While large muddy banks can be an eyesore, the Baraboo River is a pleasant paddle with some really nice stretches. Highlights include many sandstone outcrops and fun rapids by the city of Baraboo.
Schultz Park to Hwy 82
Date Paddled: May 23rd, 2020
Distance: 4.0 miles
Time: 3 hours 17 minutes (2 hours 30 minutes would be more typical)
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.Read More...
Union Center to Wonewoc
Date Paddled: September 11th, 2011
Distance: 6.2 Miles
Time: 3 Hours
This is as about upstream as you can get on the Baraboo. I believe you can put in further upstream (it seems deep enough…barely) but the main shuttle company in the area doesn’t like to because the river cuts through a golf course and their insurance company won’t cover this. This section is cleared out […]Read More...
Wayside Park to Kalepp Road
Date Paddled: June 21st, 2020
Distance: 4.6 miles
Time: Expect 2 hours
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.Read More...
Kalepp Road to N. Dutch Hollow Road
Date Paddled: May 16th, 2020
Distance: 5.3 miles
Time: 3 hours 33 minutes
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.Read More...
N. Dutch Hollow Road to N. River Road in La Valle
Date Paddled: July 25th, 2015
Distance: 3.84 Miles
Time: 4 hours 15 minutes (2 hours would be more typical)
A rarely paddled section of the Baraboo River that is quite pleasant. Highlights include seven rock outcrops and some fun little rapids to end the trip.Read More...
La Valle Public Ramp to Lake Redstone County Park
Date Paddled: August 5th, 2012
Distance: 4 Miles
This is a nice little section of the Baraboo River between the city of La Valle and a take-out near Lake Redstone. Put in at the main boat ramp on the west end of town. You can’t park at the bar there…but have to drive a block north and park at the bike park where […]Read More...
Hwy 136 to North Freedom Park
Date Paddled: September 26th, 2020
Distance: 8.2 miles
Time: Expect 4 hours
This is one of the most scenic stretches on the entire Baraboo River. Highlights include steep gorges, riverside boulders and scenic outcrops.Read More...
North Freedom Park to Giese Park
Date Paddled: August 6th, 2022
Distance: 7.4 miles
Time: Expect 3-4 hours
Although an easy paddle with no obstructions, this is largely a humdrum section...with three big exceptions.Read More...
Giese Park to Gander World
Date Paddled: July 9th, 2011
Distance: 3 miles
Time: ~1.5 hours
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.Read More...
Gander Outdoors to Glenville Landing
Date Paddled: June 30th, 2018
Distance: 4.9 miles
Time: 3 hours 19 minutes (2 hours would be more typical)
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.Read More...
Wayside Park to Hwy U
Date Paddled: October 14th, 2015
Distance: 3.81 Miles
Time: 2 hours 33 minutes (2 hours would be more typical)
A return to the Baraboo River to check out a more obscure paddling segment. Not elite with highway noise to contend with, but pleasant with no log jams and attractive wooded banks.Read More...
Cty U Bridge to Waterfront Road Landing
Date Paddled: June 30th, 2013
Distance: 5 Miles
This is the last paddlable segment on the Baraboo River before it hits the Wisconsin. Normally this is a mediocre prospect due to dirty water, lack of sandbars, and occasional log jams (rumor has it that it might have been cleaned out locally). But it’s not a bad section to paddle that can be very […]Read More...
- Nutmeg Road to Hwy PP: 6.2 miles. Flows by the historic Elroy-Sparta Trail and is mostly open, but there are a few logjams. This is a narrow small stretch that will need very high water to be runnable. There are scenic outcrops on this stretch….maybe 3.
- Hwy PP to 2nd Main Street: 1.6 miles. Maybe 3 logjams.
- 2nd Main Street to Franklin Street: 0.9 miles. Maybe 1-2 logjams. Trip starts at a scenic covered bridge and on Class 1 rapids.
- Franklin Street to Hwy 82(South of Lincoln Street): 0.5 miles. A good stretch that is mostly open and has maybe one outcrop.
- Hwy 82(South of Lincoln Street) to Schultz Park: 0.6 miles. Maybe 2 logjams.
- Schultz Park to Hwy 82(South of Snyder Road): 4.0 miles.
- Schultz Park to Hwy 82(North of Lumsden Road): 0.6 miles. One outcrop, one logjam portage and a few tight fits.
- Hwy 82(North of Lumsden Road) to Hwy 82(South of Snyder Road): 3.4 miles. Three outcrops, three significant logjams and several tight fits. A section with good potential but needs cleanup work.
- Hwy 82(South of Snyder Road) to Hwy W: 1.9 miles. Maybe 2-3 jams…think this is doable though.
- Hwy W to Hwy 82/Union Center: 1.3 miles. Good prospect by the golf course with maybe 2 outcrops. Maybe 1-2 logjams.
- Hwy 82 to Hwy FF Landing/Wonewoc: 7.1 miles. A great section with one of the largest rock outcrops on the river.
- Hwy FF Landing to Wayside Park: 2.9 miles. There used to be a lot of logjams here. I think it might be doable…maybe 2-3 major portages.
- Wayside Park to Kalepp Road: 4.5 miles. An uninteresting part of the river with weedy, muddy banks. But…there are three fantastic sandstone outcrops.
- Kalepp Road to N. Dutch Hollow Road: 5.3 miles. One logjam portage with several “hoppers” and “duckers”. There are some outcrops but most are recessed and away from the river. Mud and downed trees are a bit unsightly, otherwise a pleasant paddle.
- N. Dutch Hollow Road to La Valle: 3.8 miles. Second best section on the entire river with great rock outcrops.
- From La Valle to Lake Redstone: 3.6 miles. One of the more underrated sections of the Boo, which I really liked.
