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Sheyenne River in North Dakota

Trip Overview

Today we paddled a section of the Sheyenne River in North Dakota. After an exhaustive search for a river trip, this was the only river that I could find that has a shuttle service. I had called the Fort Ransom State Park several weeks before our trip from Ohio, to make sure that they still offered their shuttle service. They did offer the service, but they were unsure if the river would be down from flood stage. ND had been through it's fourth wettest spring ever recorded and their take-out was under water. Undaunted, we headed west.

We pulled into the Bjone Visitor Center and saw the object of our long trip across the plains...the Sheyenne River. We were the first customers of the season and the river had not yet been scouted for deadfall, but the river is 75-100' wide and we said that we would scout it for them.

We worked out a plan where we had the Park Manager John drive us and our car to the put-in. John was EXTREMELY helpful in getting our boats to the river and us into the boats with the minimum amount of flood mud and the car was waiting for us at the take-out when we finished the trip.

Even though it was the first week of June, it was a cool day at 55 degrees and mostly cloudy. It drizzled on us for about 1/2 the trip, but our rain jackets and PFD's kept us warm in our Dirigo 106 kayaks.

I had used the gage information from Lisbon to figure an approximation of the river flows. The summer average is 150 cfs and we were being pushed by 1600 cfs at a height of 9.5'. We mostly steered, but started to paddle a little more at the half-way point under the swinging pedestrian bridge that had suffered a lot of damage with the recent flood.

We saw a mature Bald Eagle, a Black Crowned Night Heron, Gold Finches, Belted Kingfisher and tons of Red-Winged Blackbirds.

All in all, a beautiful river, in a beautiful river valley.
A highly recommended trip!!!


Super 8 in Lisbon, but camping is available at Ransom State Park


$5 fee for Ransom State Park
Additional charge for mileage shuttle.


HWY 27 West from Lisbon North Dakota... follow the brown signs to Fort Ransom State Park.


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  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip