Kayaking and Biking – A Guide to Kayak Bike Trail Adventures in National Parks

Kayaking and Biking A Guide to Kayak Bike Trail Adventures

Cycling and kayaking offer great opportunities to find your rhythm, whether on roads, mountains or flat paths. Both activities can also provide great enjoyment when shared with others.

Lea has been with Wilderness Voyageurs since 2015 and enjoys sharing Ohiopyle’s history and stories with her guests!

Getting Started

Kayaks offer an effortless way to explore the water in peace and tranquility, perfect for relaxation and tranquility. Easy for people of all ages, kayaks can also be combined with bike riding for added perspectives in parks across Canada. Here are a few tips to get your kayak journey underway:

Select the Appropriate Body of Water When starting out kayaking it is key to find an environment which matches your skill level. Consider lakes or ponds with not too shallow waters and gentle-sloping shorelines such as lakes with natural contours such as gently-sloping shorelines over steep, mucky or rocky ones as these will make navigation much simpler. It is also beneficial to find an area free from powerboat traffic as this will facilitate easier paddling experiences.

Beginners looking to kayak should rent from an on-the-water outfitter as this will give them access to all necessary equipment in one package, making starting easier. Or you could join a tour or introductory class, which often include boat and gear rental as well as instruction on kayaking fundamentals.

Before setting out, check the weather. Paddling into a windy day will require extra effort; particularly if you’re new to paddling against it. To minimize resistance on your return journey, plan a paddle day when there is a tailwind – less fighting against is often easier!

Be sure to wear a life jacket and bring plenty of water for yourself and any passengers onboard your kayak. Since waterways tend to collect garbage, bringing along a trash bag could be beneficial too. Furthermore, having a bailer or bilge pump on hand in case your kayak becomes submerged can also come in handy.

After kayaking, load up your bikes back on your car and head approximately 14 miles northwest. At this point, you’ll reach the 400 State Bike Trail; an exciting rails-to-trails adventure that stretches between Reedsburg and Elroy in Wisconsin and offers similar ecosystems such as wetlands, prairies and driftless areas as those found along Kickapoo River Trail.


Your kayaking equipment requirements depend entirely on your individual kayaking program and goals; from the bare minimum to an entire arsenal of cool gear and accessories. At its core, basic kayaking gear typically consists of a kayak and paddle, life jacket, waterproof bag to keep belongings dry, water shoes or sandals and GPS units for navigation, lightweight lithium batteries to power lights and electronics, carbon fiber anything (because it looks cool!) as well as kayak-specific drysuits designed specifically to fit well on the water.

Kayaks come in all shapes and sizes to fit individual needs. Touring kayaks feature longer length (to enhance stability and glide) compared to recreational models; hybrid and playboat models are shorter and more maneuverable, and new designs even enable kayakers to carry them like backpacks for easier transport and storage.

Whitewater kayaking requires more gear than recreational kayaking, including a spraydeck to assist with entry and exit in rough waters and buoyancy aid for those who may struggle with staying afloat. Newcomers on flat or slow moving water may forego using one until they’ve paddled enough time and practiced capsize drill.

Bicycles also come equipped with their own transport solutions: there are bicycle racks designed to fit onto vehicles and transport bikes easily; you may also find folding models designed to easily store away in trunks or back seats of cars. When selecting your bike, be sure to consider its transportation methods, particularly whether or not a rack will be necessary.

Kayaking and biking are great ways to enjoy the great outdoors while exercising your body and taking in stunning scenery. Even better? Both activities are accessible to people of all fitness levels and conditions – so grab your gear, load up the car, and head out!


Kayaking is an enjoyable pastime enjoyed by millions of Americans every year. While the seclusion of still lakes, sleepy oceans or serene rivers is tempting, kayaking comes with its own set of risks; approximately 250 accidents happen annually in the US alone with only a fraction resulting in serious injury or even death.

There are a number of measures you can take to reduce risks on your kayaking trip and stay safe, and avoid injuries. Of particular note is always wearing a life jacket while paddling – this will keep you afloat if you fall out, and may save your life should an unconsciousness occur. Furthermore, always inform someone of your plans prior to heading out; regardless of experience or comfort levels on water. Tell a trusted family or friend where and when your journey will begin.

Attention should also be paid to the conditions of the kayaking area you are paddling in. Be alert for changes, such as strainers or undercut rocks appearing, that indicate a river or ocean may be altering in some way, including strainers (branches or debris that protrudes above the surface of water that can upend your kayak), undercut rocks and current/tides as these could quickly overpower it if strong enough.

Finally, it is crucial that kayakers refrain from using electronic devices while kayaking. Not only will this increase safety but it will also deepen your enjoyment. Few things compare with watching clouds drift across a clear blue sky or watching fog lift off an ocean’s shores; listening to birds chirp, frogs croak, waves crash against shorelines; experiencing nature instead of staring at screens all day.


National parks provide numerous ways for outdoor enthusiasts to experience nature. Hiking is always popular, while kayaking and cycling provide unique perspectives of nature while still getting great exercise. By including these activities on your next national park adventure, you can experience all manner of outdoor pursuits without sharing narrow trails with hundreds of others from homebound origin.

Start exploring with the National Park Service’s network of paved bike paths as an effective means of taking in sights while avoiding traffic on more popular hiking trails. Plus, these bike trails allow visitors to access more remote parts of the park!

Yhara River Trail in Wisconsin’s Upper Peninsula offers another fantastic ride: this rails-to-trails trail spans 22 miles between Reedsburg and Elroy and features beautiful wetlands, prairies and even driftless landscapes along its path. Easy for anyone to access from Reedsburg off Interstate 94 exit WI131 – start here for an enjoyable journey.

Once your kayaks have been collected from Riverside Drive Park’s dam, take an easy bike ride over to NAUTI NORSKE’s Tavern for an exquisite meal and Norwegian cocktail to commemorate a successful day on the water. This will provide the perfect opportunity to wind down from paddling and biking!

The 5-1/2 mile canoe trail immerses you deep in the refuge, providing access to many of its elements that make it so beautiful – including wet prairies, sawgrass marshes and even “tree islands” of peat on which trees have taken root. It offers an incredible way to take in its breathtaking landscape from an entirely new viewpoint; something not easily experienced from driving or walking alone on shore. Especially on weekends this trail can become popular; be sure to allow enough time for this activity.