- Lake Redstone to Monument Park/Reedsburg: 9.0 miles. Supposedly kind of boring, but the logjams should be cleared out.
- Monument Park to South Park: 1.4 miles. Spanning the length of Reedsburg, this should be a nice section mostly free of jams.
- South Park to Golf Course Road: 4.7 miles. Maybe 4-5 logjams. Probably one too many. Should be 1-2 small sandstone outcrops. Golf Course Road might not be a good access.
- Golf Course Road to Hwy 136(by Beth Road): 3.6 miles. Maybe a few jams. Likely mostly floodplain paddling and probably uninteresting.
- Hwy 136(by Beth Road) to Hwy 136(by Ableman’s Gorge): 6.0 miles. Maybe some outcrops at the end, but mostly uninteresting paddling I suspect. Likely several serious logjams with difficult portages because of the high muddy banks.
- Hwy 136(by Ableman’s Gorge) to North Freedom Boat Launch: 8.2 miles.
- Hwy 136(by Ableman’s Gorge) to Rock Springs Boat Launch/Firemen’s Park: 1.3 miles. One of the most scenic parts of the entire Baraboo River. Highlights include a steep gorge, riverside boulders and scenic outcrops.
- Rock Springs Boat Launch to North Freedom Boat Launch: 7.1 miles. This is a nice paddle, but with some downed trees to dodge and one to portage. Highlights include historic railroad bridges, scenic outcrops, and seeing the railroad museum from the river.
- North Freedom Boat Launch to Giese Park: 7.4 miles.
- North Freedom Boat Launch to Kohlmeyer Road: 4.3 miles. Stretch starts nice as the river naturally curves and has many shade trees. There is a scenic long outcrop after Seeley Creek. River becomes boring after that except for a scenic railroad bridge and a few rocky banks. Kohlmeyer Road isn't a great bridge access.
- Kohlmeyer Road to Giese Park: 3.1 miles. Some longer and less interesting stretches. There is however a unique large volume artesian well, and a historic railroad tunnel you can wade under.
- Giese Park to Gander Outdoors: 2.9 miles. A pleasant but simple farm country paddle. Highlights include the Skillet Creek bridge, the towering Hwy 12 bridge, and a rock outcrop upstream of Hwy 12.
- Gander Outdoors to Glenville Landing: 4.9 miles. A fantastic stretch through the heart of Baraboo with many light rapids.
- Gander Outdoors to Haskins Park: 0.6 miles. A good stretch with some fantastic rapids upstream of Hwy 136.
- Haskins Park to Maxwell-Potter Conservancy: 3.3 miles. The best section on the entire river with many rapids.
- Maxwell-Potter Conservancy to Glenville Park/Hwy 113: 1.1 miles. A pleasant stretch, but lacking in rapids.
- From Hwy 113 to Hwy W Landing: 5.1 miles. An unreviewed wooded trip I liked many years ago, but since then logjams have probably become an issue.
- From Hwy W Landing to Hwy 33: 3.5 miles. An above average prospect. On my to-do list.
- Hwy 33 to Wayside Park: 8.0 miles. A stretch I’m curious about.
- Wayside Park to Hwy U: 3.9 miles. Simple but pleasant short section flanked by busy interstates.
- From Hwy U to the mouth: 5.3 miles. The final leg running through floodplain forest.
Notable Baraboo River Tributaries:
- West Branch of the Baraboo River: For the most part, too many logjams, but the flowage by Hillsboro is navigable with scenic outcrops by the dam.
- Dutch Hollow Lake: A heavily developed lake and popular with locals. Not as great as Lake Redstone but still nice. Dutch Hollow Creek is likely too shallow to run, but it (and the bike trail) goes past a fantastic and huge exposed rock face.
- Hemlock Slough: A nice little lake paddle with many rock outcrops and attractive hemlocks.
- Little Baraboo River: For the most part too many logjams. However the small flowage by Cazenovia Memorial Park is navigable and there are small outcrops both below the dam and on the northwest corner of Lee Lake.
- Lake Redstone: Definitely a fun paddle with fantastic red rock formations, a swimming beach, and a spillway waterfall.
- Big Creek: You can’t get too far upstream because of logjams, but there is a nice outcrop by Hwy F and this can be combined with a trip on the north side of Lake Redstone.
- Narrows Creek: There is a neat section by Weidman Memorial Park with boulders and light rapids with I believe nearby outcrops downstream. Unfortunately there are likely too many logjams. I did partly paddle a nice downstream portion from the mouth on the Baraboo before I hit a logjam and turned back.
- Seeley Creek:
- Hwy PF to Seeley Lane Boat Landing: 3.6 miles. A mix of creek and flowage paddling. Ok…maybe 2 logjams.
- Seeley Lane Boat Landing to Freedom Road: 1.7 miles. Probably too many logjams on this section.
- Freedom Road to Mouth: Neat stretch of the creek, but some logjams.
- Skillet Creek:
- From Gasser Road to Pewit’s Nest: Gorgeous, but filled with logjams.
- Pewit’s Nest: Stunning scenery, but the ledges are likely too steep and narrow for kayaking. Best experienced as a hike.
- Pewit’s Nest to Hatchery Road: A bit of nice geology, but likely small with several logjams. Neither endpoint is a great access.
- Rowley Creek: A scenic creek, but shallow and with hostile locals.
- Leech Creek: From Hwy U to Tritz Road would be 2.5 miles. Likely open and an easy paddle, but uninteresting because of the artificial channelization.
- Long Lake: A very slow creek that empties into the Boo close to the Wisconsin. There could be serious logjams by the mouth, but the upper sections are plenty navigable and are paddled by locals.