South Skunk River Water Trail

Story County is fortunate to boast a state water trail, complete with beautiful scenery and a rich history. The Skunk was formed as a major drainage for melting glaciers. Rounded cobble, large granite boulders, and gravel were left behind as the glaciers receded, and are found in and along the river. Rock riffles have been constructed at Story City, Soper's Mill, and River Valley Park. These areas of faster water provide excellent habitat for fish and aquatic insects and fun challenges for experienced paddlers. 

Story County Conservation serves as the water trail manager, but heavily relies on the support of volunteers to keep the river clean and safe. A volunteer group called the The Skunk River Paddlers leads regular workdays and maintains a website with paddling information. 

The Skunk is a "non-meandered" stream, which means the state owns the water but not the land adjacent to it or under it. 

Access Points SCC manages 8 of the 11 river access points in the county

  • 265th Street (56091 265th St., Ames 50010)
  • Anderson Access (56743 150th St., Story City 50248)
  • Askew Bridge (57887 290th St., Cambridge 50046)
  • C.J. Shreck Access (59627 Hwy 210, Cambridge 50046)
  • Lekwa Access (56156 130th St., Story City 50248)
  • Peterson Park/180th St. (17952 Templeton Rd., Ames 50010)
  • River Valley Park (725 East 13th St., Ames 50010
  • Sleepy Hollow (646 W. Riverside Rd., Ames 50010)
  • Soper's Mill (56364 170th St., Ames 50010)
  • Story City Park (Broad St., Story City 50248)
  • (South 16th St., Ames 50010) 


Fast Facts

  • Designated as a State Water Trail in 2020
  • 33 miles
  • Total of 11 access points (SCC manages 8 of them)
  • Entire trail is approximately 8 hour float without stops

View brochure & map

Skunk River water trail DNR
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