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Wapsipinicon River in Iowa

Trip Overview

Troy Mills to Central City (12.2 miles)

We started our journey just after noon. We put in on the river left, just below Troy Mills the city, NOT the Troy Mills Wildlife Area. Starting here will save you a portage around the dam.

The water flow this day was 850 cfs and I don't recommend going on anything less than 200 cfs. Our plan was to put in at the boat ramp (river left)in Troy Mills and Take Out at Pinicon Ridge State Park (river right) covering 12.2 miles or 4-5 hours for the leisure paddler. Very easy stretch of river to paddle for the novice paddler.

My friend Mike J. joined me on this trip and though he has canoed numerous times, this was his first experience on the river in a kayak. The water level was slow moving and at times you could paddle up river almost as easy as paddling down. Lots of scenery along the river banks with very few hazards. Not much for excitement on this stretch along the lines of fast rapids or riffles. The majority of the trip is lined with rock formations and low level woods. We passed about a dozen or so cabins on this route evident from the rip rap along the river.

It was a fairly busy day on the river. We only encountered a few motor boats, this stretch is not the ideal place for a prop. We did see lots of tubers, canoers and other kayakers, which I assume had something to do with the Independence Day Festivities.


Canoe rentals and shuttles are available at Pinicon Ridge State Park (319-892-6450). Camping is available at the park with full amenities.


No fees or permits required.


City of Troy Mills. Near the intersection of Troy Mills Rd. and Coggon Rd. Shuttle route is approximately 15 miles from the put-in at Troy Mills, head south on County W45, east on county E16, north on highway 13, west on Maple St. in Central City and north into Pinicon Ridge Park.


"Paddling Iowa" by Nate Hoogeveen and Iowa Sportsman Angler

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

Locations on this Trip