Other Reviews


River trails of Southern Wisconsin

One of the problem with a lot of review sources is that they have a difficult time conveying the actual feel for the river. Morrall River Films has a unique and welcome solution to this in that their river reviews are videos, which is very important. What really makes this a must-have resource is the great footage of the rivers which is so important to prospective paddlers in determining which routes should be run. 30 trips are covered on two DVD with a nice mix of classics and more obscure routes not covered by other sources (including Robinson Creek which you see on the cover).

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River trails of Northern Wisconsin

See above review. Again a very nice resource, but for Northern Wisconsin. One minor complaint (which Paddling Southern/Northern Wisconsin is guilty of as well) is that many good routes are paddled out of season so they can pack as many reviews as possible into a single paddling season. This is unfair for the routes that are done in early spring as the leaves are out and many routes aren’t as attractive. Plus, spring usually has high/dirty water which gives many rivers a completely different feel. This DVD while quite good, didn’t feel as comprehensive as the Southern Wisconsin DVD. This is still a must have resource.

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Paddling Southern Wisconsin

The most popular Wisconsin paddling review source written by Mike Svob. Very large selection of routes with good information on shuttle services, camping, trip lengths, hazards, log jams and more. While this is a must-have resource it is not perfect. Many very good paddle trails are missing (especially creeks and Great Lake options like Apostle Islands and Door County’s Sea Caves). Some information is out-of-date and while much of the information is good, not of it is relayed in a meaningful format. Pictures are black & white and very poor. There is no rating or hierarchy of routes so while he says vauge favorable things about some routes…it is tough to gauge what the best routes are. Obviously there is no video which can convey a lot information about a river.

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Paddling Northern Wisconsin

See above review. This is in essence the same as Paddling Southern Wisconsin, except it covers Northern Wisconsin Rivers.

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A very attractive website with 5 star photography. Covers about 20 rivers (mostly up-north) and most rivers are broken up into segments so a lot of material is covered.

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Small River Canoe Adventures of Wisconsin

No pictures and not really a glossy publication, but an excellent reference to many obscure rivers and creeks in Wisconsin. The author makes it a point to emphasize routes the other major guides have missed which makes this book very valuable. It is self-published so is hard to find (it is at the Baraboo library). The author Frank F. Piraino is willing to sell copies…but has moved from Baraboo to Wyoming so may be difficult to reach.

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Kark’s Canoeing and Kayaking Guide to 309 Wisconsin Streams

Seven free PDF guides for over 300 rivers and creeks throughout Wisconsin, makes this a good resource for paddlers. There are no pictures nor maps and some of the reviews are brief, but many obscure prospects are covered which is very much appreciated and is the strength of this publication. This is also one of the few paddling guides that has cited this website which is a very nice gesture.

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This is a newer website with a focus on up-north rivers. The site has nice photos and videos, and many new reviews (with some really good prospects) are in the pipeline.

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While not super-in depth, this is a nice general guide of the states rivers with obscure references I don’t see elsewhere (like the Little Dells Rock formations on the Lemonweir upstream of Mauston).

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Whitewater, Quietwater: A Guide to the Wild Rivers of Wisconsin, Upper Michigan and Northeast Minnesota

A nice selection of mostly Northern Rivers with some southern ones as well as UP and MN trips for a total of 55 reviewed river segments. Similar format to the Svobb books. Nothing fancy, but a lot of “play by play” descriptions of the segments that I don’t find as useful as photos, videos. or reviews. There is a strong emphasis on whitewater hazards that are well detailed on their maps.

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Canoeing the Wild Rivers of Northwestern Wisconsin

This includes reviews for seven rivers in northwestern Wisconsin. The Brule, Eau Claire, Namekagon, St. Croix, Totogatic, Yellow and Clam. The publication is very old, but the information seems ok.

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This is site is more known for it’s excellent user reviews of kayaks and canoes, but it does have a section for paddling routes as well. Information is average with mostly “name-brand” rivers covered but there are good nuggets here and there.

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Best Canoe Trails Of Southern Wisconsin

Before Svob’s books became the bible, this was probrably the biggest guide book on Southern Wisconsin Rivers. Solid (and similar format to Svob’s). Ultimitely Svob includes everything this book has and more so I would suggest his guide books over this one. Still a well done guide book that was ground breaking at its time for Wisconsin paddling information.

