Whether you’re a big-water buff, weekend warrior, or a flatwater fisherman, enjoyment of the outdoors is the common thread that connects us all in the paddling community.
Here are some of our favorite public places to paddle in the US of A!
Alaska – Inside Passage
The Inside Passage, especially the route between Juneau and Haines, is a popular destination for expedition sea kayaking. It’s the most common form of recreation there, but SUP touring is growing in popularity! The Inside Passage also offers incredible wildlife viewing. Read about Hala Team Rider Paul’s Clark 100-Mile Inside Passage SUP Adventure here.
California: North Fork of the American River – Confluence Run (class II-III)
This 5.5-mile stretch of river offers great scenery, thought-provoking rapids separated by sections of picturesque slow-moving water, and access to the remote class III whitewater park at China Bar.
Colorado: Browns Canyon National Monument
Hala started as an idea on the back of a napkin, sketched by wet hands at Hecla Junction. After a Brown’s Canyon run on a non-whitewater, 3” thick inflatable, Peter Hall decided: “there’s got to be a better way to do this.” In addition to being of the Arkansas River’s classic whitewater run, Brown’s Canyon also provides world-class trout fishing.
Idaho: Middle Fork Salmon River
The Middle Fork of the Salmon River is the ultimate wilderness river trip, featuring many difficult rapids, many hot springs, and truly rugged backcountry.
Maine: Kennebec Gorge Recreation Area
The Kennebec Gorge offers 12 miles of Class III & IV boating through the heart of Maine’s pristine Wilderness. With constant high flows pumping out of Harris Station dam, this area is widely used by boaters from Maine & neighboring states, and also Canadians (like Hala ambassador Giles Girard!)
Maryland: South Branch of the Patapsco River
Located in Sykesville MD, this seldom run creek is a blast to paddle and very scenic. Watch Team Rider Andy Hinton complete the first SUP descent earlier this year!
Michigan: Isle Royale National Park
Isle Royale, located in Lake Superior, is a 45 miles long and 9 miles wide island, accessible only by boat or seaplane. There are three ferry services: Grand Portage, Copper Harbor, and Houghton, which will drop you off at either Windigo Visitor center on the west side, or Rock Harbor Visitor Center on the east side. From there, you can circumnavigate the island, hike the numerous trails, or portage to one of the interior lakes. If you want a treat, you can SUP over to Moose Boulder – which becomes the largest island in the largest lake (Moose Flats, when flooded) on the largest island (Ryan Island) in the largest lake (Siskiwit Lake) on the largest island (Isle Royale) in one of the largest freshwater lake in the world (Lake Superior).
Minnesota: Boundary Water Canoe Wilderness Area, MN
This area, located on the border of Minnesota and Ontario, boasts over a million acres of wilderness, including 1,100 lakes. Most of these lakes have banned motorized vessels, making it the perfect place to portage on a SUP. Sprinkle in some rivers, streams, around 2,000 campsites, fantastic fishing, and a few waterfalls to make it a must-paddle destination. The best part: you can go days without seeing a single person. Just make sure to pick up a permit, since they only allow so many groups/people to enter per day. Hands down, the Boundary Waters are our favorite place to paddle in the Midwest.
Montana: North Fork of the Flathead River