Winter Kayaking: Blue River, Indiana

canoeing in winter

Photo: Greg Von Deorsten

Canoeing in Winter on the Blue River, Indiana

Canoeing in winter can offer some of the best natural rewards. Flowing through the hardwood forests of southern Indiana’s Hill Country, the Blue—the most spring-fed of all Indiana’s streams—was the first river selected for inclusion in Indiana’s Natural and Scenic Rivers System. These same springs keep the river open in all but the coldest weather, which makes the Blue one of the favorite outings of the Hoosier elite who enjoy winter paddling.

A popular run is 14 miles from Milltown to Rothrock’s Mill, but shorter distances are possible if the weather turns sour. Aside from a few small rapids—riffles, really—it’s easy boating, allowing plenty of opportunity to watch for wildlife and enjoy the plentiful natural beauty. After your river run, check out nearby Marengo Cave, designated a National Natural Landmark in 1984 as the most highly decorated cavern in the Interior Lowlands of the U.S. Several outstanding cave tours are available, and what’s more, the subterranean temperature averages a “balmy” 54 degrees, even in winter. — LR

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