Iowa’s newest water trail will be officially designated during a ceremony beginning at 1 p.m., Oct. 8, at the Hickory Ridge Paddles Primitive Camp shelter house on a cove south of the Whitebreast Recreation Area on Lake Red Rock. This is Iowa’s 17th designated water trail.
The 36-mile Lake Red Rock water trail loop can be paddled in its entirety or in shorter sections. Paddling around Lake Red Rock offers views of eagles’ nests, a sea cave, beautiful rocky cliffs and bluffs and a variety of waterfowl.
The activities include an official designation ceremony at 1 p.m. with an option to hike-in to the shelter and camp or join a group that will paddling to Hickory Ridge from the Whitebreast Bay access to attend the ceremony. If paddling to the ceremony, the group will depart at 11 a.m. from the access. There is plenty of secure parking.
Lifejackets and wetsuits will be mandatory if paddling with the group and there will be a safety talk prior to paddling. There will be an option for night paddling as well, so proper navigation lights will also be mandatory. And remember; never paddle alone on Lake Red Rock.
Following the ceremony, there will be an option for additional paddling and exploring the lake, if the weather conditions and wind allow. After paddling, there will be an informal bring your own food, water and dishware cookout at Hickory Ridge.
A few coolers will be provided if paddling in from Whitebreast Bay. A camp and cook fire will be provided. Camping at Hickory Ridge Saturday night is also an option.
All paddlers will need to supply their own boats and gear, as well as transportation and needed shuttles. Shuttles are not needed if starting and ending at Whitebreast Bay.
Members of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Red Rock Lake Association and the US Army Corps of Engineers will speak at the ceremony.
The Iowa DNR’s Rivers and Water Trails Program provided $33,000 in grant assistance and the water trails conservation crew designed and constructed the landing beach, trails and campsites at Hickory Ridge.
Paddling on the lake can be challenging and weather can change quickly. Wind can be a factor and paddlers need to have a variety of skills to enjoy it safely. During cool weather, wetsuits should be worn and paddlers should possess self rescue skills.
The ceremony and all events surrounding the designation are free and open to the public. For more information, call Todd Robertson, outreach coordinator for water trails at the Iowa DNR, at 515-979-9538.