your paddlesports destination

Cedar River in Iowa

Trip Overview

It doesn't take much to talk ourselves into a quick trip to the local play hole. When the water is low we can still be found there cleaning up the area.

Flows less than 1800 cfs restrict one's choices to a side surfing hole and 2 or 3 waves. These are in the middle of the river. At higher flows another side surfing spot opens up on the north side and the other three get wilder. All of these features are created by an old low head dam. The dam is intact on the northern side and broken out on the southern side. Use caution at higher flows as the hydraulics get stickier.

From the north shore to about 60 ft. out (to a pile of rocks) we have removed the exposed rebar. The area between the rock pile and the last buttress is full of rebar. The broken out section is pretty clean but it's too swift for use to thoroughly check so beware! There are still some snags and a few large submerged boulders.


For camping there's Black Hawk Co. Park just north of Cedar Falls and George Wyth State Park east of Cedar Falls. Numerous hotels are nearby. Several really good places to eat are very close by; the Broom Factory is right on the river, Mainly Lou's and the Montage which are a couple blocks up Main St...and our main hangout is Cup of Joe's on the corner of Main & 57 where we get all our delicious tea and coffee and talk about our next mission.


Find the intersection of Hwy 57 and Main Street in Cedar Falls, IA.


Go across the river on Main Street and turn right onto Lincoln St. Proceed about 2 blocks to "A" or "B" Street and turn right. There will be a parking area next to river just above the play hole.


Stream flow data

  • Duration: Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip