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Days
<1
Motors Allowed?
Yes
Difficulty
Easy / Class A
Distance
10.00 mi (16.09 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Red River of the North is a very unique river in the United States, and perhaps the world. It flows north into Lake Winnipeg, which eventually dumps into the Hudson Bay. It is located on an old lake bed of the ancient glacial Lake Agassiz. The region it flows through is called the Red River Valley. Although given that designation, the area is not lake a valley at all. It is mostly flat, and the river banks are never wider than a few hundred feet.

The river starts at the confluence of the Bois de Sioux River and the Otter Tail River in Wahpeton, North Dakota, and Breckenridge, Minnesota. It only falls 230 feet in its travels, so it doesn't have the power to cut a deep gorge like most rivers. This means the river has little ability to speed up with rising water levels. The river floods into the surrounding areas quite often, and because the current flows north, spring thaws start in the south and flow northward. As a result, the river can flood surprisingly quickly, because rivers usually don't flow toward the colder climates. 

The Forest River Kayak Dock was put in place in in 2016. It's a very handy dock for all canoes and kayakers because it allows you to load the boat up while still dry and then pull yourself along the rollers to launch. The same goes for landing, as well. The City of Fargo recently decided to put a few of these docks in key places along the river. They benefit the paddling community, and it makes for a great little excursion through town. A person needs to be cautious if they plan on rowing north with the current, however. After 10 miles from the Forest River Dock there are small dams that would be unpleasant for a paddlers to unexpectedly row over. There are three dams within city limits, and all paddlers should be aware of them.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

No

Open from

May 01 to October 01

Pros

Few people. Hiking trails. Quiet corner of the river. Great fishing.

Cons

River levels can make it dangerous. Distance between the parking lot and the dock.

Pets allowed

Allowed

Put-in location (lat, long coordinates)

46.768673676772174,-96.78452000798757

Take-out location (lat, long coordinates)

46.768673676772174,-96.78452000798757

Water Temperature

54.00 °F (12.22 °C)

Features

Family friendly
Wildlife

Trail type

There-and-back

Access

Vehicle

Typically multi-day

No

Shuttle required

No

Site characteristics: Water

River

Portage required

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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