your paddlesports destination

Sheyenne River in North Dakota

Trip Overview

My wife and I were (and still are) relatively new to kayaking with the majority of our experience on flatwater lakes. Despite that, we decided to find a few places close to home we could paddle with a minimum of fuss. We found Fort Ransom State Park located just north of Fort Ransom ND offers kayak rentals and assistance with launching at 3 different locations upstream of the park. Being from the area and owning our own kayaks, we decided to have my in-laws assist us with launching and getting vehicles transported.

We launched at Little Yellowstone Park (County operated) just off ND Highway 46. We were equipped with 2 Perception Kayaks, a 10 foot Prodigy for my wife and a 12 foot Sundance for myself. The distance covered was approximately 22 miles on the river.

The park website said the normal amount of time to float this far was about 6 to 6.5 hours. At the time the current was a bit on the high side and our time was closer to 4 or 4.5 hours.

We saw multiple species of animals including turtles, eagles, hawks, and one deer that swam the river less than 20 yards ahead of us. There were a few curious cows as well.

We did not have any issues with sandbars but there were quite a few trees down in the river. We were able to make our way around all of them without problems. The only issue we ran into was that we were only able to find one place to stop and stretch during our entire time on the river. I know that right now with the higher flow due to larger upstream dam releases this sandbar would be covered.

All in all, it was a very relaxing afternoon that provided a wonderful break for us.

Accommodations:

Full hook up and primitive camping areas at both Little Yellowstone and Fort Ransom Parks. See info board at Little Yellowstone for rates and talk to Park Staff at Fort Ransom for details.

Fees:

None required other than a $5 (if I remember correctly) vehicle entry fee to get into Fort Ransom State Park. Not sure what kayak/canoe rentals or transportation costs to the upstream put-ins.

Directions:

From Fargo ND, South on I-29 to exit 48 (ND Hwy 46, Kindred ND), West approximately 60 miles to Little Yellowstone Park, Put in was between the old and new highway 46 bridges on the east side of the Sheyenne. To get to Fort Ransom State Park, Take the Scenic Byway (gravel road) 1/2 of a mile east of the river on highway 46 and follow it south to Fort Ransom State Park. There are a couple T intersections, just keep going to the right. Continue following the road to the town of Fort Ransom located 2 miles south of the park.
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip