The Pembina River meanders through the thickly wooded slopes, broad uplands, and isolated tranquility which symbolizes North Dakota’s Pembina River valley. It flows with a beauty and grace distinctly different than any other river in the state. The Pembina River’s rocky bed offers mild white water experiences. The timbered hills of the river corridor not only provide a stately scenic backdrop for canoeists but also host many unique flora and fauna, such as elk and moose.
The Pembina River valley was a focal point of the first settlement in North Dakota. Driven by the promise of a fledgling fur industry in the early 1800s, the state’s first influx of permanent Euro-American settlers, the Selkirkers, established themselves near the mouth of the Pembina River. A small and simple settlement developed, which contained the first churches, schools and homesteads known to North Dakota. One of the original homesteads from this era, the Kittson Cabin, is a State Historic Site in Walhalla.
The Pembina River has the only white water found in North Dakota. The river’s drop upstream of Walhalla creates Class I rapids. Fast water and river bends create a challenging canoe environment.
Along the upper stretch of the Pembina River, from the Vang Bridge (County Road 55) in Cavalier County to the ND Highway 32 Bridge near Walhalla or Riverside Park in Walhalla, both in Pembina County. This stretch includes rapids and quick turns. This trip will take approximately 2 to 4 hours. Hazards - Downed trees and snags.
U.S. Geological Survey: http://nd.water.usgs.gov/canoeing/index.html.