WisconsinRiverTrips.com - Water Trail Review BlogThis website chronicles paddling adventures for creeks and rivers throughout Wisconsin by multiple contributors, but mostly by the webmaster "Aaron". Each review tries to answer the question, "do I want to paddle this river or creek"? To this end, very detailed pictures, videos, maps, write-ups and more are provided to hopefully provide a National Geographic type experience to readers.
Additional helpful resources can be found in the menus including a list of all rivers/creeks reviewed. Check back often on the home page as the most recent reviews "float" to the top (ideally once a week from March to October)...or just subscribe to one of my social channels to be instantly notified when a new review is posted:
West Fork of the Kickapoo River
Last Paddled: May 21st, 2016
Put In: Hwy S bridge (south of Serendipity Country Club)
Take Out: Hwy 56
The Kickapoo's obscure branch to the west is a fun paddle with good current, scenic rock outcrops, clear water and great views of the driftless hills towering over the river.Read More...
Yahara River – Deforest
Last Paddled: May 11th, 2016
Put In: Veteran's Memorial Park
Take Out: Sunfish Pond
A guest review for a great section of the Yahara River near Deforest. Small, fast, and winding this is a good prospect to try when other nearby rivers and creeks are too high.Read More...
White River – Wautoma
Last Paddled: May 15th, 2016
Put In: Wautoma Wetlands Park / W. Main Street
Take Out: Cottonville Lane
A return to the White River to check out its far upper stretches. This is a great paddle with clear water, good current and fastastic groves of skunk cabbage...just be sure to pick the right section or you will face a lot of log jams.Read More...
Last Paddled: May 8th, 2016
Put In: Hwy 33
Take Out: Winchel Valley Ave
Billings Creek (or "Kickapoo Junior"), is among the elite paddling prospects in all of Southern Wisconsin. Great water clarity, natural springs, fantastic rock outcrops, light rapids and even a cave to paddle though make this an exceptional prospect. Only caveat is that it is small and some bigger boats may not fit.Read More...
Montello River – 11th Road
Last Paddled: May 1st, 2016
Put In: 11th Road
Take Out: Lake Montello Ramp (Lake Street)
A return to the Montello River for honestly its weakest section. This is still not a bad stretch though and is a simple prospect to consider for locals looking for a new adventure.Read More...
Last Paddled: April 23rd, 2016
Put In: 1st Ave Bridge
Take Out: Lawrence Lake - North Ramp (3rd Road)
A fun trip for a creek I didn't even know about until a week ago. Highlights include good current, good vegetation, and, best of all, fantastic water clarity.Read More...
Kickapoo River – Tunnelville Cliffs
Last Paddled: April 16th, 2016
Put In: La Farge Public Landing
Take Out: Hwy 131
One of the busiest water trails in the state comes to an abrupt halt at La Farge. Few want to go further because of log jams, but are these fears validated? Time to find out.Read More...
Nine Springs Creek
Last Paddled: March 28th, 2016
Put In: The Jenni and Kyle Preserve (off Post Road)
Take Out: Lake Farm County Park (Lake Waubesa)
An overlooked water trail in Madison? Seems to hard to fathom, but is true. Nine Springs Creek is a good prospect running mostly though marshland with good water clarity and occasional springs.Read More...
Good Earth Creek
Last Paddled: March 11th, 2016
Put In: Hwy CX
Take Out: Fox River - Hwy O Ramp
Good Earth Creek is a small tributary of the Fox River located north of Portage. Heavily mutilated by agriculture, this at times feels like paddling in a canal. All that said though, it was a pleasant trip.Read More...
Fox River – Princeton Locks
Last Paddled: November 15th, 2015
Put In: Princeton Locks (public ramp)
Take Out: City of Princeton (public ramp)
Simple yet pleasant. This rarely paddled section has something that much of the rest of the Fox River does not. Trees!Read More...
Seeley Creek – Part 2
Last Paddled: November 8th, 2015
Put In: Freedom Road
Take Out: Kohlmeyer Road
Nice rock outcroppings are the highlight for this quaint creek running through the heart of the Baraboo Hills. Only downside are some unfortunate log jams.Read More...
Fox River – Endeavor
Last Paddled: November 1st, 2015
Put In: Hwy O Public Launch
Take Out: North River Road Public Launch (Endeavor)
This is a tweener section of the Fox River between the more popular Portage to Hwy O route and Buffalo Lake. Not super exotic, with no bluffs, no current, no banks, nor woods; this is nevertheless a pleasant section that I'm glad I did.
Baraboo River – Cascade Mountain
Last Paddled: October 14th, 2015
Put In: Wayside Park (by Cascade Mountain)
Take Out: Hwy U
A return to the Baraboo River to check out a more obscure paddling segment. Not elite with highway noise to contend with, but pleasant with no log jams and attractive wooded banks.Read More...
Sheboygan River – Johnsonville
Last Paddled: October 11th, 2015
Put In: Johnsonville Dam (Fire Department parking lot)
Take Out: Dassow Park
A great paddle on Wisconsin's "east coast" that starts by a famous brat factory and ends in scenic Dassow Park.
Yellow River – Necedah
Last Paddled: October 6th, 2015
Put In: Necedah Dam (Friendship Road)
Take Out: Yellow River Bay (32nd Ave Launch)
An obscure central Wisconsin prospect that is pleasant with great sandbars, but has some snags to contend with.Read More...
La Crosse River – Fort McCoy
Last Paddled: October 2nd, 2015
Put In: Hwy BB
Take Out: Memorial Park (Sparta)
An obscure paddling prospect but pleasant, with no log jams, great water clarity, good current and a clean sandy substrate.
Last Paddled: September 26th, 2015
Put In: Wray Park in Brookfield
Take Out: Grede Park in Waukesha
Outside of a boring flowage section, this is a fun trip with nice segments of wetgrass, woods and finally rapids through downtown Waukesha.Read More...
Halls Creek – Part 2
Last Paddled: September 19th, 2015
Put In: Garage Road Bridge
Take Out: Halls Creek Landing (the mouth)
One of, if not the most scenic paddles in all of Wisconsin. Amazing sandstone bluffs and fun rapids await paddlers...if you have enough water.Read More...
