posted on Thursday, August 13, 2020

Kayaking in the Cedar Valley

(photo by Siefken)

School is back in session, but that doesn’t mean your summer activities have to end. You can enjoy kayaking into the fall and the Labor Day weekend is a great time to enjoy time on the water in the Cedar Valley.

Looking for a place to start? The following businesses and organizations can help you find what you need.

Cook's Outdoors
1910 Center Street, Cedar Falls

At Cook’s Outdoors, you can buy live bait, tackle, boats and motors, kayaks, paddleboards and outdoor supplies. You can also rent 1-person and 2-person kayaks. Just reserve what you need online, pay at Cook’s Outdoors and then head to Big Woods Lake just a couple miles away to pick up your kayak.

Crawdaddy Outdoors
207 E. Bremer Avenue, Waverly

Crawdaddy Outdoors rents a variety of single and tandem kayaks and paddles. During a normal summer they offer Kayak Demo Days, river floats and kayaking trips. Visit them online for information about rentals and their guide service.

Hartman Reserve Nature Center
Big Woods Lake, Cedar Falls

Hartman Reserve offers a variety of activities throughout the summer and fall. Visit MyCountyParks.com to find the events taking place this fall, both on and off the water.

Maxx Rentals
George Wyth State Park

At Maxx Rentals, you’ll find pedal boats, lake tubes, kayaks, canoes, river tubes and paddleboards for rent. You can even rent a Maxx Mat. They’re open daily from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm when the weather is nice. Their location is easy to find on the beach and they have a small shop for purchasing snacks.  Ask them about guided tours, SUP yoga and LED night tours.

UNI Wellness & Recreation Center
WRC 174, on the Campus of the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls

Outdoor Recreation Services offers a variety of equipment for rent including canoes, canoe trailers, kayaks, and paddleboards as well as tents, packs and bags, snowshoes and cross-country skis.  


Need a map? Pick up a Cedar Valley Trails & Recreation Guide at the Cedar Falls Visitor Center. A map of hard-surfaced trails in the Cedar Valley (more than 100 miles) is on one side and the opposite side features our water trails, including the Cedar Valley Paddlers Trail. The map is also available at area kiosks including the Behrens Rapp Station on 1st Street, the Cedar Falls Public Library, Scratch Cupcakery, the UNI Book Store and area hotels.

Additional Resources

The Iowa DNR is also an excellent resource for kayakers who are getting their feet wet. Their website features sections about how and where to paddle as well as information about how to paddle safely.

Locally, Cedar Valley Water Trails provides paddling information about Cedar Falls, Waterloo, Evansdale, Hudson, Janesville and Gilbertville.  


Want to find more Things to Do, Places to Stay or Places to Eat & Drink? Contact the Cedar Falls Visitor Center at 6510 Hudson Road or give us a call at 800-845-1955.

We’d be happy to help!  

(photo by Siefken)

Kayaking in the Cedar Valley

Subscribe To Our Blog