We got a late start and were on the water at 2PM. We being me and my 2 dogs in a single seat canoe. Our trip was 9 miles total.
Right away there are some small rapids which are class 1. About halfway through the river levels off and the flow slows. The last 2 miles are on Lake Zumbro. It was a beautiful sunny day when we started but the clouds quickly took over. That didn't bother the wildlife we spotted beaver, mink, muskrats, river otters, deer, hawks and Bald Eagles there is a bald eagle nest right on the river at the 7 mile mark.
The river runs through the driftless region and has beautiful limestone cliffs once you get to the lake it is dotted with cottages. The trip took between 3 and 4 hours.
There is an outfitter Boulder Dam Canoe & Kayak next to the access. You can get your own boat shuttled for $5 per boat. If you need to rent one canoes run $35 and kayaks are $25. There are also standup paddleboard rentals on the lake. They have a porta potty at the beginning and there is one at the end of the trip but no facilities during the trip. At the end there is also a restaurant Fisherman's Inn.
Be sure to respect private property.
The canoe access is located in downtown Oronoco. 5 minutes north of Rochester, MN off Hwy. 52. 1 hour South of the Twin cities.
The MN DNR offers maps of the Zumbro River.
River/Creek (Up to Class II)