Upper Iowa River
Last Paddled: September 12th, 2015
Put In: Cattle Creek Road Bridge
Take Out: Bluffton Road/W20 Canoe Ramp
A visit to Iowa's best. Clear water, good current and natural springs are highlights of Iowa's only National Scenic Riverway. But best of all are the massive riverside limestone bluffs (aka palisades) that are larger than anything you'll find in Wisconsin.
Fox River – Portage
Last Paddled: September 5th, 2015
Put In: Hwy 33 wayside in Portage
Take Out: Governor Bend County Park
One of Wisconsin's most historic rivers, this is a pleasant paddle with good water clarity and a chance to explore the Portage Canal. Unfortunately, it has some serious issues with rotting pondweeds.Read More...
Bark River – Rome
Last Paddled: August 30th, 2015
Put In: Rome Dam
Take Out: Cushman Road Bridge
A really nice paddle without too much development, great water clarity, fun riffles and interesting wildlife.Read More...
Black Earth Creek – Walking Iron
Last Paddled: August 22nd, 2015
Put In: Walking Iron Park in Mazomanie
Take Out: Blynn Road Bridge
Back again at Black Earth Creek, this time starting at Mazomanie's Walking Iron Park. A really nice paddle with great water clarity, clean banks, attractive tree canopies and good current.Read More...
La Crosse River – Onalaska
Last Paddled: August 15th, 2015
Put In: Holiday Heights Landing
Take Out: Riverside Park (the mouth)
A visit to train and bluff country on the last section of the La Crosse River and then a side adventure on the mighty Mississippi.Read More...
Wisconsin River – Mazomanie
Last Paddled: August 8th, 2015
Put In: Mazomanie Adlers Landing
Take Out: Arena Public Boat Ramp
A long overdue visit to the sandbar capitol of the state. Terrific bluffs and sandbars make this a must paddle for those living in southern Wisconsin.Read More...
Madeline Island Sea Caves
Last Paddled: June 21st, 2015
Put In: Big Bay State Park--Barrier Beach
Take Out: Big Bay State Park--Barrier Beach
While not as extensive as their Cornucopia neighbors (of ice cave fame), the Madeline Island caves are a great alternative and make a terrific afternoon paddle.Read More...
Pine River – Hwy Q
Last Paddled: August 2nd, 2015
Put In: Canoe Port 4 or Hwy Q (Old Community Center)
Take Out: Hwy O
A pleasant, scenic driftless paddle that starts with some class 2 rapids and ends with a basketball game.Read More...
Wolf River – Hollister
Last Paddled: July 30th, 2015
Put In: W. Hollister Road Landing
Take Out: Hwy 64 DNR Landing
A journey to the whitewater capitol of Wisconsin to enjoy some fun class 2 rapids and amazing boulder gardens.Read More...
Baraboo River – Dutch Hollow
Last Paddled: July 25th, 2015
Put In: N. Dutch Hollow Road
Take Out: N. River Road in La Valle (below the rapids)
A rarely paddled section of the Baraboo River that is quite pleasant. Highlights include seven rock outcrops and some fun little rapids to end the trip.Read More...
Last Paddled: July 19th, 2015
Put In: Marshall Dam (access below)
Take Out: Fireman's Park
At times a challenging river because of the log jams in fast water, the Maunesha does have its rewards in fun rapids if you stick it out to the end.Read More...
Mecan River – Post Germania
Last Paddled: July 12th, 2015
Put In: Germania Marsh Dam
Take Out: Hwy N (2nd of 3 crossings...see map)
A classic south-central Wisconsin paddle with nothing too exotic, but still very pleasant with nice water quality and attractive wooded tree canopies.Read More...
Last Paddled: July 5th, 2015
Put In: Middle Road Bridge
Take Out: Hwy 95 bridge
A return to the Black River area for a fun wilderness paddle, some small rapids and a LOT of rocks.Read More...
Rock River – East Branch – Mayville
Last Paddled: June 27th, 2015
Put In: North Main Street (Furnace Bridge Dam)
Take Out: Green Head Road (main Horicon launch)
Located northeast of the Horicon Marsh, the East Branch is a good prospect with few obstructions, fun rapids and nice boulder gardens.Read More...
Last Paddled: June 21st, 2015
Put In: Mill Street bridge (by the dam)
Take Out: Hwy J
An obscure tributary to the Fox River, the Puchyan is a fun little river with great clarity and fun rapids, but there are some boring marsh sections to contend with.Read More...
Platte River – Part 2
Last Paddled: June 14th, 2015
Put In: Platte Road
Take Out: Big Platte Road
A fine southwestern Wisconsin paddle with many fun but safe rapids. This is mostly a rural farm paddle, but is still scenic with great views of the driftless hills.Read More...
Milwaukee River – East Branch
Last Paddled: June 6th, 2015
Put In: Hwy SS Bridge
Take Out: Mill Road Bridge
This is one of the three main upper branches to the Milwaukee River. It starts as a slow swampy paddle with log jams, but ends on a high note with fun riffles, clear water and boulder gardens.Read More...
Little Platte River – Platteville
Last Paddled: May 31st, 2015
Put In: Quarry Road
Take Out: Stumpton Road Bridge
One of southern Wisconsin's crown paddling jewels featuring fun rapids and amazing limestone bluffs that rival the Kickapoo. Just be mindful of the cows, their fences, low water and high water...and you'll have a great trip.Read More...
Spring Creek – Lodi
Last Paddled: May 23rd, 2015
Put In: Riddle Road Bridge
Take Out: Hwy 113 - Public Fishing Access
Spring Creek is an obscure water trail north of Madison. Good water clarity, current and minor riffles but log jams were challenging.Read More...
Black Earth Creek – Salmo Pond
Last Paddled: May 22nd, 2015
Put In: Scherbel Road
Take Out: Black Earth Community Park
An obscure but pleasant paddle stretch from Salmo Pond County Park to Black Earth. A good combination of scenery, water quality and light rapids.Read More...
White River – Neshkoro
Last Paddled: May 16th, 2015
Put In: Neshkoro Dam
Take Out: 22nd Ave public launch
A spontaneous trip due to extenuating circumstances. This was a small pleasant river with terrific clear water, but kind of short at only 3.4 miles.Read More...
Rock River – South Branch
Last Paddled: May 9th, 2015
Put In: Waupun Park
Take Out: E. Waupun Road Access
Another “roll-of-the-dice” paddle that turned out pretty good. The South Branch of the Rock River is one of three branches that form Horicon Marsh. This trip is maybe half urban paddle (quite nice), half hardwood paddle (ok), and finally a little marsh before you legally have to get off the water. Put-in: Waupun Park (located […]Read More...
Last Paddled: May 2nd, 2015
Put In: Evergreen Ave
Take Out: Hwy H
Sometimes with mystery creeks you roll the dice and things just don’t work out. This wasn’t one of those cases, as White Creek was a pleasant surprise with great water clarity, some easy rapids and while, yes, some portages – they were easy to deal with. Put-in: Evergreen Ave is a one-lane bridge with no […]Read More...
Big Spring Creek
Last Paddled: April 26th, 2015
Put In: Hwy G Bridge
Take Out: Lake Mason Boat Ramp off Grouse Drive
A cool little trout stream located north of Portage . Perhaps a little small for most sensible paddlers, but most sensible paddlers won’t know what they’re missing. Put-in: The logical put-in at Golden Ave is bad (too rocky). So instead, I used a nearby creek tributary off of Hwy G. Ok shoulder parking, but not […]Read More...
Duck Creek Middle Branch
Last Paddled: April 18th, 2015
Put In: Schliesmann Road Bridge
Take Out: Wyona County park
Favorite trip to date for 2015 with sublime water quality and surprisingly enough no portage necessitating log jams. On the downside, there was an issue with a local property owner. Put-in: Schliesmann Road Bridge is an attractive put-in. Parking is not five star but doable. Easy launching into the creek as the banks aren’t too […]Read More...
Last Paddled: April 11th, 2015
Put In: Hwy CM (Dates Mill Dam)
Take Out: Private Landing on Fox River
Ultimately, this was a diverse trip with interesting contrasts. It would vary between lake, creek, river, woods, marsh, humans, lack of humans, fun paddle and boring paddle. Put-in: Best put-in is at Hwy CM (by the Dates Mill Pond). While probably public DOT land by the bridge, it is a little close to houses, so […]Read More...
Fox River – Montello
Last Paddled: April 4th, 2015
Put In: Parking lot at W. Montello Street
Take Out: Grand River Locks - Public Landing
A trip that starts on the swift, narrow Montello River and finishes on the historic Fox River. Part urban paddle, part historic paddle, part open water paddle–a fun trip that I recommend to readers. Put-in: There is a downtown public parking lot that you can use for access (fishermen use it all the time). It […]Read More...
Fox River – Pardeeville
Last Paddled: March 15th, 2015
Put In: Hwy 44 Bridge
Take Out: Haynes Road Bridge
An obscure section of the Fox River upstream of Pardeeville that has redeeming values, but can be a frustrating paddle because of the log jams in the stream. Put-in: Pretty good access at Hwy 44. Best parking and launch area will be on the southwest side of the bridge. There is a house in sight […]Read More...
Neenah Creek Main Branch – Part 2
Last Paddled: October 26th, 2014
Put In: Hwy A Bridge
Take Out: Hwy P Bridge
A solid but not super exotic wetland paddle with its strength being the clean water and sandy bottom. Put-in: Pretty good access at Hwy A. You can put in north of the bridge (either up or downstream). There are riffles running under the bridge, so putting in upstream lets you run them. Try not to […]Read More...
Neenah Creek – South Branch
Last Paddled: October 19th, 2014
Put In: Mason Lake Dam
Take Out: Big Slough Public Boat Access
A pleasant wetland paddle that is rich in waterfowl, but could use a bit more current to liven things up. Put-in: Access is located just below the Lake Mason Dam and Flowage in Briggsville. There is a boat ramp just north of the dam which serves the lake, but you can drop off your kayak […]Read More...
Lemonweir River – New Lisbon
Last Paddled: October 12th, 2014
Put In: 37th Street Public Access
Take Out: Riverside Park in New Lisbon
A big, long lake pretending to be a river. Honestly, somewhat boring, but a nice rock outcropping, fall leaves and attractive white pines gave it redeeming value. Put-in: The old put-in for this stretch used to be the Hwy M bridge (southeast side). While there still appears to be a launch there, there are “no […]Read More...
Blue Mounds Creek
Last Paddled: October 5th, 2014
Put In: Blynn Road Bridge
Take Out: Arena Public Boat Landing
A relatively new water-trail due to some fantastic clean-up work by the locals, but while the creek is worthy of consideration, this was a relatively disappointing paddle given how much I liked the upper sections of this watershed (namely, Black Earth Creek). Put-in: Pretty good put-in at Blynn Road. Access will be on the southeast […]Read More...
Big Eau Pleine River
Last Paddled: September 27th, 2014
Put In: Big Rapids County Park
Take Out: Hwy M Bridge
This is a pretty obscure prospect that is rarely reviewed and infrequently paddled…probably because most people associate the river with the massive flowage to the east, but a good length of the river upstream flows freely (mostly) and is actually a good paddling prospect. Put-in: Nice public access is available at Big Rapids County Park, […]Read More...
Mecan River – Upper
Last Paddled: September 21st, 2014
Put In: 11th Road Bridge
Take Out: JJ Road Bridge
Despite the Mecan being a popular paddle, this section is often overlooked and undeservedly so. This is a fine wilderness paddle and one of the clearest rivers in southern Wisconsin–a must paddle for south central Wisconsinites (you “northerners” already have lots of these type of rivers). Put-in: Very good bridge put-in at 11th Road. Small […]Read More...
Black River – East Fork
Last Paddled: September 14th, 2014
Put In: Pray Road Bridge
Take Out: Overguard Road Public Access
A pleasant central Wisconsin paddle with little signs of human civilization. Enjoy oxymoronic slow riffley current with the highlight of the trip being large granite protrusions and boulder beds. Put-in: Good but hidey access area by Pray Road. It will be on the northwest side of the bridge, with a solid pull-off area for the […]Read More...
Last Paddled: September 6th, 2014
Put In: Main Street Bridge @ Newburg
Take Out: Hwy A Bridge
This is probably the best section on the Milwaukee River. A fine paddle, with clear, red water; no jams/hazards; swift, fun current; good bank quality; and a surprising amount of wilderness for a river with this namesake. Put-in: Just downstream/east of the Main Street bridge in Newburg is a nice public put-in. Note: while this […]Read More...
Last Paddled: August 31st, 2014
Put In: Short Cut Road (aka Porter Hill) fishing access
Take Out: Grant River Road (Pigeon River bridge is better)
Not being the cleanest river nor the best wilderness experience, the Grant River is pretty much a one-trick pony. But it is a good trick though! What makes the Grant special are the occasional limestone and sandstone bluffs, which are fantastic and make this trip worth doing. Put-in: For a river fraught with access issues, […]Read More...
Black Earth Creek – Mazomanie
Last Paddled: August 24th, 2014
Put In: Olson Road Bridge
Take Out: Walking Iron Park
Connecting the city of Middleton to the Wisconsin River, Black Earth Creek is an obscure paddling prospect–more known for its nationally famous trout population. Nevertheless, this creek is a wonderful little gem with a great combination of prairie paddling and forest paddling that should not be overlooked by south-central Wisconsinites. Previously in May, I had […]Read More...
La Crosse River
Last Paddled: August 17th, 2014
Put In: Fishermans Park (Perch Lake Dam)
Take Out: Hammer Road Bridge
A pleasant five-mile paddle originating in the city of Sparta. The La Crosse River has a great recipe for paddlers in swift clear water, fun ledges, and is nestled in an attractive setting. Put-in: You will have a bevy of options for putting in, with almost contiguous green space access from Memorial Park to Fisherman’s […]Read More...
Pecatonica River – East Branch
Last Paddled: August 9th, 2014
Put In: Hwy 39 Bridge
Take Out: Horseshoe Bend Road
An underrated prospect located 40 minutes southwest of Madison, with nice plantlife and tree canopies, but most of all, some splendid rock bluffs. There is a decent chance you haven’t heard of the East Branch of the Pecatonica River, as many paddle review sources do not cover it. This is odd…but kind of a consistent […]Read More...
Rock River – East Branch
Last Paddled: August 2nd, 2014
Put In: Gill Road bridge (by Hwy AY)
Take Out: Furnace Bridge Dam (Hwy 67 bridge)
For the most part, a weak paddling prospect, with slow, dirty current and open, scraggly banks. But…the river does have redeeming attributes and nearby sections of the river have potential, so keep reading… When you think of Wisconsin’s mighty watersheds…the Fox, Wisconsin and Chippewa all come to mind, but ultimately the Rock is larger than […]Read More...
Last Paddled: July 26th, 2014
Put In: Marl Lake Boat Launch
Take Out: Shadow Lake Road Bridge
A must paddle for southern Wisconsinites! This is actually a two-part trip that can be split in half. The first four miles run through the terrific Chain O’ Lakes and the second half consists of small river paddling with clear, riffly water and (for once) tasteful bankside landscaping. Both sections are five star prospects by […]Read More...
Last Paddled: July 20th, 2014
Put In: North Old Country Road Bridge
Take Out: Kelly Road Bridge
My new favorite water trail! I’ve paddled a lot of places…and have had a lot of top paddling experiences (including Bois Brule, Kickapoo, Wisconsin Dells Area, Halls Creek, Morison Creek and Apostle Islands National Lakeshore), but this is my new favorite and might be the best paddling prospect in all of Wisconsin. A little background […]Read More...
Last Paddled: July 13th, 2014
Put In: Hwy Q Canoe Launch
Take Out: Brainard's Bridge Park
A classic water trail in central Wisconsin, the Waupaca River is a great prospect with striking boulder gardens, great water quality, and fun/safe riffles. The river starts close to the city of Stevens Point and winds east before emptying into the Wolf River. I’ve actually paddled the Waupaca before…well, kind of. Last fall, I paddled […]Read More...
Last Paddled: July 5th, 2014
Put In: Jordan Park below dam
Take Out: Iverson Park (far west canal)
The Plover is a popular small river that flows southwest before emptying into the Wisconsin River at the city of Stevens Point. There are multiple sections of the river that are navigable for paddlers–the upper section being more rocky and “up northy,” with nice boulder gardens, and the southern section, which is more like the […]Read More...
Last Paddled: July 5th, 2014
Put In: Heineman Road
Take Out: Prairie Road Public Access
We did the Prairie River from Heineman Rd. to the public access at the end of Prairie Road. This stretch is only a few miles northeast of Merrill, in north central Wisconsin. The Prairie River proved to be a typical northern Wisconsin small river, with cool, clean, root beer-colored water that moved along at a […]Read More...
Last Paddled: June 28th, 2014
Put In: 22nd Ave Bridge
Take Out: Hwy D
A river with two identities. The first 90%, you get clear water, sandy substrates and open, grassy vistas. The last 10% goes through woods and, unfortunately, has some deadfall to contend with. To clarify further, there are actually three White Rivers in Wisconsin. This is not the more famous one located by Lake Superior (a […]Read More...
Little Wolf River
Last Paddled: June 22nd, 2014
Put In: McNinch Road Public Access
Take Out: Big Falls Public Access
This is a nice scenic river in which the whitewater is the highlight (or low-light). During the weekend of this trip, most rivers in south and central Wisconsin were flooded or too high to paddle (ironically, the Fever River was one of the exceptions). One water trail on my prospect list that caught my eye […]Read More...
Fever River (aka the Galena River)
Last Paddled: June 14th, 2014
Put In: Hwy W Park
Take Out: Ensch Road/Scrabble Branch Creek
The name of the river is confusing, because while originally named the Fever River, the state of Illinois (shamed to have a river named after smallpox) renamed it to the Galena River. This left mapmakers in Wisconsin confused…to this day. On the flip side, some old Galena residents in Illinois still refer to it as […]Read More...
Last Paddled: June 8th, 2014
Put In: Hwy P Fishing Access
Take Out: Hwy 162/14/61 Bridge
An obscure paddling prospect with nice riffles, scenic hilly vistas, and no technical portages…but with some serious obstacles to contend with. In paddling circles, few will have heard of Coon Creek or its main tributary, Timber Coulee Creek, but for fishermen this is one of the most famous watersheds in all of Wisconsin and is […]Read More...
Last Paddled: May 31st, 2014
Put In: South Cemetery Road Bridge
Take Out: State Forest Access by Creek Mouth
A spectacular wilderness adventure through rapids, rock bluffs, massive boulders, wonderful plant life, clean water…and with not a single house in sight. This Black River tributary is not without its caveats though. This stream has possible access issues, an unpaved bike shuttle, the rapids were more serious than expected, and parasites were a drag. Let’s […]Read More...
Last Paddled: May 24th, 2014
Put In: Trow Lake Dam
Take Out: Garage Road Bridge
One of Wisconsin’s crown jewel paddle trails. This is a terrific Black River tributary with frequent class 1 rapids, root beer colored water and terrific dells. So why haven’t you heard of it before? Because it is a “Goldilocks stream”–it has to have “just the right” water levels to run (which is unfortunately rare). In […]Read More...
Black Earth Creek – Black Earth to Mazomanie
Last Paddled: May 18th, 2014
Put In: Black Earth Community Park
Take Out: Olson Road Bridge (Mazomanie)
This is a very nice, clear, fast creek that runs from the Middleton Airport all the way to the Wisconsin River near Arena. On occasion, paddlers will run Blynn Road (the last bridge) to the mouth, and this is considered a good prospect that recently was cleaned up in 2011 of log jams by “Capitol […]Read More...
Last Paddled: May 11th, 2014
Put In: Malisch Road Bridge
Take Out: Big Slough Public Boat Access
A more obscure branch of Neenah Creek, with nothing absolutely spectacular, but all in all, a pleasant, peaceful paddle that I’m glad I did. You’ve probably never heard of Big Slough, so I’ll provide a bit of background here… The Fox River flows roughly south to north from Portage up to Green Bay. The first […]Read More...
Last Paddled: May 3rd, 2014
Put In: Lee Road - Public Access (not recommended)
Take Out: Riddle Road Bridge
Lodi Marsh is a very nice natural area located a half hour north of Madison. Basically, it is an open valley marsh that is fed with freshwater springs and accumulates into “Spring Creek.” There it in turn flows through the city of Lodi and then eventually into the Wisconsin River at Okee Bay. There is […]Read More...
Last Paddled: April 26th, 2014
Put In: Hwy H Bridge
Take Out: McDonald's (by Hwy 12 Bridge)
Hulburt Creek is an obscure little creek in the Wisconsin Dells area that few people paddle or even know about. Normally, it is just too shallow and filled with logs to paddle (more on that later). Thanks to our recent deluge of rain though, the creek levels really came up and I decided to give […]Read More...
Last Paddled: April 18th, 2014
Put In: Hwy H Canoe Launch
Take Out: Fountain Creek Wet Prairie Canoe Launch
Think Lower Baraboo meets Horicon Marsh and ends on the Portage Canal for this trip. The Grand River is a pretty obscure prospect located southeast of Montello. It flows east to west through a couple of dams and a large marsh/flowage before it empties into the Fox River as a decent-sized tributary. The most prominent […]Read More...
Last Paddled: April 12th, 2014
Put In: Hwy F Bridge
Take Out: Hwy F Bridge
Initially, this trip was going to encompass Big Creek and the north end of Lake Redstone, but due to inclement weather and ice, I was only able to paddle Big Creek and parts of Lake Redstone. Big Creek is a northern tributary to the Baraboo River close to Reedsburg. Close to the mouth, there is […]Read More...
Neenah Creek – Oxford
Last Paddled: April 6th, 2014
Put In: W Chauncey St Bridge
Take Out: Hwy A Bridge
Neenah creek is an occasionally paddled creek that is normally known for its open grassy areas, wetlands, waterfowl, and for being the first major tributary of the historic Fox River. A far more obscure segment of the stream, rarely paddled, is the far upper section, which I learned about from Small River Canoe Adventures of […]Read More...
Pine River – Richland Center
Last Paddled: October 12th, 2013
Put In: Canoe Port 1 or Hwy AA
Take Out: Canoe Port 4 or Hwy Q (Old Community Center)
The Pine River is an under-rated prospect sandwiched between the Baraboo River and the Kickapoo River. The lower third from Richland Center to the Wisconsin River gets occasional paddling traffic which is an ok prospect but it gets beat up by flooding. The upper third starting from Rockbridge Park is a great prospect which I’ve […]Read More...
Eau Claire River (Chippewa Tributary)
Last Paddled: September 21st, 2013
Put In: Harstad Park
Take Out: Hwy D Bridge
There are actually three Eau Claire Rivers in Wisconsin, so this can be very confusing. I previously reviewed the Eau Claire River that flows into the Wisconsin River at Wausau here. There is another Eau Claire that flows into the St. Croix, but in this case the review will focus on the river that flows […]Read More...
Upper Dells – 2
Last Paddled: September 8th, 2013
Put In: Town of Lyndon Landing (by River Bay Resort)
Take Out: Black Hawk Island Landing
Of the many areas in the Dells to paddle, this is the best and is a must paddle for Southern Wisconsinites. In a previous review, I paddled the first half of the Upper Dells from Two Rivers landing to about halfway on the flowage lake (take-out at River Bay Campground). For this trip, I’ll pick […]Read More...
Last Paddled: September 14th, 2013
Put In: Hwy 161/Loberg Road
Take Out: Amherst Dam
A tributary to the Wolf River, this is a very nice river/stream that is often overlooked because of its popular neighbors (Little Wolf/Waupaca/Crystal/Wolf/Plover). The Tomorrow never gets very big before it gets to Amherst and “magically” turns into the Waupaca River (an oddity, as Rivers don’t usually change names like this). Despite this being September […]Read More...
Last Paddled: August 28th, 2013
Put In: Stone's Bridge Landing
Take Out: Winneboujou Landing
This is one the cleanest, nicest paddling prospects in Wisconsin. Never getting very big before it empties into Lake Superior, the river is filled with fun rapids, clear pools, historic resorts, attractive banks, and wonderful plant life. In fact…I would rank this as the best paddling prospect in Wisconsin (the Kickapoo had that honor before […]Read More...
Namekagon River – Hayward to Stinnett
Last Paddled: August 27th, 2013
Put In: Hayward Dam
Take Out: Stinnett Landing
The Namekagon is one of three nationally designated scenic and wild riverways in Wisconsin. It’s a popular paddle location located (roughly) from Hayward and joins the St. Croix at the border of Minnesota and Wisconsin. A good chunk of both these rivers is managed by the national park service and they do a good job […]Read More...
