Purchasing kayaks was something that my husband I have wanted to do for the longest time. When we moved to Council Bluffs and realized there were so many paddling opportunities around, we finally convinced ourselves to buy them!

Every Sunday for the last five weeks we have traveled down portions of the West Nishnabotna Water Trail. We tried it once and keep coming back for more! Floating down the lazy meandering water trail is one of our favorite ways to spend a day off.

Whenever we go out, we are sure to pack our sunscreen, water, waterproof shoes, life jackets, and binoculars! We like to be out on the water in the mornings for an extra peaceful experience.

We normally put our kayaks in at Chautauqua City Park in Oakland, Iowa, and finish off at Milestone City Park in Carson, Iowa. We take our sweet time and this leg of the trail typically takes us three hours to complete. On windy days it becomes a much more difficult trip, so we suggest checking the weather report before heading out.

We enjoy stopping at a sandbar every hour or so to stretch our legs and take in the views. Our favorite part of the journey is watching all of the wildlife around us. We frequently see bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, blue herons, great horned owls, muskrats, and deer. The last few times we were out, we have seen two juvenile bald eagles in the same spot!

We suggest this water trail for paddlers and floaters of all comfort levels. The West Nishnabotna is somewhat of a hidden gem and offers a unique view of rural Pottawattamie County. If you are needing a tube, canoe, or kayak, you can rent them from Rubber Duck Outfitters located at the boat ramp at Botna Bend Park in Hancock, Iowa.

For more information about the trail, check out WattaWayIA. Here you can find a map of the trail, entry points, and safety information.

This post was originally published on July 13, 2020 on the Unleash Council Bluffs blog.