The Rice Creek Water Trail is a 23 mile chain of lakes along Rice Creek between Lino Lakes and the Mississippi River. Mel and I decided we wanted to canoe Lower Rice Creek, which is the portion of the water trail between Long Lake in New Brighton and the Mississippi River.
The Rice Creek Watershed District recommends that the river is “canoeable” if the water depths (measured in Mounds View) are above 8.3 feet. Today, water levels were at about 8.07 feet, technically “not canoeable.” [Note that this water depth measurement does not mean that the creek we were canoeing on was 8 feet deep. It means that somewhere else in the watershed district (wherever they take the readings) it was 8 feet. Most of the creek we saw was less than a couple feet deep.] But we decided to take our chances, and found conditions to be fantastic.
This might have been my favorite canoe trip in the metro area so far. Rice Creek seems to be moving a little bit more quickly than the Rum River, for example.
At one point, Melanie announced that she couldn’t paddle anymore because it hurt her foot too much, so I became her chauffeur. I don’t know, though… I think it might have been a trick.
I’m not gonna try and map our canoe route down Rice Creek, but here’s the approximate route I biked back to Long Lake to get the car. While we were canoeing, we noticed a lot of folks cycling along what looked like a pretty neat bike trail through Locke Park. I tried to take that trail back, but took a couple unfortunate wrong turns and got lost, so I just stuck to the streets.