Rules & Guidelines

For Your Safety

The Chisago Lakes Water Trail was created to be shared by local residents and visitors to this suburban area. While on the trail, watch for boats in summer (and snowmobiles in winter). Paddlers need to be prepared mentally and physically to deal with unexpected weather conditions, and should possess the paddling skills necessary to assure their own safety and that of others. Lake winds – especially on the larger lakes – can pick up unexpectedly and create large waves, the power of which should not be underestimated. Please monitor local weather conditions before setting out on the water. The following rules and guidelines will keep everyone safe on the water trail.

  • Always wear an appropriately sized and fitted U.S. Coast Guard approved personal floatation device;
  • Be familiar with dangers of hypothermia and dress appropriately for possible cold water and weather;
  • Seek instruction and practice kayak, canoe, and paddle board skills, including rescues, before paddling on Chisago Lakes;
  • Always let someone know where you are going and when you are expected to return;
  • Know the skill level of other paddlers in your group. Discuss safety issues before leaving shore;
  • Pay attention to motorized boat (and winter snowmobile traffic) while on the lakes;
  • To prevent a collision, there must be a bright white light on board each kayak, canoe, or paddle board after sunset;
  • Carry a light, especially if using the lakes after dark in winter;
  • Learn how to use maps and a compass for navigation before setting out on the lake;
  • Anticipate changes in weather, wind, waves and snow by monitoring a weather or marine VHF radio, staying aware, and using common sense;
  • This trail map is not adequate for sole use as a navigational aid. USGS topographic maps and NOAA charts of the Chisago Lakes Area can be obtained from a variety of sources, including kayaking or camping gear retailers.
  • All watercraft (including non-motorized canoes and kayaks longer than 9 ft.) must be registered in Minnesota or the state of residence.
  • Plan each trip and daily travel distances in relation to experience, fitness, and an average kayaking/canoeing/skiing speed of 2-3 mph;
  • Bring kayak/canoe wheels for portages;

Drinking Water

Drinking water is not provided at the campsites. Be prepared to treat all water from the lakes. Bring your own water or buy water in any of the downtown areas along the way.