Northeast Iowa is also known as the Little Switzerland of Iowa. The scenery is spectacular and almost alpine; hills, valleys, prairies and bluffs, wetlands, rivers and lakes – it’s heaven on earth for those who love the great outdoors. Those who like to take to the water might be interested to know that canoeing on the Upper Iowa River was deemed one of the ‘Top 100 Adventures in North America” by National Geographic Adventure. Canoeing and kayaking have always been popular ways to enjoy the water but have you ever tried (or even heard of) tubing?
River tubing is a blast! Tubers (as the sport’s exponents are called) tether their tubes to a motorboat which then tows the tube and its riders through the water.
Alternatively, the tube can be ridden free-floating on the river current. The tubers guide and paddle the tube with their hands, often wearing special webbed gloves to help. Tubes can be fitted with fabric covers (skins) which cover the bottom and sides of the tube. A skirt covers the inner diameter and the tubers sit within it. The skins can be customised to contain pockets or can holders and grab handles can also be fitted. Ropes or anything which could entangle a tuber should not be attached to the tube as the occupants could potentially become trapped underwater should the tube turn turtle. Companies which run tubing trips should issue the usual safety kit you’d expect to use when taking part in any watersports; life jackets, protective neoprene shoes and helmets.
There are plenty of places to enjoy your first tubing experience in Northeast Iowa. Hruska’s Canoe Livery (3233 347th St., Kendallville, IA 52136, 563.547.4566) is just one example. Hruska’s offer canoe, kayak and tube rental and will happily help their clients to plan their trips on the Upper Iowa River. Trailers are provided free of charge for those who choose to transport themselves or for an extra fee, Hruska’s will transport you.
There is a campground too with all the usual amenities. After a refreshing shower, crack open a few beers and enjoy a campfire cookout after your exciting day on the water.