota River

  • May 11, 2012 - 2:14 PM

For Twin Citians, the idea of dipping a paddle in the Minnesota River doesn't hold great appeal: The river flows through the area lazily, dark with sediment and runoff. But the waterway stretches 332 miles from Big Stone Lake to its confluence with the Mississippi River near Fort Snelling, and there are spectacular stretches worth exploring. You'll paddle past 3 billion-year-old rock outcrops, the oldest in North America. If you're quiet, you might spot wildlife -- deer, wild turkeys, waterfowl, eagles and more.

Runner-up: Otter Tail River

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