Elkader Whitewater Park Info
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Welcome to Elkader and the Elkader Whitewater Park!

Founders' Park in Elkader, IA Whitewater park location - 211 S. Main Street, Elkader IA

History of the whitewater project
Elkader is a quaint town located in northeast Iowa along the Turkey River. The Turkey River, which flows through the middle of Elkader, has long been an asset to the area. A group of committed volunteers recognized that it could be even more of an asset and began discussions about the additional recreational potential of the river just prior to the 2008 flood. In the aftermath of the record setting flood, and the opportunity for redevelopment, these volunteers led the discussion to reclaim the river for recreation, education and tourism. The whitewater feature is one element that was developed. This was coupled with a better river access point and a new park, Founders' Park, adjacent to the river. The whitewater feature caters to water trail users who enjoy kayaking, boogie boarding, tubing and fishing. Visit the Turkey River Recreational Corridor for more Turkey River recreational resources.

The Whitewater Feature
The whitewater feature was built in 2013. The contractor C.J. Moyna and Sons and the engineers were, locally, MSA Professional Services, and RiverRestoration.org. The whitewater feature has three distinct features:

The Gobbler Wave
The Gobbler Wave, a 22' wide wave, is the main feature at the park operating at most of the Turkey River's normal flows ranging from 300 cfs to approximately 3000 cfs. At lower flows, it is great for front and side surfs, as well as flat spins. It also is a great learning spot with a defined eddy line and a long roll-up pool. Higher flows above 1600 cfs allow for more advanced freestyle moves including blunts, loops and cartwheels.

High-Flow Wave Structure Boulder Island
At flows below 2500 cfs, the boulders in the middle of the river provide a great resting spot for stand-up paddlers and kayakers. At flows above 3000 cfs, the island becomes submerged creating a high-flow wave that operates from approximately 3500 cfs to 5000 cfs. This provides a fantastic big water experience challenging more advanced whitewater paddlers with catch-on-the-fly waves and holes. A bomb-proof roll is required at these higher levels. All features at the park wash out above 5000 cfs with flood stage at 6060 cfs.

Fish/Canoe Passage
Designed to allow fish to pass upstream and canoes to pass downstream, the passage has also become a favorite spot for kayakers at both ends of the learning spectrum. At flows above 1300 cfs, the focused wave is a great spot for advanced kayaking moves including loops and cartwheels. At 300 cfs and above, it is also a good beginner spot for kayakers to get familiar with moving water, ferrying, and peel-outs along a focused current and small wave train.

River access
Construction should be completed on the improved river access in the Spring of 2014. This is located on the west side of the river, at the end of the shopping district on South Main Street. This river access features a long, handicap accessible walking path to the river's edge. Either slabstone or granite boulders will drop down into the river allowing easy stream access for fishing, or a seating area for picnicking or watching friends play on the whitewater feature. Finally, there will be new, safer steps that will drop directly to the river from the street. Canoers may also choose to enter the water, on the east side of the river, across from the George Maier Rural Heritage Museum.

How to find the Elkader Whitewater Park
Address: 211 S. Main St., Elkader, IA 52043
From the west (Hwy 56) (this includes the Charles City whitewater park):

  • From the west, you will be coming to Elkader via Iowa State Highway 56.
  • Hwy 56 will bring you into town and at the first 4-way stop you will turn right and follow Hwy 56/First Street two blocks.
  • Then turn left on Boardman Street.
  • At the next intersection (Boardman and Main Street) turn left.
  • Once on South Main Street, the river access will be on your right.
  • Parking is on your right one block north or immediately on your left. The downtown and all it has to offer you is straight ahead (also along Bridge and First Street) - explore!

From Highway 13: (from the north) Heading south on Hwy 13

  • After the Fast Trak convenience store, you will see signs indicating exits to Elkader.
  • The first one is for High Street NE/Industrial Park. Continue past that until you see the signs for the Downtown Historic District or the Hospital. This is Bridge Street.
  • If you use this exit, you will proceed down the hill towards downtown.
  • At the first 3-way stop intersection proceed straight.
  • Then at the next four-way stop intersection, which is Bridge and Main Street, turn left.
  • Proceed 2 1/2 blocks south.
  • After the last building on your left there is a gravel parking area.

Or:
(from the north) Heading south on Hwy 13,

  • After the Fast Trak convenience store, you will see signs indicating exits to Elkader.
  • The first one is for High Street NE/Industrial Park. Continue past that until you see the signs for the Downtown Historic District or the Hospital. This is Bridge Street. If you continue past this exit, and then past the exit for the City Park on High Street SE, then turn right at the exit marked Hwy 56/Business district.
  • Proceed on Hwy 56/First Street/Strawberry Point Road for 1/4 mile as it meanders into town.
  • The first official street on your right (not counting the one that turns into the trailer park) will be Boardman Street.
  • Turn right onto Boardman Street.
  • At the next intersection (Boardman and Main Street) turn left.
  • Once on South Main Street, the river access will be on your right.
  • Parking is on your right one block north or immediately on your left. The downtown and all it has to offer you is straight ahead (and along Bridge Street and First Street) - explore!

From the South and (once completed) from the Manchester whitewater park:
Elkader is an easy trip from Manchester north on Hwy 13.

  • Take the first "exit" to Elkader which is marked Hwy 56/Business district.
  • Proceed on Hwy 56/First Street/Strawberry Point Road for 1/4 mile as it meanders into town.
  • The first official street on your right (not counting the one that turns into the trailer park) will be Boardman Street.
  • Turn right onto Boardman Street.
  • At the next intersection (Boardman and Main Street) turn left.
  • Once on South Main Street, the river access will be on your right.
  • Parking is on your right one block north or immediately on your left. The downtown and all it has to offer you is straight ahead (also along Bridge Street and First Street) - explore!

Parking
Parking is conveniently located adjacent to and across the street from the river access point on the east side of the river.
This map shows other nearby parking
.

Want more whitewater fun?
Charles City whitewater
Manchester whitewater

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