Kayakers on the Kettle River in
Banning State Park
is a tributary of the St. Croix River, about
80 mi (130 km) long, in eastern Minnesota in the United States.
Kettle River during low water
Via the St. Croix River, it is part of the
of the Mississippi River
. The river's English
name is due to the large number of large rounded holes (kettles) in
the sandstone in and around the river, carved out by the swirling
waters of the river. The river's native name Akiko-ziibi
comes from the Anishinaabe
Throughout the course of the river, the waters of the Kettle have
an amber tint. This tint comes from tannins
(leaf colorings) from wetlands which drain into the river, rather
than manmade causes.
The Kettle's flow changes fairly quickly with rainfall in the area
of drainage, which is about . It is not uncommon for the river to
be reduced to a trickle during dry summer spells, and rise to a
whitewater torrent after a few days of rain. Normal water flows
vary seasonally from 200 to over 6000 ft³/min (0.09 to 2.8 m³/s).
Check the USGS Water Gauge
for current flows before you
Very deep sections of the river exist, with some pools reaching
over 100 feet (30 m) in depth. The astounding depth of the river
and general good water quality support a population of the ancient
. The record largest fish ever caught in the
state of Minnesota, was a 70 inch (1.8 m), 94 pound 4 oz (42.8 kg)
Sturgeon caught in the Kettle river in 1994.
Sections of river
section of the river (above Banning State Park) is generally quick moving with frequent riffles
and a few class I rapids.
This section of the river is
runnable when water levels are moderate to high (900
river flows to Banning State
Park, its character quickly changes as the river drops
through a series of rapids ranging from class I to class IV.
This rapids are easily runnable in an open canoe when water levels
are low to moderate(600 to 900 ft³/min), but can become dangerous
to even experienced whitewater kayakers and rafters during very
high water (4,500 ft³/min). The steep rocky sides to the river, and
undercut banks and kettles can make a rescue very difficult in
Shortly after exiting the park, the river quiets significantly
before Big Spring Falls. The falls was recreated when a dam built
in 1908 was removed in 1995 to help restore the river. The removal
of the dam has allowed the sturgeon a greater range on the river.
There is also a small picnic area next to the falls, and a bit of a
rough portage down to the water.
From the falls to the confluence of the St. Croix, the Kettle
continues to drop at a moderate rate with frequent riffles and
occasional class I rapids. The rapids increase in frequency, but
not intensity as the river approaches the St. Croix. This last
section of the river is some of the best canoeing available in the
state with manageable rapids, good fishing, frequently wildlife
sightings (including bears) and absence of other people.
flows into the St. Croix River 10 mi (16 km) east-northeast of
headwaters the river collects the West Branch Kettle
River, which flows southeastwardly from its source near
Other tributaries include the Dead
Rivers, which join the Kettle in Carlton County, and the
Rivers, which join it in Pine
County.Wolf Creek, in Banning State Park, drops over a twelve foot
water falls just before it enters into the Kettle River.
River Paddle Festival
- Breinin, Greg (2005). Paddling Minnesota. ISBN
- Columbia Gazetteer of North America entry
- Waters, Thomas F. (1977). The Streams and Rivers of
Minnesota. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN