Sandstone, Minnesota is located half way between Duluth and the Twin Cities, just off interstate highway 35. Robinson Quarry is on the west bank of the Kettle river, take Main Street into town, turn right on 3rd st. (highway 123) Just before the Kettle River, turn left on Old Wagon Road.
The white-water section of the Kettle River is three miles long from the put in spot in Banning State Park to the next take out in Robinson park. Access to Banning Park requires a state park sticker, paddlers can avoid the entrance charge by using the highway 23 bridge access, adding a half mile of of flat water to the start.
Depending on water levels the rapids on the river rate between class II and class III, all rapids are scoutable and portagable on river left.
The fun starts as soon as you get in your boat, the first set of rapids are just a hundred yards from the put in. Blueberry slide is a long set of waves; except at the highest water, the easiest path is river left.
With little break the river tumbles over the Teacher and Teacher's pet. The rapids continue, but do let up a bit when the river flows over Mother's Delight.
The next big river obstacle is the Dragon's Tooth, at high water it forms a big whole just right of the middle of the river. Little Banning Rapids follows before a short break in the river. The river once again narrows to form the Hell's Gate.
Paddle a mile of flat water before the take out at Robinson Park in Sandstone, MN. One last rapids at the old dam as the Kettle drops over a couple small ledges.
The main play areas on the river are at Blueberry Slide, Teachers Pet and at hell's Gate. Average time to make a straight run through this section of the river is 45 minutes
The Kettle River was designated "Wild and Scenic" in 1975, it's beautiful and a lot of fun.
The city of Sandstone will be allowing camping in Robinson Quarry Park on the weekend of the Paddling Festival. Plenty of room for everyone.
Banning State Park has camping for a small fee. Learn more at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/banning/index.html
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