WisconsinRiverTrips.com - Water Trail Review Blog

Welcome to WisconsinRiverTrips.com! Here you'll find over 200 reviews for water trails throughout the state. Detailed maps, pictures, videos, depth information, mileage, and comments are provided so you can answer the question... Do I want to paddle this creek or river?

During paddling season (March to October), this blog usually averages one review per week. To be notified of new reviews, simply check the home page periodically (the newest reviews are at the top), or follow this channel on one of the following social media websites:

   

 

Arnold Creek


Date Paddled: May 29th, 2021
Put In: Fire Lane Rd
Take Out: Russell Memorial Park

Some of the best paddling in Wisconsin is on tributaries of the Black River, so this was an attempt to find yet another gem.  While it didn't live up to its neighbor creeks (it was a bit overgrown and bushy in spots), some parts of the creek were really nice.

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Rubicon River – Neosho


Date Paddled: May 22nd, 2021
Put In: Jefferson Rd
Take Out: Hale Road

Much of this trip was a flowage paddle...muddy, carp-infested and not super interesting.  The last part below the dam though was really nice with the highlights being several small boulder gardens and light rapids.

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Pecatonica River – Jones Branch Rd to Powell Rd


Date Paddled: May 16th, 2021
Put In: Jones Branch Rd
Take Out: Powell Rd

Another exploratory trip on the Upper Pecatonica.  This was a nice, peaceful stretch with a few outcrops, two sets of light rapids, and one serious logjam.

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Grand River – Hwy Q to Hwy A


Date Paddled: May 8th, 2021
Put In: Hwy Q
Take Out: Hwy A

This was a nice marsh paddle with the highlight being a ton of great wildlife.

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White River – West Branch


Date Paddled: April 30th, 2021
Put In: Cottonville Ave
Take Out: Cottonville Lane

This is a popular central Wisconsin trout stream that is a nice paddle.  It's a very clean river with little mud and crystal clear water.

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Maunesha River – Cherry Lane to Waterloo


Date Paddled: April 24th, 2021
Put In: Cherry Lane
Take Out: Waterloo Firemen's Park

With the removal of a couple of major logjams, the Maunesha has become one of the better water trails in the Madison area.  Highlights included lots of wildlife and fun Class 1 rapids through downtown Waterloo.

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Westfield Creek


Date Paddled: April 16th, 2021
Put In: Hwy A
Take Out: Pioneer Memorial Park

Incredible clarity and huge schools of fish highlight this obscure water trail.

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Pecatonica River – Sudan Branch


Date Paddled: April 11th, 2021
Put In: Cave Rd
Take Out: Harker Station Rd

A mixed trip.  Highlights included 6 rock outcrops, 2 scenic bluffs, fun riffles, and even a cave.  But on the downside there were a few logjams, several fences, and muddy banks.

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Little Grant River


Date Paddled: April 4th, 2021
Put In: Hwy A
Take Out: University Farm Rd

This was an exploratory trip on the Grant River's largest tributary that turned out surprisingly well.  Highlights were the fast riffles and scenic limestone outcrops.

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Pine River – Hwy 80 to Hwy D


Date Paddled: April 2nd, 2021
Put In: Hwy 80 (by Gardnerwall Ln)
Take Out: Hwy D (by Buck Creek)

This is one of the nicer paddles in the Driftless Area.  Trip highlights included 13 outcrops and paddling under a huge natural sandstone bridge.

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Chapman Creek


Date Paddled: March 26th, 2021
Put In: Gale Dr
Take Out: N. River Dr Landing

This is an obscure tributary to the Fox River.  While somewhat mutilated by extensive dredging, this is a nice paddle.

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Taylor Creek


Date Paddled: March 20th, 2021
Put In: West Church Road
Take Out: West Smith Road

This tributary of the Sugar River just south of Broadhead turned out to be a very nice paddle.  Highlights included a sandy bottom and surprisingly clear water.

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Rocky Run Creek – Dunning Rd to Hwy 51


Date Paddled: March 13th, 2021
Put In: Dunning Road
Take Out: Hwy 51

A nice creek, but logjams and low-hanging alder branches were a bit much

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Kickapoo River – Black Valley to Brookwood High


Date Paddled: March 7th, 2021
Put In: Hwy 131 (Black Valley)
Take Out: Hwy 131 (Brookwood High)

This is a fantastic but obscure stretch on the upper Kickapoo that few know about.  Trip highlights were the many pine-topped sandstone bluffs decorated with ice flows from frozen springs.  The river was also free of logjams--a past bane for paddlers.

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Lemonweir River – South Fork


Date Paddled: November 19th, 2020
Put In: Butts Park
Take Out: Forbes Road

This is an obscure stretch of the Lemonweir River located near Tomah.  While it enjoys good clarity and some surprisingly nice sandbars...it just has too many logjams to recommend.

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Pecatonica River – Roller Coaster Road to Wells Landing


Date Paddled: November 7th, 2020
Put In: Roller Coaster Road
Take Out: Wells Landing

While one of the nicer legs on the Lower Pecatonica, this stretch has been too badly damaged by floods and erosion to be considered a top prospect. 

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Story Creek


Date Paddled: November 3rd, 2020
Put In: Hwy 92
Take Out: Hwy X Landing

This is an obscure trout stream south of Madison.  There were some logjams, but it was a surprisingly nice paddle with incredible clarity.

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Otter Creek and Blackhawk Lake


Date Paddled: October 31st, 2020
Put In: Union Valley Road
Take Out: Plank Road

This was a combination trip that included parts of Upper Otter Creek and Blackhawk Lake.  Honestly it was a bit disappointing because of shallow water and strong winds.

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Maunesha River – Waterloo


Date Paddled: October 17th, 2020
Put In: Firemen's Park
Take Out: Hubbleton Road Access

The final leg of the Maunesha has recently benefited from some major cleanup work.  It is now a really nice wooded paddle.

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Little Wolf – South Branch


Date Paddled: October 10th, 2020
Put In: Hwy K
Take Out: Hwy 110/22

A nice fall color paddle on a somewhat obscure tributary to the Little Wolf.

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Wisconsin River – Biron to Wisconsin Rapids


Date Paddled: October 4th, 2020
Put In: Biron Dam by Hwy 66
Take Out: Veterans Memorial Park

This was a fun adventure that featured two dams, two paper mills, several scenic boulder gardens, and one tricky portage.

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Baraboo River – Rock Springs


Date Paddled: September 26th, 2020
Put In: Hwy 136/Ableman's Gorge
Take Out: North Freedom Park

This is one of the most scenic stretches on the entire Baraboo River.  Highlights include steep gorges, riverside boulders and scenic outcrops.

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Bad Axe River – South Fork


Date Paddled: September 19th, 2020
Put In: Hwy NN (1st bridge)
Take Out: Hwy N

A super scenic trout stream through "Coulee Country" with many fun rapids.

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Yellow River – North Wood County Park


Date Paddled: September 13th, 2020
Put In: North Wood County Park
Take Out: Little Bull Falls

Yet another underrated Central Wisconsin paddle that is super scenic and has a lot of fun rapids.  This is a tough river to time though as it is often too low or too high.

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Flambeau River


Date Paddled: August 29th, 2020
Put In: Camp 41 Landing
Take Out: Beaver Dam Landing

A guest review for the Flambeau River near the confluence of the North and South Forks.

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Milwaukee River – West Bend


Date Paddled: September 5th, 2020
Put In: Washington Street Dam
Take Out: Quaas Creek Park

The removal of the Woolen Mills Dam has revealed one of the nicer stretches of the Milwaukee River.  Highlights include great current, attractive urban riverfront and scenic prairies.

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Little Wolf River – Manawa


Date Paddled: August 29th, 2020
Put In: Sturm Memorial Library
Take Out: Cty Road Bb

While not the best stretch on the Little Wolf, it was a pleasant paddle.  Highlights included large boulder gardens and long flowing strands of potamogeton.

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Lake Delton


Date Paddled: August 23rd, 2020
Put In: Mirror Lake Boat Launch
Take Out: Newport Park

This is a busy lake paddle that isn't super interesting but does allow paddlers to see some iconic tourist attractions and amphibious ducks.  The trip highlights are the inlets and outlets to the Lake which have fantastic rock outcrops.

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Wisconsin River – Dekorra to Lake Wisconsin


Date Paddled: August 16th, 2020
Put In: Dekorra Landing
Take Out: James Whalen Memorial Park

A terrific section with rock outcrops, large island deltas, hidden sloughs, and nice sandbars.  Unfortunately this part of the river is popular with motorboats and jet skis which can be a plague.

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Turtle Creek – East Creek Road


Date Paddled: August 8th, 2020
Put In: East Creek Road
Take Out: Hwy 140

Good current, clear water, and surprise limestone bluffs highlight another nice trip on the Turtle.

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Black River – West Clay School Road


Date Paddled: August 1st, 2020
Put In: West Clay School Road
Take Out: Powerhouse Road Landing

One of the best water trails in Wisconsin with spectacular scenery and top-notch rapids.

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Eau Claire River – Wausau Area


Date Paddled: July 23rd, 2020
Put In: Clubhouse Road
Take Out: Ross Road

A guest review for the Eau Claire River by Wausau.

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Grant River – Hwy U


Date Paddled: July 25th, 2020
Put In: Hwy U
Take Out: Camel Ridge Road

Fast current, beautiful scenery, 9+ sandstone outcrops, fun rapids, and zero logjams--another winning trip on the Grant River.

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Mill Creek


Date Paddled: July 19th, 2020
Put In: Robin Lane
Take Out: Ole River Road Landing

This is another goldilocks stream that is difficult to time.  But at the right depth this contains some of the most fun Class 2 whitewater in Central Wisconsin.

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Mississippi River – McCartney Lake


Date Paddled: July 12th, 2020
Put In: Lynn Hollow Boat Launch
Take Out: Lynn Hollow Boat Launch

Hidden in the backwaters between Cassville and the Grant River are a series of cool outcrops and sloughs.

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Duck Creek


Date Paddled: July 5th, 2020
Put In: Wyocena Public Boat Ramp
Take Out: Hwy G

This is an obscure tributary to the Wisconsin River located near Portage.  While not an elite prospect, it's a pleasant paddle with good clarity.

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Lake Arbutus


Date Paddled: June 27th, 2020
Put In: Hwy 95
Take Out: West Arbutus County Ramp

Lake Arbutus is a busy lake which can have heavy boat traffic and challenging waves.  However, the Black River immediately preceding and following the lake is incredibly scenic.

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Baraboo River – Wayside Park


Date Paddled: June 21st, 2020
Put In: Wayside Park
Take Out: Kalepp Road

Although muddy and weed-lined, this otherwise uninteresting section of the "Boo" is the location of three scenic sandstone outcrops, including one of the biggest on the entire river.

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Oconomowoc River – Loew Lake


Date Paddled: June 13th, 2020
Put In: St. Augustine Road
Take Out: County Line Road

This trip was a twist on the classic Loew Lake section of the Oconomowoc River.  While most prefer to paddle this as an up-and-back...we decided to do this as a one-way trip starting from St. Augustine Road.

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Eau Claire River – Hwy D to Big Falls Park


Date Paddled: June 6th, 2020
Put In: Hwy D
Take Out: Big Falls County Park

This was a pleasant trip that included many nice sandbars, several granite outcrops, and one set of fun Class 2 rapids.  The highlight was Big Falls which has an impressive 15' descent and was quite photogenic.

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Big Eau Pleine River – March Rapids Park


Date Paddled: May 30th, 2020
Put In: March Rapids Park
Take Out: Big Rapids Park

This is a tricky water trail to time, but when done at the right depth it's a lot of fun.  Highlights included seven Class 1 rapids and two Class 2's.

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Wisconsin River – Pine Island


Date Paddled: May 25th, 2020
Put In: Pine Island Boat Ramp
Take Out: Hwy 33 Access

This is an obscure section of the Wisconsin River sandwiched between the Lower Dells and Portage.  It's not an elite stretch of the Wisconsin because of its lack of unique features...but it does have many nice sandbars.

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Baraboo River – Schultz Park


Date Paddled: May 23rd, 2020
Put In: Schultz Park
Take Out: Hwy 82

An exploratory adventure on the far upper Baraboo.  Highlights included four outcrops, but deadfall was a nuisance and I did have to portage several times.

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Baraboo River – Kalepp Road


Date Paddled: May 16th, 2020
Put In: Kalepp Road
Take Out: N. Dutch Hollow Road

This is an obscure section of the Baraboo River that has some nice outcrops and a terrific bike shuttle.  Unfortunately mud and downed trees were an eyesore.

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Pine River – Apache Road to Covered Bridge Road


Date Paddled: May 9th, 2020
Put In: Apache Road
Take Out: Covered Bridge Road

A scenic water trail sandwiched between the Waupaca and Mecan Rivers.  Unfortunately logjams were a serious problem.

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Lemonweir River – East Fork


Date Paddled: May 3rd, 2020
Put In: Buckley Ave
Take Out: Hwy 173

This is one of the nicer stretches on the Lemonweir River.  Highlights on this super sandy stretch include many pine trees and clear red water.  There were a handful of logjams that had to be portaged but they weren't that difficult.

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Stony Creek and Robinson Creek


Date Paddled: April 25th, 2020
Put In: Kelly Road
Take Out: Fall Hall Road

This was a bit of an unusual trip that combined two scenic creeks.  Logjams were an issue on Stony Creek, but Lower Robinson was a positive experience.

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Little Turtle Creek


Date Paddled: April 18th, 2020
Put In: S. County Line Road
Take Out: County Road N

This is an overlooked sibling to the much more popular Turtle Creek.  Highlights for this Ice Age paddle include good current and fantastic clarity.

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Rattlesnake Creek


Date Paddled: April 11th, 2020
Put In: Muscallounge Road
Take Out: Hwy 81

Grant County's best kept secret.

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Scuppernong Creek


Date Paddled: April 4th, 2020
Put In: Hwy 18/Sunset Dr
Take Out: Manor House Road Boat Ramp

An amazing "Ice Age Paddle" with the highlights being natural springs and clear water...all in all very reminiscent of the Upper Mecan River.

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Otter Creek


Date Paddled: March 7th, 2020
Put In: Hwy Q
Take Out: Hwy II

This was another "roll-of-the-dice" prospect that turned out better than expected.  Otter Creek is a somewhat obscure stream that does attract occasional trout fishermen.  As a paddling prospect it was surprisingly nice with clear water, light rapids and scenic bluffs.

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Bittersweet Lakes State Natural Area (SNA)


Date Paddled: August 6th, 2019
Put In: Prong Lake or Bittersweet Lake
Take Out: Prong Lake or Bittersweet Lake

If you have been wanting to do a BWCA trip, but don't have the time or are not sure if it is the thing for you, this may be just the trip for you.  It's like a mini BWCA but only 3.5 hours from Madison.

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Black Creek


Date Paddled: October 27th, 2019
Put In: Eagle Road
Take Out: Hwy Y

An obscure creek near Princeton that's mostly a marsh paddle.  Although repetitive at times, the scenery was surprisingly good with the highlight being swaths of tamaracks turning color.

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Bark River – Merton


Date Paddled: October 20th, 2019
Put In: Merton Dam
Take Out: Bark River Park

Another Ice Age paddle with some great fall color.  While the upper Bark River has some five star scenery, there are a few logjams to deal with.

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Mecan Springs


Date Paddled: October 6th, 2019
Put In: Mecan Springs Boat Ramp
Take Out: 9th Ave

This was a great trip that explored the spring-water origins of the Mecan River.

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Grant River – Jones Branch (Hwy 61)


Date Paddled: September 28th, 2019
Put In: Hwy 61
Take Out: Mt. Ridge Road

This is about as far upstream on the Grant River that you can paddle.  There are some fun rapids and scenic outcrops...but there is a lot of mud and pasture to deal with.  There are also 3-4 logjams, one of which forced me to take an unplanned swim.

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Rock Creek


Date Paddled: September 22nd, 2019
Put In: Rock Creek Road
Take Out: River Road

The shallowest and rockiest stream I've ever paddled.  It is however incredibly scenic and if done at the right water levels could be an amazing paddle.

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Crawfish River


Date Paddled: September 14th, 2019
Put In: Udey Dam - Columbus
Take Out: Danville Dam - Hwy T

The Crawfish isn't the greatest of paddling rivers, but there is a nice exception located between Columbus and the Danville Dam that is worth checking out.

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Cedar Creek – Cedarburg


Date Paddled: September 7th, 2019
Put In: Estate Bridge
Take Out: Pioneer Road

With limestone dells, rapids, boulder gardens, cedars, and stunningly clear water this is one of the most scenic water trails in southeast Wisconsin.  However...it can also be one of the most shallow.  Timing is everything with this paddle.

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Sugar River – Belleville


Date Paddled: August 31st, 2019
Put In: Belleville Community Park
Take Out: Exeter Park

This is one of the nicer water trails on the Sugar River.  Highlights include great access points, a few surprise sandbars, and an attractive wooded section.

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Grant River – Camel Ridge Road


Date Paddled: August 24th, 2019
Put In: Camel Ridge Road
Take Out: Chaffie Hollow Road

Between the back fields and hidden valleys of the Driftless Area flows one of the most popular tubing stretches in the state.  Despite the heavy tube traffic, this segment of the Grant is still a great kayak trip, with highlights being good current, sandstone outcrops, and a fantastic "dripping rock."

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Eau Claire River – Bear Lake Road to Hwy 52


Date Paddled: August 17th, 2019
Put In: Bear Lake Road
Take Out: Hwy 52

One of central Wisconsin's best.  Dense boulder gardens, fun rapids, and clear water make this a fantastic paddle.

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Bark River – Hartland


Date Paddled: August 10th, 2019
Put In: Bark River Park
Take Out: Delafield Post Offcie

A varied paddle with a mixture of light whitewater, lake, marsh, and urban paddling.  Overall a nice trip but could be an elite trip if a few logjams were to be cleared out.

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Wisconsin River – Arena to Spring Green


Date Paddled: August 3rd, 2019
Put In: Arena Landing
Take Out: Hwy 14 Landing

A return to the Lower Wisconsin with its broad waters and scenic grandeur.  This popular stretch is known for its sandbars and has one of the highest concentrations on the river.

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Badfish Creek – Hwy A to Old Stage Road


Date Paddled: July 27th, 2019
Put In: Hwy A
Take Out: Old Stage Road

While the lower Badfish gets a lot of kayak traffic, few care to paddle the upper Badfish.  Are they avoiding it for a reason?  Time to find out...

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Wazee Lake


Date Paddled: July 21st, 2019
Put In: Wazee Lake Beach
Take Out: Wazee Lake Beach

Hidden just east of Black River Falls is the state's deepest and clearest lake.   This is a popular paddle with locals, with the highlight being a fantastic beach and scenic red cliffs.

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Fox River – Swan Lake to Portage


Date Paddled: July 13th, 2019
Put In: Swan Lake Boat Ramp
Take Out: Hwy 33 Wayside

Yet another marsh paddle and lake/creek combo that was very nice.  Highlights included great clarity, fantastic cloud reflections, and the most dragonflies I've ever seen.

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Rubicon River – West Side Park to Hwy 60


Date Paddled: July 7th, 2019
Put In: West Side Park
Take Out: Hwy 60

This was not as nice as my last Rubicon trip because of some deadfall issues, but this segment does have a lot of potential, especially in the second half where there are many light rapids.

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Rock Lake


Date Paddled: June 29th, 2019
Put In: Hwy A
Take Out: Bartel's Beach

Overdeveloped and packed with powerboats, Rock Lake can be a bit crazy for kayaking.  What makes Rock Lake unique are its famous underwater pyramids, but unfortunately you can't see these from a kayak.

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Wolf River – Langlade to Wild Wolf Inn


Date Paddled: June 9th, 2019
Put In: Langlade Landing
Take Out: Wild Wolf Inn

One of the best whitewater stretches in the entire state of Wisconsin.

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Mud Lake


Date Paddled: June 29th, 2019
Put In: Sandhill Station Boat Ramp
Take Out: Sandhill Station Boat Ramp

Mud Lake is one of the nicer marsh paddles I've done.  This was an unplanned round trip because of some unexpected adversity, but it still turned out well.

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Maunesha River – Hwy TT to Lion’s Park


Date Paddled: June 22nd, 2019
Put In: Hwy TT
Take Out: Lion's Park in Marshall

Thanks to recent cleanup efforts, this part of the upper Maunesha is now a viable water trail.  This isn't a five star trip and the current is pretty slow, but it does have some neat parts.

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Allen Creek


Date Paddled: June 16th, 2019
Put In: Lake Leota Park
Take Out: Hwy 59

An interesting paddle with a scenic park, thick canopied forest, and an open wetland.  While it has its highlights, upper Allen Creek likely won't be a destination paddle for most because of several logjams.

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Black River – Neillsville


Date Paddled: June 8th, 2019
Put In: Hill Road
Take Out: Opelt Ave Launch

One of my personal favorite sections of the Black River.  Highlights include stunning boulder gardens, rugged granite banks and fun whitewater.

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Bad Axe River – North Fork


Date Paddled: June 2nd, 2019
Put In: Duck Egg Park / Irish Ridge Road
Take Out: Hwy O

Winding through the coulee region of southwest Wisconsin, the North Fork offers scenic driftless hills and numerous fun rapids--one of the fastest rivers I've ever paddled.

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Big Eau Pleine River – Cherokee Park


Date Paddled: May 25th, 2019
Put In: Cherokee Park
Take Out: Hazelnut Road

The Big Eau Pleine is one of the most underrated paddles in central Wisconsin.  Clean, fast, and with many granite boulder gardens, this has been my favorite trip to date for 2019.

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Wingra Creek


Date Paddled: May 18th, 2019
Put In: Vilas Park
Take Out: Olin Park

Connecting two of Madison's great lakes, Wingra Creek is an artificial creek that honestly isn't too exciting but may appeal to locals. 

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Upper Yahara River


Date Paddled: May 11th, 2019
Put In: Veteran's Memorial Park
Take Out: Sunfish Pond

Located north of Lake Mendota by DeForest, the Upper Yahara River is no more than a creek...but a fun creek at that with great wildlife, clarity, boulder gardens, rapids and other surprises.  This might be the best paddle in all of Dane County.

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Castle Rock Creek – Snow Bottom


Date Paddled: May 4th, 2019
Put In: Hwy Q
Take Out: Witek Road

Flowing through hidden valleys and steep hillsides, the Snow Bottom portion of Castle Rock Creek is a neat paddle with some fun rapids.  Unfortunately some large mud banks and a few logjams did detract from the experience.

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Belle Fountain Creek


Date Paddled: April 28th, 2019
Put In: Gillette Drive
Take Out: Hwy B

Not a super exotic trip, but a pleasant marsh paddle with highlights being great water clarity, plentiful waterfowl, and some surprise sandbars.

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Pecatonica River – Mifflin


Date Paddled: April 21st, 2019
Put In: Hwy G
Take Out: Cty Road E

How far upstream can you paddle the Pecatonica River?  Time to find out...

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Bass Creek


Date Paddled: April 13th, 2019
Put In: Old Hwy 11
Take Out: County Road H

This tributary to the Rock River, located west of Janesville, is an artificially straightened creek that isn't super exotic.  But it does have great current, good clarity and no logjams.

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Rubicon River


Date Paddled: April 6th, 2019
Put In: Hilldale Drive
Take Out: West Side Park

Another Ice Age paddle that turned out surprisingly well.  This was mostly an urban segment through downtown Hartford with the highlights being attractive bridges, riverside architecture, light rapids and good clarity.

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Dell Creek & Upper Mirror Lake


Date Paddled: March 31st, 2019
Put In: Coon Bluff Road
Take Out: Mirror Lake State Park - Main Ramp

Located near Wisconsin Dells, Dell Creek is a secluded and pleasant trout stream.  After Hwy 23 it morphs into Mirror Lake which is a unique paddling experience.

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Ashippun River


Date Paddled: March 23rd, 2019
Put In: Hwy O
Take Out: Hwy P (1st bridge)

A surprisingly nice paddle on the Upper Ashippun River.  Highlights included clear water, abundant wildlife, and a few light rapids created by glacial outwash.

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Grant River – Rogers Branch


Date Paddled: October 27th, 2018
Put In: Mt. Ridge Road
Take Out: Pine Knob Road

The far upper portion of the Grant River (called the Rogers Branch) is actually navigable during high water.  This was a surprisingly nice trip through trout-land with no logjams, fun rapids and scenic limestone rock formations.

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Sugar River – White Crossing Road to Valley Road


Date Paddled: October 22nd, 2018
Put In: White Crossing Road
Take Out: Valley Road

This is about as far upstream as you can paddle on the Sugar River.  Although not super exotic, this is still a pleasant paddle through open grasslands and marsh.

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Devil’s Lake


Date Paddled: October 13th, 2018
Put In: Elephant Rock Parking Lot
Take Out: Elephant Rock Parking Lot

Wisconsin's most popular state park is a fantastic spot for beginner kayakers.  With crystal clear water and flanked by tall quartzite bluffs, this is one of the truly special areas in the state.

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Tainter Creek


Date Paddled: October 6th, 2018
Put In: Hwy B (by Kielen Road)
Take Out: Hwy B (by Pine Knob Road)

Hidden in southwest Wisconsin next to the Kickapoo River is an obscure trout stream that is typically too shallow to run.  With enough water however it is a viable paddle with fun whitewater and scenic driftless vistas.

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Root River


Date Paddled: September 29th, 2018
Put In: 6 Mile Road
Take Out: Hwy 31

Located near Racine, this is a popular paddling river with locals.  It starts slow and not super interesting, but after 4 Mile Road there is a great section of rapids and boulder gardens.

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Oconomowoc River – Monches to West Shore Drive


Date Paddled: September 22nd, 2018
Put In: Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive/Monches Dam
Take Out: West Shore Drive

An "Up North" river hiding in suburban Milwaukee.  Highlights include clear water, boulder gardens, scenic bridges, fun rapids and attractive marshes.  Only a few logjams prevent this from being a five star trip.

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Pecatonica River – Powell Road to Oak Park Road


Date Paddled: September 16th, 2018
Put In: Powell Road
Take Out: Oak Park Road

An obscure section of the Pecatonica flowing through the heart of cow country.  Highlights include attractive rolling green hills, oak savannas, and one sandstone outcrop.  Unfortunately few will paddle this stretch because of four low fences.

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Illinois River and Starved Rock


Date Paddled: September 8th, 2018
Put In: Lone Point Shelter
Take Out: Lone Point Shelter

A first-time paddle on the Illinois River which featured spectacular wildlife and tall sandstone cliffs.  The trip itself was overshadowed by nearby Starved Rock, which is one of of Illinois' best parks.

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Black River – East Fork: Overguard Rd to Campground Rd


Date Paddled: September 1st, 2018
Put In: Overguard Road
Take Out: East Fork Campground

The last, best, and most popular stretch of the East Fork.  A scenic wilderness trip with fun Class 1-2 rapids and attractive granite boulder gardens.

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Waupaca River: Amherst to Otto Road


Date Paddled: August 26th, 2018
Put In: Mill Street in Amherst
Take Out: Otto Road

One of Central Wisconsin's finest paddles with plentiful rapids and clear water.  The highlights are the boulder gardens which are among the best in the state.

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Yahara River: Viking Park to Stebbinsville Dam Road


Date Paddled: August 25th, 2018
Put In: Viking County Park in Stoughton
Take Out: Stebbinsville Dam Road

A guest review for the Lower Yahara River near Stoughton.  Done during high water, pollution was an issue.  While having interesting parts, this trip did require two dam portages and did have some wide monotonous sections.

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Milwaukee River – Downtown


Date Paddled: August 18th, 2018
Put In: Riverside Park
Take Out: McKinley Marina

A fantastic paddle on the last segment of the Milwaukee River, which flows through the heart of downtown Milwaukee. Highlights include Wisconsin's tallest buildings, fantastic architecture, moveable bridges, large tour boats, and a great view of the Milwaukee Riverwalk.

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Grant River: University Farm Road to Short Cut Road


Date Paddled: August 11th, 2018
Put In: University Farm Road
Take Out: Short Cut Road

An obscure upstream segment on the Grant River that was a mixed bag.  The access spots were a bit challenging and the water a bit muddy...but there were some nice limestone outcrops and rapids.

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Six Mile Creek: Woodland Drive to Lake Mendota


Date Paddled: August 4th, 2018
Put In: Woodland Drive
Take Out: Governor Nelson State Park

Recently cleared of logjams, lower Six Mile Creek is Dane County's newest water trail.  This was a diverse trip that included dense woodlands, marsh, and paddling on Lake Mendota.  All in all a pleasant trip with the highlight being the diverse and unique plant life.

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Black River: Melrose to North Bend


Date Paddled: July 28th, 2018
Put In: Melrose Landing
Take Out: North Bend Landing

A "Wisconsin River Junior" south of Black River Falls with fantastic sandbars, good livery services, and great camping options.  This is one of the better and more popular sections on the Lower Black.

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Beaver Creek


Date Paddled: July 21st, 2018
Put In: Mill Road
Take Out: Cooper Road

With some massive 150' high cliffs and fun Class 2 rapids this is a neat tributary to the Black River.  The only issue is you have to do some upstream wading to see the best parts.

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Turtle Creek – Beloit


Date Paddled: July 15th, 2018
Put In: Town of Turtle Canoe Launch
Take Out: Hwy 81/Milwaukee Road

With no obstructions and good current, this trip is perfect for lazy paddlers.  While mostly through the outskirts of Beloit, this is a relatively clean creek with densely wooded banks, and lush jungle-like vegetation.

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Little Platte River: Hwy O to Church Road


Date Paddled: July 7th, 2018
Put In: Hwy O
Take Out: Church Road

An exploratory paddle on the Lower Little Platte River that turned out surprisingly well. Highlights included limestone outcrops, driftless vistas, many light rapids, and no logjams.

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Baraboo River: Gander Outdoors to Glenville Landing


Date Paddled: June 30th, 2018
Put In: Gander Outdoors
Take Out: Glenville Landing/Hwy 113

Of all Baraboo River segments this is my favorite.  The highlight was the rapids which are among the best and most fun for beginner whitewater paddlers in Southern Wisconsin.

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Milwaukee River: Quaas Creek to Goeden Park


Date Paddled: June 23rd, 2018
Put In: Quaas Creek Park
Take Out: Goeden Park/Hwy M

A return to the Upper Milwaukee River for a pleasant and easy float.  Highlights include little development, clear water, and good access options.

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Starkweather Creek


Date Paddled: June 16th, 2018
Put In: Washington Manor Park
Take Out: Olbrich Park/Lakeland Ave

An urban paddle with not a lot of natural beauty but interesting never-the-less.  Highlights include some scenic bridges and Olbrich Gardens.

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Six Mile Creek


Date Paddled: June 9th, 2018
Put In: Ripp Park
Take Out: Castle Creek Conservancy

This Lake Mendota tributary was a nice paddle with only a few logjams.  Highlights include a marsh, rapids, some scenic parks, 17 total bridges, and even a few boulder gardens.

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Whitewater Creek


Date Paddled: June 2nd, 2018
Put In: Willis Ray Road
Take Out: Hwy U

This spring-fed tributary to the Bark River was a diverse paddle and very nice.  The upper portions consisted of mostly marsh and flowage paddling, but the lower portion through town and by the campus was fantastic with fun rapids, tree tunnels and great water clarity.

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Plover River – Pinery Road


Date Paddled: May 26th, 2018
Put In: Pinery Road
Take Out: Shantytown Drive

While not as nice as upstream sections of the Plover, this was still a solid paddle with good current, clear water, and wooded banks filled with pines, cedars and firs.

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Dickey Creek


Date Paddled: May 19th, 2018
Put In: Hwy K
Take Out: Pettibone Pass

This small creek near Black River Falls cuts steeply through white pine topped sandstone gorges to reveal stunning scenery.  Typically I would consider a paddle like this not only five stars, but among the best in the state.   But there is one (well many) problems that will ensure that few paddle this gem.

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Big Rib River – Amco Park


Date Paddled: May 13th, 2018
Put In: Amco Park
Take Out: Hwy A

A nice paddle with clean water, good scenery, decent current, and no hazards.  This is an easy stretch well suited to beginners and locals wanting to experience the Big Rib for the first time.

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Pecatonica River – Mineral Point Branch


Date Paddled: May 5th, 2018
Put In: Ludden Lake Boat Ramp
Take Out: North Oak Park Road

If you can catch the Mineral Point Branch with enough water you'll be rewarded with a nice paddle through open pastures, rolling green hills,  sandstone outcrops, and light rapids.

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Hemlock Creek


Date Paddled: April 29th, 2018
Put In: Hwy 73
Take Out: Hemlock Road

With fun rapids and beautiful granite rock formations, this obscure tributary to the Yellow River is a central Wisconsin gem.

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Pecatonica River – Dodge Branch


Date Paddled: April 22nd, 2018
Put In: Sunny Ridge Road
Take Out: Hwy W

One of the better kept paddling secrets in the driftless area.  Highlights include fantastic sandstone outcrops, good current, and not a single logjam. 

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Little Sugar River


Date Paddled: March 18th, 2018
Put In: Valle Tell Soccer Park in New Glarus
Take Out: Exeter Crossing Road

Despite extensive reconstruction for trout and past channel changes by farmers, the Upper Little Sugar is a fun little river with light rapids, clear water and surprisingly few logjams.

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Black Earth Creek – Winter Paddle


Date Paddled: January 20th, 2018
Put In: Olson Road
Take Out: Wolf Run Trailhead Landing

A guest winter review for a short segment on Black Earth Creek from Olson Road to the new Wolf Run Trail Landing.

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Neenah Creek – Hwy P


Date Paddled: December 3rd, 2017
Put In: Hwy P
Take Out: Grouse Drive

A return to Neenah Creek to check out its middle portion.  This is an open wetgrass paddle that isn't overly exciting, but does have some subtle beauty.

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Gordon Creek


Date Paddled: November 24th, 2017
Put In: Sandy Rock Road (1st)
Take Out: Hwy A

This small driftless stream is quite nice with fast current, clear water, and sandstone outcrops.  Just skip the downstream parts, which have some serious logjam issues.

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Blue River – Snow Bottom


Date Paddled: October 21st, 2017
Put In: Bowers Road
Take Out: Shemak Road

A paddle through a narrow, hidden valley features blufftop outcrops, relict pines, giant boulders, and classic driftless scenery.  The best trip of 2017 and one of the best paddles in Southern Wisconsin.

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Popple River


Date Paddled: October 16th, 2017
Put In: Hwy N
Take Out: Wayside Park / Hwy 73

This relatively unknown tributary of the Black River features some fun Class 2 rapids, scenic boulder gardens and even a few granite outcrops.

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Mecan River – Cumberland Road


Date Paddled: October 8th, 2017
Put In: Cumberland Road
Take Out: 11th Road

Rarely paddled, the far upper Mecan has a few obstacles but also some of its best scenery, with almost perfect water clarity and beautiful white pines.

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Mississippi River – Goose Island


Date Paddled: September 30th, 2017
Put In: Goose Island - Northernmost Boat Ramp
Take Out: Goose Island - Northernmost Boat Ramp

Located on the Mississippi south of La Crosse, Goose Island is a popular wildlife area.  An official canoe trail circumnavigates the island with the highlight being the Mississippi bluffs.

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Badger Mill Creek


Date Paddled: September 16th, 2017
Put In: Hwy PB
Take Out: Hwy 69 - Sugar River

A trip for the adventurous paddler that offers an entertaining challenge, crystal clear water, varied terrain, abundant wildlife, and with several put-in/takeout possibilities and an easy bike shuttle option, it could be a welcome addition to your local “after work” paddling options.

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Manitowoc River


Date Paddled: September 23rd, 2017
Put In: Clark Mills - Mill Street Landing
Take Out: North Union Road

A great trip east of Lake Winnebago with a mostly undeveloped shoreline, fast current and dolomite dells.  The highlight is Little Cato Falls which is a scenic 4' ledge in the river.

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Oconomowoc River – Fowler Park


Date Paddled: September 16th, 2017
Put In: Fowler Park
Take Out: North Golden Lake Road

Last of the Oconomowoc chain of lakes, this suburban paddle features lake paddling, two dam portages, some nice marshy sections, and crystal clear water.

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Turtle Creek


Date Paddled: September 10th, 2017
Put In: School Section Road
Take Out: East Creek Road

Clear water, springs, a multitude of fish and a lack of mud, make this one of the nicer paddles of the year.

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Trempealeau River – Perrot State Park


Date Paddled: September 4th, 2017
Put In: Trempealeau State Park - Boat Landing
Take Out: Trempealeau State Park - Boat Landing

The Voyageurs Canoe Trail is a scenic and popular round-trip located at the mouth of the Trempealeau River.  Highlights consist of an attractive marsh and the towering bluffs of Trempeauleau Mountain and Brady's Bluff.

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Rock River – Hustisford


Date Paddled: September 2nd, 2017
Put In: Lions Park - Hustisford
Take Out: Elmwood Road

One of the better Lower Rock sections that starts really nice with a cool boulder garden.  Unfortunately, that was the only major highlight as the rest of the trip was a bit too slow, muddy, and simple.

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Koshkonong Creek


Date Paddled: August 26th, 2017
Put In: Jefferson Street, Cambridge
Take Out: Hoopen Road

A popular paddling creek located by Cambridge, Wisconsin.  Well-maintained and with nice areas, but the sheer amount of mud detracts from the overall experience.

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Wedges Creek – Snyder Park


Date Paddled: August 19th, 2017
Put In: Snyder Park
Take Out: Middle Road

A bonanza of sandstone outcrops and granite boulder gardens make this a special paddle.  Just don't attempt to do it during low water.

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Token Creek


Date Paddled: August 12th, 2017
Put In: Elmer and Edna Culver Wetlands Conservancy
Take Out: Daentl Road

Token Creek is the biggest tributary to Lake Mendota and hosts the largest natural springs in all of Southern Wisconsin.  While most paddlers do the lower portions, the secret to this creek is its scenic headwaters.

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East Twin River


Date Paddled: August 9th, 2017
Put In: Mishicot Village Park
Take Out: Paddler's Park - Two Rivers

A guest review for the East Twin River.   A nice prospect but with some logjam issues.

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Wisconsin River – Lone Rock


Date Paddled: August 7th, 2017
Put In: Lone Rock Boat Landing
Take Out: Gotham Boat Landing

One of the most scenic sections of the Lower Wisconsin that includes a 2.3 mile stretch of sandstone outcrops, huge sandbars, interesting sloughs, and impressive sand banks.

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White River – Sheridan Springs Road


Date Paddled: July 30th, 2017
Put In: Sheridan Springs Road (1st bridge)
Take Out: Riverview Park (Mill Street)

A surprisingly nice river that flows out of Geneva Lake and enjoys good water clarity and long stretches of fun rapids.

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Black River – Power House Road


Date Paddled: July 23rd, 2017
Put In: Powerhouse Landing
Take Out: Halls Creek Landing

Perhaps the best section on the Black River featuring Class 1-2 rapids and scenic granite boulder gardens.

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Whitewater Creek


Date Paddled: July 15th, 2017
Put In: Simon Road
Take Out: Hwy D61

Another Iowa driftless paddle, but this time a good one!  Flowing through one of Iowa's few true canyons, highlights include fun light rapids and the largest boulders I've ever seen.

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Little Maquoketa River


Date Paddled: July 8th, 2017
Put In: Burtons Furnace Road - Durango
Take Out: Herber Road

North of Dubuque, Iowa, this Mississippi tributary brims with potential but honestly was somewhat of a letdown and was likely the muddiest trip I've ever done.

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Plover River – Hwy K


Date Paddled: July 4th, 2017
Put In: Hwy K
Take Out: Jordan County Park

Not as elite as other Plover segments, but this diverse paddle is still enjoyable and has some fun surprises at the end.

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Eau Claire River – South Fork


Date Paddled: July 2nd, 2017
Put In: Koehlers Ford Forest Road
Take Out: Hwy H

This is a pleasant wilderness paddle with nothing too special, but does contain the most sand and gravel bars I've ever witnessed for a trip.

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Fever River – Bean Street


Date Paddled: June 24th, 2017
Put In: Bean Street
Take Out: Hwy W

If you are willing to duck under a few fences, this section will reward you with amazing limestone outcrops and fun rapids.

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Wyalusing


Date Paddled: June 18th, 2017
Put In: Wyalusing State Park - Long Valley Road Launch
Take Out: Wyalusing State Park - Long Valley Road Launch

At the junction of Wisconsin's greatest rivers is one of its finest parks.  While normally known for its scenic overlooks, a unique way to experience Wyalusing is to paddle its popular water trail.

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Bridge Creek


Date Paddled: June 10th, 2017
Put In: Hwy V
Take Out: Harstad Park

Access is difficult by a scenic mill house, but once you're on the creek, it's a fun ride through rocky dells, over splashy rapids, and past striking sandbanks.

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Fond du Lac River


Date Paddled: June 4th, 2017
Put In: Hwy 23
Take Out: Rogersville Road - East Segment

Sandwiched between the Eldorado Marsh and downtown Fond du Lac is a really neat paddling prospect with narrow riffly corridors, small boulder gardens and clear water.

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Oconto River


Date Paddled: May 12th, 2017
Put In: Hwy 64
Take Out: Bagley Rapids Campground

A fun fast section of the upper Oconto River that flows through the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.

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Red River


Date Paddled: May 12th, 2017
Put In: Red River Park (Lower Lake Road)
Take Out: Hwy A

A guest review for the Red River, a whitewater river located in northeastern Wisconsin.

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Kinnickinnic River


Date Paddled: May 16th, 2017
Put In: Glen Park, River Falls
Take Out: Hwy F

Guest reviewer Sumner Matteson describes an unforgettable environment filled with "dripping greens" and 85 species of birds.

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Big Rib River


Date Paddled: May 28th, 2017
Put In: Lemke Drive
Take Out: Hwy 64

Pleasant, but not exotic, this segment on the far upper Big Rib has a different character relative to its downstream siblings.

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Melancthon Creek


Date Paddled: May 21st, 2017
Put In: Hwy 80 (by Ek Lane)
Take Out: Hwy 80 (south of Hwy C)

A driftless gem with perhaps the highest concentration of sandstone outcrops in Southern Wisconsin.

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Pine River – Quarry Drive


Date Paddled: May 14th, 2017
Put In: Quarry Drive
Take Out: Shellington Drive

Logjams and mud make for an underwhelming trip.  There are nice parts on the river though if you stick it out to the end.

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Blue River


Date Paddled: May 6th, 2017
Put In: Bluff Road
Take Out: Bowers Road

A spectacular paddling prospect hidden in the driftless area of southwest Wisconsin.  Fun rapids, hidden valleys, boulders, and occasional outcrops make this the favorite paddle to date for 2017.

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Willow Creek – Richland County


Date Paddled: April 23rd, 2017
Put In: Hwy 58 - 2nd Bridge
Take Out: Hwy 58 - 3rd Bridge

Richland County's best kept secret is a scenic bonanza with some of the taller sandstone outcrops you'll see in Southern Wisconsin.

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Kickapoo River – Wilton


Date Paddled: June 5th, 2016
Put In: Wilton - Public Campground
Take Out: Nicolette Ave/Hwy 131

A guest review for the far upper stretch of the Kickapoo River.  A beautiful segment but with some logjam issues.

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Beaver Dam River


Date Paddled: April 17th, 2017
Put In: Cotton Mill Park
Take Out: Hwy J

Unexpected dam releases made for a flooded river and a wild ride, but this is a river with lots of potential.  A unique blend of urban, wooded, and whitewater segments, the Beaver Dam River is definitely worth checking out...but at lower levels.

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Big Green River


Date Paddled: April 8th, 2017
Put In: Green River Road
Take Out: Hwy K - Snowmobile Bridge

Another driftless trout stream paddle through farm country, but with some fun rapids and neat scenery.

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Castle Rock Creek


Date Paddled: April 1st, 2017
Put In: Church Road
Take Out: Hwy Q (last bridge)

A great, undiscovered driftless paddle near Madison with no logjams, fun rapids and neat geology.  Seems too good to be true, but it is.

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Pecatonica River


Date Paddled: March 19th, 2017
Put In: Hwy O
Take Out: Hwy G - Calamine

Some rock outcrops and scenic bridges highlight this section, but unfortunately mud and logjams are an issue.

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Neenah Creek – Grouse Drive


Date Paddled: February 19th, 2017
Put In: Grouse Drive
Take Out: Muskrat Road

A return to Neenah Creek for an easy wetgrass paddle with few challenges, but few rewards.

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Neenah Creek – Muskrat Road


Date Paddled: November 13th, 2016
Put In: Muskrat Road
Take Out: Hwy CX

This simple wetgrass paddle is not overly interesting with a broad slow channel and repetitive flat scenery.  However, it is fantastic for waterfowl.

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Yellow River – Pittsville


Date Paddled: November 6th, 2016
Put In: Little Bull Falls
Take Out: Dexter County Park

An unexplored section on the Upper Yellow River with some really nice surprises.

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Willow Creek


Date Paddled: November 1st, 2016
Put In: Brown Deer Ave
Take Out: Chicago Ave

A sandy trout stream in central Wisconsin with terrific water clarity.  The scenery is repetitive though with too many alders.

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Black River – East Fork – Steponik


Date Paddled: October 23rd, 2016
Put In: Steponik Road
Take Out: Pray Road

A pleasant but lazy stretch little resembling the main branch of the Black River.  East Fork Falls and a unique wildlife experience kept things interesting though...

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Plover River – Esker


Date Paddled: October 16th, 2016
Put In: Esker Road
Take Out: Hwy 153

The far upper Plover River is rarely paddled, yet might be the best section for paddling because of its scenic firs, granite boulders and some surprise rapids.

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Black River – Christie


Date Paddled: October 9th, 2016
Put In: Hwy H landing
Take Out: Hill Road

A wonderfully scenic trip on the Upper Black River with plenty of whitewater and attractive granite outcrops.

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Eau Claire River – Weston


Date Paddled: October 2nd, 2016
Put In: Edwin's Park / Club House Road
Take Out: Ross Ave Launch

A surprisingly nice paddle through suburban Wausau with some fun rapids and boulder gardens.

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West Fork of the Kickapoo – Bloomingdale


Date Paddled: September 17th, 2016
Put In: Bloomingdale Road
Take Out: Hwy S

While lacking the rock outcrops of its more famous sibling, fast water and countless riffles make this popular trout stream a fun paddle. 

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Little Platte – Stumpton Road


Date Paddled: September 11th, 2016
Put In: Stumpton Road
Take Out: Hwy O

The Little Platte is a pleasant pastoral paddle with fun riffles and interesting geology.

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Perry Creek


Date Paddled: September 4th, 2016
Put In: Black River - Perry Creek Landing
Take Out: Black River - Perry Creek Landing

Root beer red water pools and tumbles by carved sandstone bluffs in this incredibly scenic tributary of the Black River.

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Black River – Dam to Mason’s Landing


Date Paddled: September 4th, 2016
Put In: Black River Falls Dam
Take Out: Mason's Landing

An overlooked tweener section on the Black River offers rapids, sandbars, gravelbars, granitebars, sandstone outcrops, scenic creeks and more.

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Mukwonago River


Date Paddled: August 28th, 2016
Put In: Rainbow Springs Golf Resort Road
Take Out: Hwy I

Crystal clear water, beautiful seeps, wild rice corridors, and abundant wildflowers make this a terrific paddle.  There is just one problem at the end though...

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Pewaukee River


Date Paddled: August 21st, 2016
Put In: Wisconsin Ave Business Parking Lot
Take Out: Wonderland Tap

A leisurely paddle through a marsh ends with a dizzying descent down a tangle of switchbacks and rapids--if you have enough water.

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Waupaca River – Buchholz Road


Date Paddled: August 13th, 2016
Put In: Buchholz Road
Take Out: Stedman Park

An overlooked section of the Waupaca that offers amazing scenery, gorgeous boulder gardens and fun rapids.

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Bark River – Delafield


Date Paddled: August 6th, 2016
Put In: St. John's Park
Take Out: Hwy 67/Summit Ave

This is a very nice section on the upper Bark River that runs from Nagawicka Lake to Dousman.  Part creek, part urban paddle, part lake paddle, part woodland paddle, and part marsh paddle, this has something for everybody.

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Illinois Fox – Silver Lake


Date Paddled: August 8th, 2016
Put In: Fox River Park
Take Out: Wilmot Access

A guest review for the Illinois Fox close to the Illinois border.

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La Crosse River – West Salem


Date Paddled: July 31st, 2016
Put In: Public landing by Hwy 108
Take Out: Veterans Memorial Campground

A mediocre trip on the La Crosse.  A few fun rapids and a hidden sandstone coulee are the highlights.

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Oconomowoc River


Date Paddled: July 23rd, 2016
Put In: Upper Oconomowoc Lake Boat Launch
Take Out: Fowler Park

Passing through glacial kettle lakes in the far west suburbs of Milwaukee, the Oconomowoc is a surprisingly nice river with diverse scenery and remarkably clear water. 

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Fox River – White River Locks


Date Paddled: July 17th, 2016
Put In: Princeton - Jefferson Street Landing
Take Out: White River Locks - Lock Road

A pleasant section on the Fox River starting in the city of Princeton.  However, the broad channel and slow current take some of the magic out of the trip.

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Platte River – Hwy A


Date Paddled: July 9th, 2016
Put In: Hwy A
Take Out: Airport Road / Ellenboro

An upstream section of the Platte with fantastic limestone outcrops and fun riffles.  This section however is negatively impacted by grazing and does run dry in late summer though.

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Little Wolf – Hwy BB


Date Paddled: July 4th, 2016
Put In: County Road BB Launch
Take Out: Hwy X / Wolf River Trips and Campground

An ok stretch but not in the same class as neighboring water trails.  Some fun rapids and boulder gardens, but the sheer number of tubers was an annoying distraction.

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Sugar River


Date Paddled: July 2nd, 2016
Put In: Hwy 69 Landing
Take Out: Highway A

A surprisingly nice paddle on the upper Sugar.  A narrow channel, lush wooded banks, and up-tempo current make this a worthwhile trip.

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Plover River – Bevent


Date Paddled: June 25th, 2016
Put In: Hwy 153 / Bevent
Take Out: Pinery Road

Probably the best section on the entire Plover River with good current, a few rapids, attractive woods and fine boulder beds.

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Peshtigo River – Burnt Bridge Landing


Date Paddled: June 6th, 2016
Put In: Burnt Bridge Landing
Take Out: Burton Wells Bridge

New guest review for the Peshtigo River.  One of Wisconsin's most famous whitewater trails.

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Little Eau Pleine River


Date Paddled: June 18th, 2016
Put In: Hwy 97 / Hwy T
Take Out: Mann Street / River Road

One of my all time favorite whitewater paddles with amazing scenery and fun rapids, this central Wisconsin water trail is a great prospect if you get it at the right depth.

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Yellow River – Hwy 80


Date Paddled: June 11th, 2016
Put In: Hwy 80
Take Out: Hwy N

This segment of the Yellow starts with a whimper and ends with a bang.  Highlights include fun rapids, boulder gardens, massive river boulders and a lack of development.

