“The Missouri River is one of the most historic rivers in America, and it is right here in our state,” says Mary Culler, executive director of Stream Teams United.

You can traverse that history on Paddle MO, a five-day canoe and kayak journey on the Missouri River from Hermann to the confluence with the Mississippi River north of St. Louis. This year’s Paddle MO is September 19–23, with check-in and shuttles on September 18. There is also the option for a weekend-only trip September 22-23.

“Paddle MO provides an opportunity to travel 100 miles on the longest river in North America, enjoy delicious foods from local sources, journey into historic towns, and learn about the ecology and history of the river,” Mary says.

The annual recreational paddle, which began in 2016, is sponsored by Stream Teams United in conjunction with its partner organizations. The organized journey off˜ers paddlers a chance to step outside their comfort zones and try a big river challenge, with camping along the way.

Paddlers have ranged in age from 11 to 74. For some, it was the first time they had ever paddled a kayak or canoe, been on the Missouri River, or pitched a tent.

Although the route—from the Hermann riverfront through New Haven, Washington, Augusta, St. Charles, and Columbia Bottom Conservation Area—will be the same as in the past, “We are changing up camping locations, take-out locations, and a few other things this year,” says Brooke Widmar, operations manager for Stream Teams United.

This year, the trip is Wednesday to Sunday, allowing weekend paddlers to experience the final days of the trip, paddling through the confluence of the two big rivers.

Many aspects will remain the same, Brooke says, such as the educational components planned by Bill and Jody Miles of Earth’s Classroom and the locally sourced food provided by area restaurants, wineries, breweries, and caterers. Campers will enjoy evening campfires and live music on the final night. All participants will receive a Paddle MO journal, complete with daily maps and landmarks plus space to record memories of the trip.

Registration is capped at 100 participants. Fees vary for the five-day Thru-Paddle, the two-day PaddleMO-Lite, and other options, such as traveling in a multi-passenger voyageur-style canoe or using the shuttles. All proceeds support Missouri’s waterways.

“I have fond memories of these river towns from my childhood,” Mary says. “I am excited to share the history of these towns with new friends as we journey down the Missouri River.”

To register, visit PaddleMO.org, or call Stream Teams United at 573-586-074