Last Paddled: August 17th, 2013
Put In: Covered Bridge Park
Take Out: Grafton Lions Park
Cedar Creek is a decent-sized tributary of the Milwaukee River that runs through the small town of Cedarburg just 30 minutes north of Milwaukee. While not widely known state-wide, the locals know all about it, and it is a popular paddling location for Milwaukee area residents. There are a number of put-in options (see map), […]Read More...
Upper Eau Claire Flowage
Last Paddled: August 10th, 2013
Put In: Dells of the Eau Claire Park
Take Out: Dells of the Eau Claire Park
The initial plan for this trip was to paddle the Eau Claire River either 7 miles above Eau Claire Dells County Park or 7 miles below. (Note: Wisconsin has two Eau Claire rivers and this is the Wausau one…not the Chippewa River one.) At this time of the year, the Eau Claire runs very low, […]Read More...
Platte River 1
Last Paddled: August 4th, 2013
Put In: Airport Road Bridge
Take Out: Platte Road bridge
Located in the SW corner of the state, the Platte is a very nice river often overlooked by paddlers. Unlike its more popular neighbor, the Grant, it has little in the way of rock outcroppings (although it has a few). It also suffers somewhat from poor agricultural use and barbed wires running across the river. […]Read More...
Black River – Mason to Irving
Last Paddled: July 27th, 2013
Put In: Masons Landing
Take Out: Irving Landing
This route starts 4 miles downstream of the Black River Falls dam at Mason’s landing and goes 9 miles to the Irving landing. You can put in earlier (see map for options), but that would have made a long trip IMO. You can also take out at the campground (see map), which is close to […]Read More...
Lemonweir River – 19th Ave to HH
Last Paddled: July 20th, 2013
Put In: 19th Ave Landing
Take Out: HH Landing
Having done and been pleasantly surprised with the previous two sections of the Lemonweir below Mauston, I decided to do the “middle section,” which is a 14 mile stretch from the 19th Ave Landing to the HH landing (bridge to bridge). If you haven’t already, go ahead and read my review for the first five […]Read More...
Black River Flowage
Last Paddled: July 13th, 2013
Put In: Halls Creek Landing
Take Out: Black River Falls Dam Landing
There are a number of nice prospects in the Black River area, but for this trip we did a more obscure segment that is probably only say the 4th/5th best route…yet was still very nice. You can kind of divide the Black River in two. Paddling above the dam at Black River Falls and paddling […]Read More...
Last Paddled: July 7th, 2013
Put In: Lake Street Ramp (Lake Mendota)
Take Out: Lake Street Ramp (Lake Mendota)
Pheasant Branch Creek is located near Madison and feeds into Lake Mendota’s northwest side. It’s not a very large creek, so it is not very popular with paddlers. You can usually paddle up to and past the first pedestrian bridge, but not much further due to the shallow depth and abundance of aquatic weeds. There […]Read More...
Baraboo River Floodplains
Last Paddled: June 30th, 2013
Put In: Cty U Bridge
Take Out: Waterfront Road Landing
This is the last paddlable segment on the Baraboo River before it hits the Wisconsin. Normally this is a mediocre prospect due to dirty water, lack of sandbars, and occasional log jams (rumor has it that it might have been cleaned out locally). But it’s not a bad section to paddle that can be very […]Read More...
Last Paddled: June 23rd, 2013
Put In: Hwy 33 (Ice Age Trail Access)
Take Out: Hwy 33 (Ice Age Trail Access)
This used to be a much more popular paddle destination than it is now. But unfortunately, the Wisconsin River end of the canal was permanently sealed and the main locks left open. Silt, weeds, and even logs have invaded certain sections, which makes this difficult to paddle in low water. The ‘main’ access point to […]Read More...
Kickapoo – Far Upper
Last Paddled: June 16th, 2013
Put In: Bridge Upstream of School
Take Out: Ontario - Titanic (Private Livery)
While the Kickapoo is one of the most popular paddle rivers in the Midwest, virtually nobody does the sections upstream of Ontario. Before doing this trip I had heard mixed stories about the navigability of the far upper sections. I emailed a local tour operator (Fred Flasher) who said he had actually done the Kickapoo […]Read More...
Last Paddled: June 9th, 2013
Put In: Seeley Lane Landing
Take Out: Seeley Lane Landing
Located in the heart of the Baraboo Hills close to North Freedom, Seeley Creek is one the largest tributaries to the Baraboo River. Just a couple miles upstream of the mouth, the creek is dammed to form an artificial lake, which is popular with local fishermen. Officially, there is a DNR landing for canoes there, […]Read More...
Rocky Run Creek to Lake Wisconsin
Last Paddled: June 2nd, 2013
Put In: County V Bridge
Take Out: Private Residence (map has public options)
This was a segment run during very high flood water (4.6 feet down by Muscoda and 11 feet up by Wisconsin Dells per USGS). Normally, this would be a bad thing to do on the Wisconsin River, as the high water covers up the sandbars, but in this case the high water was actually a […]Read More...
Little Wolf – Guest Review
Last Paddled: May 15th, 2013
Put In: DNR Parking Area
Take Out: Big Falls Boat Landing
The Little Wolf is one of the nicer rivers I have kayaked. It has very nice scenery. The forest is healthy and filled with ferns, hemlocks, and wildflowers. Bird life is abundant. There are several boulder gardens with some very large boulders. Throughout the stretch, there were numerous riffles and a couple of rapids to […]Read More...
Last Paddled: May 18th, 2013
Put In: Lodi Spring Creek Fishery Area
Take Out: Lake Park
This is a very nice creek that starts near the town of Lodi and empties into the Wisconsin River close to (and across from) the city of Merrimac. Spring Creek itself primarily starts in a marsh southwest of Lodi (which would be a nice kayak spot if there were access). It then winds through town […]Read More...
Spring Brook – Lower
Last Paddled: May 20th, 2013
Put In: Lake Delton Boat Ramp
Take Out: Lake Delton Boat Ramp
Spring Brook is one of two creeks that empties into Lake Delton by Wisconsin Dells. This is not a well traveled creek, despite being next to Lake Delton, as it is usually very shallow, lacks good public access, and has a nasty log jam. If it were more accessible, it would probably be swarming with […]Read More...