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A Canoeing Guide to the Indian Head Rivers of West Central Wisconsin

A more regional guide, but there is good information on water trails for the Hay, Chetek, Buffalo and East Fork of the Black River you don’t see in other guides.

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National Stream Atlas

Super cool national stream map that took the USGS department 20 years to construct. Why is this better then other stream maps? At maximum zoom level, the streams they show largely correlate with navigable creeks (whereas other maps include drainage ditch creeks which clutter up most maps). The labeling is very good and much better then google maps. The other nice thing is that you can click any point on a creek and it will highlight the entire watershed (above or below your point). This is a great source for finding local paddling options near where you live.

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The focus is mostly along the Fox River corridor. The website has a nice map of landings/highlights and includes various segments (again mostly along the Fox).

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Paddle Wisconsin Reddit Blog

Paddle Wisconsin – Reddit Forum

Kind of new, but brimming with potential as a public meeting space for Wisconsin paddlers to share information. Check it out!

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Good information on many of the “name-brand” rivers in Wisconsin with pictures.

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This is kind of like a user driven “WisconsinRiverTrips.com”. It’s brims with potential, but the linear organization is poor and the quality of the reviews varies a lot. There are some gems though and this type of site has a bright future.

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A decent amount of what appears to be user submitted reviews. Somewhat of an incomplete website that doesn’t even have a working domain name though.

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Good information for the local Madison area rivers and creeks. They do a lot of cleanups and are a good reference for which of the local waterways have logjams and which don’t.

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Explore Wisconsin Rivers

This book covers 19 major rivers in Wisconsin. Exact paddle trail details don’t match what is provided by other sites/books. However, what this book has what others do not, are detailed historical writeups about the rivers which can give context and meaning to the Rivers you do experience.

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Bull Moose Patrol

The Bull Moose Patrol features various adventures in the midwest with nice photos and attractive magazine style layout. The webmaster Scott frequently appears as a presenter at the popular Canoecopia event.

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Canoeing and Kayaking Wisconsin : The Rivers, The Towns, The Taverns

This is a more modern guide that was featured on WPR. It focuses on not only the river trips, but the nearby bars and towns as well. Mostly “name-brand” rivers are covered (and just one section at that). There are probably 20 segments total reviewed. Honestly, other guides will give you better information. Pictures aren’t great and too much focus is on the drinking/towns.

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This is a newer website blog style website that has a few reviews. It has good potential though and could be really nice in the future.

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The DNR could and should do more for paddle sports in Wisconsin. One thing they do offer however is a list of the 8 official canoe marked canoe trails in Wisconsin…here you can click the links to the state parks and download maps for the official canoe routes they’ve marked out.

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This is largely a user driven review site whose prime focus seems to be on Illinois, but includes a lot of Wisconsin waterways as well. Information isn’t super in-depth, but they do have a nice overview map.

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Mid-Kettle Moraine Map

Very regional, but a great source of information for six obscure water trails in the Milwaukee suburbs.

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Door County Outdoors

This book is mostly an outdoors guidebook for Door County of which paddling is a section. But the paddle information they provide is very good. Included is a section on Cave Point, Door County’s top paddling location.

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Not so much a paddling review guide, but a directory of white water spots in Wisconsin. This is decent information nevertheless for general paddle enthusiast.

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This is a user drive review site that has some nice reviews. However, most are of out-of-state rivers and only a minority are in Wisconsin.

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Decent summary of the major rivers, but most of the information seems to be taken from the Paddling Northern and Southern Wisconsin books.

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Kind of an incomplete website, but does include a nice long video of the Plover River.

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More of a directory without a lot of deep information.

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2 Comments to “Other Reviews”

  1. Aaron,
    Good afternoon! I write seeking advice: my wife and I are interested in taking a long weekend trip to Wisconsin to take in a few kayak trails and some breweries. I’ve been unable to find any resources which combine these two activities. Do you have any recommendations, either for resources or for a specific trail?
    Thank you!

  2. Hi Michael,

    Unfortunately I don’t know much about the breweries in our state. If any readers know more, feel free to chip in below.

Leave a Reply to Michael Curtin

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