By Jim Umhoefer
The Rum River is spirited in stretches. The series of rapids from Lake Onamia to Princeton is safe for canoeists with intermediate skills. During spring high water, the river spills and tumbles along a rocky obstacle course to Milaca. This section is usually not canoeable in late summer and fall. If you've never run these rapids, plan your route carefully. You may choose to portage your gear around the rapids, depending on the water levels.
Families and beginners can launch near the headwaters in Mille Lacs Kathio State Park and canoe to Shakopee Lake and Lake Onamia. Combine a headwaters canoe trip with a visit to the state park. There's a primitive campsite near the launch and plenty of scenic hiking trails.
Pack a picnic and your fishing gear for a day on the Rum. Smallmouth bass lurk in the holes above and below the rapids on the upper river, but you might get lucky with walleyes or northerns, too.
The DNR's canoe route map shows access points, primitive campsites and private campgrounds. Obstacles, like rapids and dams, are also noted.