Honey Creek – Upper
Last Paddled: May 11th, 2013
Put In: Hwy PF
Take Out: Leland Park
This is a small creek located in the foothills of the Baraboo Hills, close to Natural Bridge State Park and Hemlock Draw. For the most part, the creek is rarely paddled except for the lower section, which is closer to Sauk City and empties into the Wisconsin River. The other exception is an area above […]Read More...
Kickapoo River – Rockton to La Farge
Last Paddled: September 17th, 2012
Put In: Rockton Landing
Take Out: La Farge Landing
Of all paddling rivers in Wisconsin this might be the most popular. And of all sections on the Kickapoo, this is probably the second best stretch to run after Ontario to Rockton. There are a large number of landings on the river, at least shuttle/rental services, so you do have a lot of options as […]Read More...
Black River – Hwy 35
Last Paddled: September 8th, 2012
Put In: Hwy 53/93 Landing
Take Out: Hwy 35 Landing
While the Black River is one of the more popular rivers to paddle in Wisconsin, this downstream section close to the mouth is very rarely reviewed. You can put in at a canoe landing located at Highway 93/53. The landing is nice and has parking, but there are no bathrooms and it is a steep […]Read More...
Cox Hollow Lake
Last Paddled: September 3rd, 2012
Put In: NW Boat Landing
Take Out: NW Boat Landing
This is the smaller of two man-made lakes in Governor Dodge State Park. Cox Hollow is a pleasant paddle that has abundant wildlife (blue herons, eagles, clams, snails, turtles and much more from what I saw). This and it’s sibling lake, Twin Valley, prohibit motor traffic, which is always a very big plus when it […]Read More...
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Last Paddled: August 24th, 2012
Put In: Miner's Beach
Take Out: Miner's Beach
While technically not in Wisconsin, Pictured Rocks is definitely worth checking out. It is a National Scenic Lakeshore, located on the north side of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula next to Lake Superior. The prominent feature of the park are the massive colored sandstone bluffs and rock formations along the shore. There are a couple of ways […]Read More...
Upper Dells – 1
Last Paddled: August 19th, 2012
Put In: Two Rivers Landing
Take Out: River Bay
The most famous section of the Wisconsin River is in the Wisconsin Dells area. This is commonly divided into ‘Lower Dells’ (below the Kilbourn Dam) and ‘Upper Dells’ (above the Kilbourn Dam). And in the Upper Dells you can kind of divide that in half….this review will be about that upstream half. The put in […]Read More...
Wisconsin River – Castle Rock
Last Paddled: August 12th, 2012
Put In: Castle Rock Lake Dam
Take Out: Two Rivers Landing
This is a tweener section of the Wisconsin River between the string of dams up-north (which makes those sections largely un-kayakable) and the Dells. While lacking the quantity of rock formations downstream, this is a pleasant section with mostly wooded banks, some development, and a number of sandbars and sloughs. The start of this trip […]Read More...
Baraboo River – La Valle
Last Paddled: August 5th, 2012
Put In: La Valle Public Ramp
Take Out: Lake Redstone County Park
This is a nice little section of the Baraboo River between the city of La Valle and a take-out near Lake Redstone. Put in at the main boat ramp on the west end of town. You can’t park at the bar there…but have to drive a block north and park at the bike park where […]Read More...
Last Paddled: July 27th, 2012
Put In: Mill Street Landing (by Little Quinnesec Dam)
Take Out: Gravel Landing Near Piers Gorge Road
For the most part, despite it’s clean water and scenery, the Menominee River isn’t a super hotspot for canoes and kayaks. The issues are the many dams and the few rough rapids in between. One of the most popular sections is from Niagara, Wisconsin to Piers Gorge Park (roughly three miles). There is a trail […]Read More...
Fox River – Swan Lake
Last Paddled: July 15th, 2012
Put In: Indian Trails Campground
Take Out: Swan Lake Public Launch
Despite being only an hour drive from Madison, the upper Fox River tends not to be super popular with most kayakers. This is the same historic Fox that runs right west into Portage and then north towarda Green Bay. Mike Svob reviews two sections from the canal downstream (which I hope to run eventually), but […]Read More...
Last Paddled: July 7th, 2012
Put In: W Stebbinsville Rd
Take Out: Murwin Park
Originating from a chain of lakes in the Madison area, the Yahara is very popular with locals. It’s not a super long river and has a number of dams, so there aren’t that many navigable areas before it reaches the Rock River. The most popular section is from the site of the old Stebbinsville Dam […]Read More...
Last Paddled: June 23rd, 2012
Put In: Old Stone Rd.
Take Out: N. Casey Road
This ‘creek’ is probably one of the best kayaking prospects in southern Wisconsin. Quite large, the Badfish Creek should perhaps instead be referred to more accurately as Yahara West. This was kayaked during the height of the 2012 drought, and we had little problems with navigation. The key thing to know, of course, about this […]Read More...
Lemonweir River – Mouth
Last Paddled: June 17th, 2012
Put In: County HH Snowmobile Bridge
Take Out: Two Rivers Landing
Again, if you’ve read my previous review of the Lemonweir you know there are three segments below Mauston and to the Wisconsin River based on the landing options: a five mile section, a ~14 mile section, and then a remaining 5 mile section to the Wisconsin. This review will be of that last section. You […]Read More...
Last Paddled: June 9th, 2012
Put In: Green Head Rd Landing
Take Out: Horicon Marsh Boat Tours Private Landing
This is a trip that takes a lot of planning to get right. Basically, the Horicon area is a drained swamp that has been artificially restored by a dam near the center of the city of Horicon. As you probably know, this is a VERY popular area for birds. While there are different canoe/kayak options, […]Read More...
Honey Creek – County C
Last Paddled: June 3rd, 2012
Put In: Country Road C Bridge
Take Out: Elm Road
After the Baraboo River, the next largest tributary in Sauk County flowing into the Wisconsin River is Honey Creek, which gets to a decent size before it empties into the Wisconsin near Ferry Bluff/Prairie du Sac. The bottom section (about 5 miles up from the Wisconsin River) gets an odd canoe review or two, but […]Read More...
