Reviews of SE MN Paddling Guides
If you paddle in SE MN, there are several guidebooks available. Paddling Minnesota should be on your bookshelf, and you should bookmark the Minnesota DNR Watertrails website (http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/watertrails/index.html) as well the DNR Cooperative Stream Gages website https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/waters/csg/index.html . Though out of print, Paddling Southern Minnesota is also a great reference.
Paddling Minnesota is a book first published in 1999 and updated in 2016. Written by Greg Breining it's latest version has an unfortunate picture of a poorly trimmed canoe on the cover. I'd rate the 1999 version 4 stars while 7 reviewers on Amazon also averaged 4 stars for the originally published version and 10 Amazon reviewers gave the later version 5 stars. The 1999 version describes 125 routes on 46 rivers and lakes. It has a thorough introduction and an especially good description of skill levels. Each route description begins with a table readily showing the length of the route, the difficulty, where the water level can be found, etc. It includes some popular BWCA routes but is not a substitute for Beymer's BWCA guides. Don't judge this book by its cover. Recommended.
Paddling Southern Minnesota was first published in 2005 and is now out of print. Written by Lynn and Robert Diebel, I'd rate it 4 stars while 11 reviewers on Amazon averaged 4.5 stars. It describes 83 routes on 34 rivers and lakes. It has a thorough introduction and an especially good discussion of riparian property rights in Minnesota. The appendix provides a list of suggested routes based on difficulty and length to let you quickly choose a route. Recommended.
Canoeing the Driftless was published in 2004. I'd rate it 2 stars while 3 reviewers on Amazon averaged 2.5 stars. It describes 42 routes on 7 rivers. It's introduction is pretty sparse but includes a description of the unique geological characteristics of the driftless area. It's information is dated, particularly it's maps. Some routes are described as safe because they are 'DNR maintained' but the DNR hasn't maintained waterways for many years. It describes a few routes in SE MN not described in other guides, but those routes are also popular with downed trees, cows, and the occasional fence. It's primary use is a list of put-ins and takeouts. Not recommended.
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