Paddles lined up, ready to kayak the Big Blue River.

It’s the perfect time for outdoor adventures: so let’s go canoeing or kayaking on the Big Blue River! We’re proud to have two great route options (depending on your experience and direction you want to take) and we’ll offer some tips to keep you safe, comfortable, and having an incredible time while you’re in Knightstown. Once you’re done for the day, plan to stop by one of our local restaurants for a well-deserved meal.

Kayaking on the Big Blue River: Route Options

Are you experienced or new to kayaking? Do you have a vehicle or trailer to haul your boats or do you want someone to handle pick-ups and drop-offs with a shuttle service? Do you own your gear or would you prefer to rent? We have an option for both types of fun!

We suggest the North Route for our more experienced kayakers and those who own their gear and have methods for transportation of that gear and all members of their party. The South Route is perfect for the more recreational folks and those who want to take advantage of shuttle service through Big Blue River Rides. All the details for both routes can be found in the graphic below.

Screenshot this or print it and keep it handy!

Tips for Kayaking the Big Blue River

We want everyone who visits Knightstown to have a great time. This means educating yourself on what your day might look like when you spend it on the water. Our best advice is to prepare for the conditions you might face that day, know your personal limitations and your gear, pack everything you need, and have a safety plan in place. Read our tips and plan to visit our source sites for more information and educational resources to improve your paddling.

Safety Tips

“Don’t forget about me!” Source: Pinterest
  • Bring (and wear) a personal floatation device for everyone in your vessel – pets, too!
  • Bring a buddy who can summon help, if needed.
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.
  • Pack a first aid kit.
  • Dress for the weather.
  • Bring water.
  • Prepare for water hazards and changing depths to avoid hitting boulders.
  • Canoe and kayak sober.


  • Kayak or canoe
  • Paddle (1 per person, plus a spare if you can)
  • Personal floatation device (1 per person and pet)
  • Neoprene footwear (you’ll want something comfortable and water-friendly that will protect your feet from any sharp surfaces under the water)
  • Comfortable, weather appropriate clothing

Personal Comfort

We don’t want to overload you with things to pack – especially because kayaking the Big Blue River isn’t a huge expedition – but you’ll want to remember bring a few things for your personal comfort to make it a great experience.

  • Sun protection (in the form of sunscreen, sunglasses, and long-sleeves and hats)
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • Drybag for your clothes, phone, and other items that can’t get wet
  • Insect repellent
  • Bathroom kit for any necessary pit stops (remember to take your trash with you – even the gross stuff!)
  • Garbage bag (see above and also for snack wrappers and any litter you might come across)
  • Towels and a fresh change of clothing and shoes to be left in your car

If you’re looking for more tips and tricks to improve your experience, keep it safe, or learn more about the basics before you canoe or kayak the Big Blue River, visit these sites to dive in: EZ-Dock’s Kayaking 101,’s 3 Golden Rules of Whitewater Paddling, and REI’s How to Kayak.

About Us

We hope this article gave you more information about the things you can do when you kayak or canoe the Big Blue River! There is so much more in Knightstown for you to enjoy. Stay up to date and get more Knightstown travel tips by signing up for our monthly newsletter or following us on social media. For more articles just like this one, check out the other article on our blog. Curious about the new Hoosier Made Here branding? Go behind the scenes to learn more.