|Upper or Lower Section (includes shuttle)|
|Shuttle, private boat, upper||$23|
|Shuttle, private boat, lower||$18|
|Upper and Lower Section (includes shuttle)|
|Shuttle, private boat||$25|
The upper section behaves like a younger sibling; smaller, distracted, and less tamed. The river bends and lurches like an impatient child, flowing around an exposed gravel bar island, discarded like a forgotten toy. Low blus checkered with forest and plains are interspersed with high, eroded clis weathered into sculpted poses along the banks. Apart from the sounds of water gurgling down various ries, the breeze swaying through the trees, and the birds songs and calls, all is quiet.
While shorter, this section can be more technical, especially at higher water levels, due to narrower stretches and greater possibility of downed trees or other strainers. Previous paddling experience suggested when levels exceed three feet.
Launch the canoes or kayaks at Kinney’s Ford Canoe Access and wind through the river to Kennekuk County Park, approximately 5.5 miles. Shuttle busses will pick you up and return you to Kickapoo adventures; some waiting time is expected.
The lower section is where the Middle Fork earns its reputation. The forested valleys deepen, the clis tower higher, the river broadens with forces that have carved channels through the shale formations for millennia roil in small waves that shoots your watercraft downstream. With the wider banks, longer stretches and fewer obstacles, this section makes an excellent choice for large group outings. Canoes and kayaks are perfect choices for a long remember excursion.
The trip launches from Kennekuk County canoe access ramp (alternate launch site is Bunker Hill canoe access, to be determined by Kickapoo Adventures). It nishes near Kickapoo Adventures store and vehicle parking.
The 8.3 mile section can be shortened by 1.5 miles if you land at the Sportsmans Lake tube access point (on right side of river). Carry the canoe or kayak through the path to the road; a shuttle will transport you back to Kickapoo Adventures
Make your day an adventure! Paddle both sections of the river for a full day of memorable sights, sounds and experiences. Almost 13 miles of beautiful woods, meadows, sandbars and shale bluffs. This full day trip starts at Kinney’s Ford and finishes at Kickapoo State Park.
When the Middle Fork water levels drop too low, we head to deeper water. Downstream, beyond the mai of the Salt Fork and Middle Fork, the river levels allow paddlers to enjoy a relaxing 3 hour river trip.
The Salt Fork/Vermilion River is broader. Its shallow, sandy bottom provides clear visibility and the temptation to hop out onto its many sand and gravel bars. At the low water levels when we schedule this trip, the current shifts into sightseeing mode; a perfect pace for a casual paddle on a summer day.
The Salt Fork is not part of the National Scenic River, but it is enjoyable in its own right. With the vestiges of civilization few and far between, you will feel miles away from everyday life. Birds shoot out from shore, fish dart underneath, even the occasional deer may appear as a startled spectator.
This trip is a double shuttle, requiring transport to the put-in and from the take-out back to Kickapoo Adventures. The takeout requires a short paddle upstream to the pick-up site. Also, a low head dam is located a short distance from the take-out, miss the turn and you will encounter it.