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I like to start out at the parking lot of Thomas Park in Marion and then select a take out at any one of several easy locations depending on how much time I have that day. It helps if you have a partner so you can leave one vehicle at the start and one at the end of the trip. (ex: to 32nd st bridge is 1 1/2 hrs, to East Post rd is 3-4 hrs, to Indian Creek Nature Center is 5 hrs) You can even keep going past the nature center and into the Cedar River, that trip should take you 7-8 hours. Keep in mind that I by no means hurry down this creek, so your time may be different.
This creek's paddle-worthiness is pretty much dependent on how much rain we get. It's definitely not going to get you anywhere in the fall, but this creek should not be missed in the spring and early summer!
From the seat of your kayak you will hardly ever see a car, just a few houses and a lot of pretty scenery, not bad for winding right through town. Wildlife that I've seen on this trip include deer, owls, lots of ducks, heron, beaver and even an occasional bald eagle. You can even pull out some good sized small-mouth bass! (I wouldn't eat them though...)
There is one obstacle to be aware of here. There is a dam and small falls in the middle of the golf course just past the 32nd St bridge, but it's very easy to get around it.
Anyway, take the trip and you won't regret it. Spread the word too, the more people that are aware of this resource, the more can help keep it clean and usable.
URCHIN Portable Anchor
Free Standing Boat Racks