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Turkey River - Kayak Trip / Canoe Trip

Report Type: Destination Report
Nearest City: Elkader, IA
Difficulty: Easy
Submitted by: Larry Purman


The Turkey River, the largest river in NE Iowa, starts in Howard County, and continues through Fayette and Clayton Counties and flows into the Mississippi River, below Millville. The River is approx. 120 miles long, and from Elgin to Garber has some historic landmarks and beautiful scenery to enjoy while canoeing. One of them being the Keystone bridge in Elkader and further downstream, the Motor Mill. Motor Mill is located on the Turkey River six miles down stream from Elkader. This six story structure stands approximately fifty feet wide, sixty feet long and eighty feet high with walls that are five feet thick at the bottom, tapering to two feet at the top. The river is narrow and bounded by bluffs covered with hardwood timbers and cedars. The rock-lined rivers strong current seldom falls less than 4 ft. per mile, but there are not dangerous rapids to contend with and the only major obstruction in this stretch is a concrete dam in Elkader.


There are campgrounds along the way. There is a campground in Elgin and Elkader with showers and electrical hook-ups.


Elkader is located 70 miles NE of Cedar Rapids, IA on US Highway 13.


There are several put-in points along this river, for more information contact Turkey River Canoe Rentals Inc. in Elkader, IA; 117 S. Main St. P.O. Box 885. Phone; 1-800-250-2466.

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