My Review of Kayaking Dardenne Creek Blueway, Missouri - St Charles County
Updated: Jul 29
Length: 8.7 miles (19 miles future plan)
5.2 Miles - Lone Wolff Park to 370 Lakeside Park
3.5 Miles - 370 Lakeside Park To Riverside Landing Park
Elevation gain: N/A
Route type: Up & Down river
Difficulty: Easy - Medium
Special Notes! Updated July 2023
Phases 1 & 2 are open!
To my knowledge, there is no way to tell if there is a blockage on the blueway. In June 2023, the blueway was impassable just north of 370 Lakeside Park. It might be cleared by now, it might not. There might be more obstructions as the storms of late bring strong winds to the area. You might also find submerged hazards. Just be aware the blueway can be completely different from the last time you visited.
If you visit eastern Missouri, of find yourself in St Charles County, do a float trip on the NEW Dardenne Creek Blueway! It is a first of its kind concept based on the local walking trails called Greenways. See where this is headed? Greenways are land-based trails and Blueways are water-based trails! I have no idea whether this is a thing anywhere else in the country but to have access so close by and realizing the potential for future development in the area, this is sure to be one of the favorite summer getaways not too far from the St Louis metropolitan area and is excellent for fishing as well as floating. Once fully completed, the Dardenne Creek Blueway will run about 19 miles which is pretty incredible! On top of that, in the near future I hope, the county will offer a new Big Creek Blueway. I cannot tell you just how excited I am for this new concept to catch on elsewhere and help me make better use of my kayak than hitting the same lake every time.
The trek is pretty easy! Float trips on rivers, unlike lakes, don't require a lot of work paddling to keep your speed. That's the best news ever if you're looking for a more relaxing time or want to focus on something else like fishing or enjoying your companions should you have any with you. Of course, there is nothing wrong with paddling upstream as the current isn't too bad. In my first outing, I did paddle upstream just so I could explore the Blueway since I didn't have the time to paddle the full 3.5 miles out and back nor did I want to mess with parking cars at the put-in and pull-out spots.
Be prepared! Dardenne Creek can be a bit treacherous as it is prone to flooding and water backups from the Mississippi River (where Dardenne Creek ends). There will be obstacles both below and sticking above the water. You need to be careful of both while in and out of your boat (especially out of your boat). You don't want to get your boat hung up on something sticking out of the water and end up getting dumped into the water and you definitely don't want to get hung up on something under the water that holds you... under the water... The current could be swift at times, especially if it has rained recently or even actively raining upstream from where you are. The water level and current can change unexpectedly and if you aren't careful, if could be deadly.
There are bigger boats! Dardenne Creek is large enough and deep enough for boats of all sizes. As it meets the Mississippi River, you will certainly see more of the larger boats. Be mindful that, if you hear them coming, you should probably move to the sides as they might not see you very well. The Blueway is posted as "idle speed; no wake" due to the private docks along the banks so you shouldn't feel too unsafe from boat traffic blasting by.
Side note! The Dardenne Creek Blueway does empty into the Mississippi River at the Riverside Landing County Park. As long as you have your own boat, you don't have to stop there! Just down the river is Hideaway Harbor County Park and, if you know where it is from the river, you could certainly extend your trip even further. For those really adventurous types, you could navigate the Lock & Dam and head for St Louis City riverfront if you, really, really wanted to! I'm not sure I'm there just yet but my brain is spinning that thought around and around trying to find out how to make it work!