Maquoketa River Water Trail

View of the Maquoketa River from Buzzard Ridge Wildlife Area
View of the Maquoketa River from Buzzard Ridge Wildlife Area
Davison Bridge Access
Joinerville Access
Bridgeport Access

Bridgeport Access
Iron Bridge Access
Iron Bridge Access
Spragueville Access

Damon Bridge Access
Canton Access

Paddling enthusiasts can take advantage of a well-developed and maintained river trail system along the Maquoketa River in Jackson County. There are two forks of the Maquoketa River that meander some 50 miles through the county, meeting just north of the town of Maquoketa. The river then flows another 30 miles until it reaches the Mississippi River. 

North Fork: (less developed)
  • Caven Bridge Access - located at the bridge on 60th Ave. 60th Ave is a gravel road off county road Y31.
  • Davison Bridge Access - located at the bridge on 212th Ave, about 1.5 miles east of Highway 61. 
  • Other undeveloped accesses (Ozark Bridge, Teeters Bridge, and others) occur on road right-of-ways or on private land and landowner permission should be obtained before using these. 
South Fork:
  • Canton Bridge Access - located at the bridge in the town of Canton on county road E17
  • Buzzard Ridge Canoe Stop - located in Buzzard Ridge Wildlife Area, river is accessible to hikers and paddlers. 
  • Millertown Bridge Access - located at bridge on 30th Ave, 3 miles north of Monmouth. 
  • Royertown Bridge Access - located at bridge on county road Y34, 3 miles north of Baldwin
  • Chenelworth Bridge Access - located at bridge on 82nd Ave, 3 miles NE of Baldwin
  • Morehead Canoe Access - located at bridge on 70th St, 3 miles NE of Baldwin
  • Joinerville Park - located on 123rd Ave, access from Highway 64    
Please use EXTREME CAUTION if continuing down the river to Lakehurst Dam.   

  • Lakehurst Dam - located on 173rd Ave in Maquoketa
  • Maquoketa City Access - located at N. 5th St. in Maquoketa
Maquoketa River:
  • Bridgeport Access - located at the bridge on Highway 62, 1 mile north of Maquoketa
  • Iron Bridge Access - located on county road E23Y (Iron Bridge Road), between Maquoketa and Spragueville
  • Spragueville Access - located on county road Z20, 1/2 mile north of Spragueville
  • Damon Bridge Access - located at bridge on county road Z34, 4 miles north of Preston
  • Highway 52 Access - located off 482nd Ave, just north of Green Island


You can access the Maquoketa River at numerous places throughout the county (listed above).  Jackson County Conservation has placed directional signs along roadways directing motorists.  Signs are also placed at each access with information for next access point.

See bottom of this page for Map of river with access points.


The Maquoketa River is a popular and scenic river with more to do than just paddle! 

  • Picnicking
  • Camping along the river - all primitive
    • Buzzard Ridge Access - pit toilets available
    • Joinerville Park - permit required
    • Paddle-in only camping allowed at accesses. No vehicle camping. 
  • Canoe rentals and shuttle service available from private outfitters
  • Fishing
    • Major fish species present include smallmouth bass, channel catfish 
    • Minor fish species present include crappie, white bass, walleye, Northern pike
  • Boating - concrete boat ramp at Joinerville Park, Spragueville Access, Highway 52 Access
  • Swimming

Click here for a video about the Maquoketa River Water Trail and the various accesses in Jackson County.


Operating Hours & Seasons

The Maquoketa River is open to the public year round.  Please practice safety and paddle when conditions are right. 

Before you Go... Paddling Safe

  • Wear It!  Life jackets only work if you are wearing them.  When selecting a life jacket make sure it fits properly, you are using it for its recommended use and it is U.S. Coast Guard approved. 
  • Know Before You Go!  Know the waters you plan to float and check the weather. Let others know about your float trip by leaving behind a float plan.
  • Pay Attention! It's important to be aware of your surroundings, especially if you encounter powerboats. STAY ALERT and be ready to move out of danger. STAY VISIBLE because others may not see you.
  • Never Boat Under the Influence!  While paddling can be easy, it's no excuse to paddle under the influence.  Paddling a kayak or canoe requires a responsible, safe, and aware operator. Don't blur that operation with drugs and alcohol.
  • Plan to get Wet!  Expect the unexpected and know what to do if you find yourself IN the water. Stay calm and with the boat. If you fall out into the current, keep your feet on the surface and swim to shore.
  • Know the Hazards!  Paddling hazards include rocks, strainers, low-head dams, heavy current, lightning, and other bad weather. Strainers can be anything that blocks passage but lets water filter through. Low-head dams are tough to see from upstream and very difficult to escape. Both strainers and low-head dams are regarded as "drowning machine."These hazards are dangerous - avoid them, portage around them, and ALWAYS SCOUT AHEAD!
  • Keep It Stable! Leaning shoulders outside the edge of the boat can lead to a capsize. Keep your weight low and balanced over the centerline of the boat.