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Fox River – Governor Bend


Date Paddled: June 5th, 2016
Put In: Governor Bend Park
Take Out: Hwy O

A slow, simple, and peaceful section of the Fox that is pleasant but not super exotic.  Locals should consider this stretch, but those living further away can probably find better alternatives.

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Eau Claire River – Dells Park


Date Paddled: May 30th, 2016
Put In: Dells of the Eau Claire Park
Take Out: Eau Claire River Road (by Road N)

One of the best paddling prospects in the state.  An amazing combination of intermediate rapids, dells and boulder gardens that ranks among my all time favorites.

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Rocky Run Creek – Hwy 51


Date Paddled: May 29th, 2016
Put In: Hwy 51
Take Out: Dekorra Public Landing (Wisconsin River)

Kind of a disappointing trip because of the log jams.  This trail does have redeeming qualities if you do the right leg and paddle at proper flow rates.

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West Fork of the Kickapoo River


Date 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.

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Yahara River – Deforest


Date 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.

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White River – Wautoma


Date 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.

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Billings Creek


Date 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.

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Montello River – 11th Road


Date 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.

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Lawrence Creek


Date 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.

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Kickapoo River – Tunnelville Cliffs


Date 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.

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Nine Springs Creek


Date 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 hard to fathom, but it is true.  Nine Springs Creek is a good prospect running mostly though marshland with good water clarity and occasional springs.

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Good Earth Creek


Date 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.

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Fox River – Princeton Locks


Date 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!

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Seeley Creek – Part 2


Date 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.

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Fox River – Endeavor


Date 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.

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Baraboo River – Cascade Mountain


Date 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.

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Sheboygan River – Johnsonville


Date 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.

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Yellow River – Necedah


Date 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.

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La Crosse River – Fort McCoy


Date 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.

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Illinois Fox


Date 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.

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Halls Creek – Part 2


Date 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.

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Upper Iowa River


Date 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. 

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Fox River – Portage


Date 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.

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Bark River – Rome


Date 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.

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Black Earth Creek – Walking Iron


Date 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.

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La Crosse River – Onalaska


Date 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.

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Wisconsin River – Mazomanie


Date 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.

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Madeline Island Sea Caves


Date 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.

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Pine River – Hwy Q


Date 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.

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Wolf River – Hollister


Date 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.

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Baraboo River – Dutch Hollow


Date 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.

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Maunesha River


Date 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.

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Mecan River – Post Germania


Date 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.

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Wedges Creek


Date 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.

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Rock River – East Branch – Mayville


Date 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. 

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Puchyan River


Date 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.

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Platte River – Platte Road


Date 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.

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Milwaukee River – East Branch


Date 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.

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Little Platte River – Platteville


Date 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.

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Spring Creek – Lodi


Date 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.

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Black Earth Creek – Salmo Pond


Date 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.

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White River – Neshkoro


Date 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.

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Rock River – South Branch


Date 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 […]

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White Creek


Date 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 […]

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Big Spring Creek


Date 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 […]

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Duck Creek Middle Branch


Date 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 […]

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French Creek


Date 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 […]

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Fox River – Montello


Date 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 […]

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Fox River – Pardeeville


Date 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 […]

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Neenah Creek Main Branch – Part 2


Date 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 […]

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Neenah Creek – South Branch


Date 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 […]

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Lemonweir River – New Lisbon


Date 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 […]

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Blue Mounds Creek


Date 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 […]

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Big Eau Pleine River


Date 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, […]

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Mecan River – Upper


Date 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 […]

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Black River – East Fork


Date 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 […]

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Milwaukee River


Date 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 […]

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Grant River


Date 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, […]

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Black Earth Creek – Mazomanie


Date 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 […]

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La Crosse River


Date 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 […]

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Pecatonica River – East Branch


Date 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 […]

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Rock River – East Branch


Date 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 […]

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Crystal River


Date 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 […]

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Robinson Creek


Date 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 […]

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Waupaca River


Date 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 […]

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Plover River


Date 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 […]

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Prairie River


Date 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 […]

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White River


Date 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 […]

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Little Wolf River


Date Paddled: June 22nd, 2014
Put In: Wolf River Road
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 […]

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Fever River (aka the Galena River)


Date 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 […]

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Coon Creek


Date 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 […]

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Morrison Creek


Date 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 […]

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Halls Creek


Date 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 […]

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Black Earth Creek – Black Earth to Mazomanie


Date 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 […]

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Big Slough


Date 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 […]

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Lodi Marsh


Date 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 […]

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Hulburt Creek


Date 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 […]

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Grand River


Date 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 […]

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Big Creek


Date 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 […]

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Neenah Creek – Oxford


Date 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 […]

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Pine River – Richland Center


Date 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 […]

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Eau Claire River (Chippewa Tributary)


Date 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 […]

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Upper Dells – 2


Date 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 […]

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Tomorrow River


Date 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 […]

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Bois Brule


Date 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 […]

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Namekagon River – Hayward to Stinnett


Date 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 […]

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Cedar Creek


Date 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), […]

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Upper Eau Claire Flowage


Date 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, […]

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Platte River – Ellenboro


Date 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. […]

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Black River – Mason to Irving


Date 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 […]

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Lemonweir River – 19th Ave to HH


Date 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 […]

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Black River Flowage


Date 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 […]

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Pheasant Branch


Date 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 […]

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Baraboo River Floodplains


Date 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 […]

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Portage Canal


Date 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 […]

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Kickapoo – Far Upper


Date 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 […]

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Seeley Creek


Date 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, […]

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Rocky Run Creek to Lake Wisconsin


Date 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 […]

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Little Wolf – Guest Review


Date 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 […]

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Spring Creek


Date 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 […]

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Spring Brook – Lower


Date 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 […]

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Honey Creek – Upper


Date 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 […]

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Kickapoo River – Rockton to La Farge


Date 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 […]

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Black River – Hwy 35


Date 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 […]

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Cox Hollow Lake


Date 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 […]

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Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore


Date 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 […]

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Upper Dells – 1


Date 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 […]

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Wisconsin River – Castle Rock


Date 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 […]

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Baraboo River – La Valle


Date 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 […]

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Menominee River


Date 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 […]

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Fox River – Swan Lake


Date 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 […]

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Yahara River


Date 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 […]

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Badfish Creek


Date Paddled: June 23rd, 2012
Put In: Old Stage Road
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 […]

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Lemonweir River – Mouth


Date 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 […]

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Horicon Marsh


Date 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, […]

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Honey Creek – County C


Date 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 […]

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Lemonweir River – Mauston


Date 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 […]

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Mecan River


Date 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 […]

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Upper Spring Brook


Date 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 […]

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Baraboo River – Wonewoc


Date 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 […]

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Wisconsin River – Prairie du Sac Dam


Date 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 […]

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Lake Redstone


Date 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 […]

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Pine River – Far Upper


Date 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 […]

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Wisconsin River – Lower Dells


Date 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 […]

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Baraboo River: Giese Park to Gander World


Date Paddled: July 9th, 2011
Put In: Giese Park
Take Out: Gander World

A popular add-on trip to the city of Baraboo section.  There are no rapids, but there it was still a pleasant section of the river with a few rock outcrops.

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Kickapoo River


Date 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 […]

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Apostle Islands National Lakeshore


Date 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 […]

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Mirror Lake


Date 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 […]

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Blackhawk Island


Date 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 […]

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