Interested in canoeing or kayaking down Indiana’s White River? We recently took a paddle trip along a 7-mile stretch of the river’s west branch. Here we tell you which canoe & kayak rental we chose, what you will likely see, and what to pack so that you can enjoy your time paddling down the river.
Do you have a bucket list? While cliche, we here at Road Trip Seven have an ever-growing bucket list of all the outdoor adventures we would love to take. Most of these adventures require advanced planning and significant cost. So, while we wait to check off our bigger bucket list items, you can usually find us enjoying easier, more affordable outdoor activities right here at home. It’s our Indiana Bucket List, so to speak.
One item on our Indiana Bucket List is taking a canoe float trip. Growing up in Southern Indiana, I did quite a bit of canoeing. But it’s been nearly two decades since I last canoed. And the kids have never been canoeing! So a few weeks ago, the older boys and I spent the afternoon canoeing Indiana’s White River.
For this adventure, we chose to rent our canoe from Canoe Country. Located less than an hour from our home, Canoe Country has great ratings as a paddle outfitter; they also rent kayaks and tubes in addition to canoes. Additionally, they offer a variety of float trip options from various launch points north of their livery in Daleville, IN. They run shuttles from their livery to the upstream launch points regularly throughout the day (on weekends). You can arrive at any time and begin canoeing or kayaking the White River within ~30 minutes. If you’re more of a planner, you can make a reservation for a canoe, kayak or tubes at a specific time online.
We chose to paddle a 7-mile stretch of the White River. Launching from Yorktown, Indiana, we paddled (or simply floated) approximately 3 hours downstream to Daleville.
The White River runs hundreds of miles through Central Indiana, including the heart of Indianapolis. However, we were pleasantly surprised at the lack of development along stretch of the river that we paddled. For the majority of our trip, we were surrounded by trees lining both sides of the river. At a few points, we floated past some evidence of civilization, such as the train trestle show below. But by and large, this was the extent of development along the river.
As we canoed downstream, I asked the boys why they thought the river had been named the “white” river, considering that the water generally appeared a greenish-brown color due the reflection of the surrounding vegetation. They guessed that the river was named after it’s appearance when sunlight reflects off of the water, creating a sparkling white effect. Research revealed, though, that the name came from the Miami tribe’s name for the river. They called the river Wapahani, which means “white sands”
Dress Appropriately. Due to the nature of paddling in a canoe or kayak, you are likely to get some water in your boat from dripping paddles, soggy shoes, etc. As a result, you will get wet. It’s best to wear swimwear or quick-dry clothing while paddling. We also recommend putting any incidentals, such as your phone or extra clothing, in a dry bag. We neglected to do so and by the end of our trip, our backpack was quite water-logged.
Take A Cooler. While we packed plenty of water and snacks, we did not bring a cooler. By the mid-point of our trip, our drinks and food were rather hot. Packing a small cooler will easily solve this issue.
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