Lemonweir River – Mauston
Last Paddled: May 25th, 2012
Put In: Mauston Dam
Take Out: 19th Ave Landing
This is probably not one of the more well known rivers, but it is very nice never-the-less. It empties into the Wisconsin River just north of the Dells rock formations. The upper sections are absolutely not as popular as the lower sections. Mike Svob does review one such section north of New Lisbon, but it […]Read More...
Last Paddled: May 19th, 2012
Put In: Cty Hwy Y/JJ Put In
Take Out: Hwy 22
About a half hour north of Portage is a nice little river in the Mecan. This is a popular kayaking river and it is easy to see why. The water is very clean and the banks are largely undeveloped and wild. The current is unexpectedly strong and there are a few riffles you’ll get to […]Read More...
Upper Spring Brook
Last Paddled: May 13th, 2012
Put In: Spring Brook Landing
Take Out: Spring Brook Landing
If you plan on kayaking in the Dells/Lake Delton area, chances are you’ll do either Mirror Lake, the Upper Dells, the lower Dells, or even Lake Delton. Somewhat of a secret that most paddlers don’t know about is Spring Brook, which is a very cool creek north of Dell Creek and empties into Lake Delton […]Read More...
Last Paddled: May 5th, 2013
Put In: Lake Delton Boat Ramp
Take Out: Newport Park (Wisconsin River)
Lake Delton is quite different from its upstream sibling, Mirror Lake, in that it is dominated by large commercial interests and powerboats, while Mirror Lake largely consists of public land, modest residential homes, and paddlers taking advantage of the no-wake zones. If you do want to paddle Lake Delton, you’ll probably want to do so […]Read More...
Upper Dell Creek
Last Paddled: June 26th, 2010
Put In: Coon Bluff Road
Take Out: Delton Boat Landing (Lakeview Road)
To be clear, this is not the most popular or best section of Dell Creek, but is a pleasant little section that can be a trip unto itself or an extender for lower Dell Creek trips. Most kayakers do not go further west than the Delton Boat Landing (really no rock formations past this point, […]Read More...
Baraboo River – Wonewoc
Last Paddled: September 11th, 2011
Put In: Union Center - Hwy 33 Bridge
Take Out: Wonewoc - County Rd FF
This is as about upstream as you can get on the Baraboo. I believe you can put in further upstream (it seems deep enough…barely) but the main shuttle company in the area doesn’t like to because the river cuts through a golf course and their insurance company won’t cover this. This section is cleared out […]Read More...
Wisconsin River – Prairie du Sac Dam
Last Paddled: August 13th, 2011
Put In: Prairie du Sac Dam (VFW Park)
Take Out: Ferry Bluff or Arena
From the Prairie du Sac Dam to the Mississippi River is probably Wisconsin’s most popular all-around canoe and kayak destination (well…if not top, tied with the Kickapoo and St. Croix for popularity). A number of reasons why this section is so popular: It is not impeded by any dams Great sandbars (at least after Ferry […]Read More...
Last Paddled: August 6th, 2011
Put In: Lake Redstone South Beach
Take Out: Lake Redstone South Beach
One of the most under-rated paddling prospects in southern Wisconsin is Lake Redstone. On the face of it…this wouldn’t seem like a good paddling prospect. It’s merely a very large (more-so long) man-made lake with no helping current, little public property, lots of development and lots of power boats. But what makes this lake unique […]Read More...
Pine River – Far Upper
Last Paddled: July 23rd, 2011
Put In: Pier Natural Bridge County Park
Take Out: Hwy Aa Bridge (or better yet Dd Bridge)
The Pine River is an interesting prospect located between the Kickapoo River and Baraboo River, perhaps overlooked by so many river reviewers because Wisconsin already has three other rivers named ‘Pine River’ (one of which is a popular paddling location). The cool thing about the Pine River is the rock formations that run along the […]Read More...
Wisconsin River – Lower Dells
Last Paddled: July 16th, 2011
Put In: East of Mexicali-Rose
Take Out: Indian Trail Landing
The best place to start a trip on the Lower Dells IMO is to just put in below the Kilbourn dam on the west bank. Here is where Rivers Edge Resort drops off kayakers/canoers/tubers (they do rentals/shuttles). It’s not a proper boat landing but rather a specialized tour-boat landing with a rail system…so probably won’t […]Read More...
Baraboo River – City Section
Last Paddled: July 9th, 2011
Put In: Giese Park
Take Out: Glenville Landing
This 8 mile trip, finishing through the city of Baraboo, is probably the best and most popular section on the Baraboo River. The main trip starts at Giese Park, a county landing a couple miles west of the city of Baraboo. The trip starts at a moderate pace through farmland and a thin layer of […]Read More...
Last Paddled: August 28th, 2010
Put In: Ontario (one of the private landings or County P Bridge)
Take Out: Bridge #7
In terms of popularity the Kickapoo is one of the most popular canoe and kayak rivers in Wisconsin. Probably doesn’t have quite the rental volume of the lower Wisconsin River, but certainly has the highest paddler to river mile ratio in the state. What makes the Kickapoo attractive is the relatively clean water (at least […]Read More...
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
Last Paddled: August 14th, 2010
Put In: Meyer's Beach
Take Out: Meyer's Beach
There are a number of paddling opportunities on Lake Superior, but by far and away the best section is the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and surrounding area, which will be touched on in detail below. Kayaking on Lake Superior is obviously very different from river paddling, as the water can get very cold and the […]Read More...
Last Paddled: May 29th, 2010
Put In: Delton Boat landing
Take Out: Lake Delton Boat Ramp
This is a very good route and in fact would be a great introductory route for somebody who just purchased a kayak or is new to the sport. The only downsides are slow current and ‘people issues’ during the weekends, but all in all this is very nice. The water is pretty clean for the […]Read More...
Black Hawk Island
Last Paddled: May 29th, 2010
Put In: 28th Ave - Mile North of Upham Woods
Take Out: 28th Ave - Mile North of Upham Woods
A very nice trip in and of itself is the Blackhawk Island loop. It’s about 2.5 miles and the current isn’t too bad. The west side is protected from the big boats because it is relatively shallow (although private boats/jet skies can be a nuisance on the northwest side). The east side is the main […]Read More...