Baraboo River

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.

Trip Reports

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.


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 […]


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.


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.


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.


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 […]


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.


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.


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.


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.


Glenville Landing to Luebke Landing

Date Paddled: September 23rd, 2023
Distance: 5.1 miles
Time: Expect 2-3 hours

A pleasant trip, but a little boring at times.  I would rate this as one of the more uninteresting sections of the Baraboo.  On the plus side it had no portages for logjams (as of 2023) and remains plenty navigable even during big droughts.


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.


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 […]


Overview Map

Detailed Overview

Nearby Guages


Sorry about the bad quality.


Aug 22nd, 2023 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Thanks for the heads up about the dates. There was a bug that in the templates that sometimes hid these. I think this should be fixed now. As for the status of Rock Springs to North Freedom...I'm not sure. I suspect there are 1 or 2 logjams that will have to be portaged.
Aug 22nd, 2023 - Jeff from Madison
Hi, has anybody done this trip recently? Wondering if there's any log jams anymore. And I wish that the reviews had dates I had said this before and you said you may be able to rectify that lol.
Jun 13th, 2021 - Aaron from Dell Creek
It's a great of my favorite Class 1 stretches in Southern Wisconsin. It's interesting that you got to paddle this at 600's really low now. 299 CFS and dropping...might not be that navigable for much of summer.
Jun 13th, 2021 - Collin Roland from Starkweather Creek
We (1 17' canoe and a kayak) paddled Geise Park to Glenville Landing on May 31 at about 600 CFS. It was a beautiful paddle! One of the lesser rapids was a little bumpy, would love to see this reach with more flow.
May 17th, 2021 - Aaron from Dell Creek
There has been an update on the logjam situation on the Baraboo River: "Starting last year and continuing this spring, the Friends of the Baraboo River hired Straight Up Logging to clear out jams in three sections of the river. Local canoe/kayak liveries had already cleared the stretches from Union Center to Wonewoc and from North Freedom to Baraboo in recent years. Last year and this, thanks to generous grants from Sauk County, the Friends of the Baraboo River was able to hire Straight Up Loggin' to clear passages through more jams in stretches previously not cleared. The work started last fall between Rock Springs and North Freedom and between the Sauk County line by Wonewoc to La Valle and was finished up this spring. Straight Up is also clearing from La Valle to Reedsburg this month, opening up new paddling opportunities on the Baraboo River. "
Aug 18th, 2020 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Thanks for the updates...that new take-out is nice. Hopefully the city creates a nice launch area by Slumberland so paddlers can start their trip above the Hwy 12 rapids.
Aug 18th, 2020 - Eric Guderyon from Wingra Creek
I did this trip on Wed 8/12/20 levels were approx 400 cfs and 8.25 ft so there were a few bumpy sections and more rocks to avoid, but the drops were fun and splashy. For those of you using google maps, the Gander Mountain is now closed and the building vacant, but there is a Slumberland in the same parking lot that comes up on the map. The city is doing a lot of work on the Maxwell-Potter Conservancy and Liston Park, just past the Manchester street bridge on river right . They have redone the buildings, put in bathrooms, and installed a dedicated launch. If you just want to do the rapids this is a great place to take out.
Jul 15th, 2020 - Aaron from Dell Creek
River update from 'Friends of the Baraboo River': "Loggers spent a week clearing 30+ logjams from LaValle upstream towards Wonewoc. The river is cleared almost to Kalepp Road. Clearing efforts have been temporarily suspended due to high water. The next section to be cleared will be from North Freedom to Rock Springs."
Jul 15th, 2020 - Aaron from Dell Creek
River update from 'Friends of the Baraboo River': "Loggers spent a week clearing 30+ logjams from LaValle upstream towards Wonewoc. The river is cleared almost to Kalepp Road. Clearing efforts have been temporarily suspended due to high water. The next section to be cleared will be from North Freedom to Rock Springs."
Nov 17th, 2019 - Aaron from Dell Creek
I'm surprised the Baraboo has frozen this quickly already. It's definitely too bad to hear about those ice jams...those ice waterfalls sounds really cool though.
Nov 17th, 2019 - Eric G. from Wingra Creek
We attempted this section on 11/16 (620 CFS, 9.2 ft) and a relatively balmy 42 at put-in. with a bike shuttle using the 400 trail. The first mile or so was great but then we encountered an area that was completely covered with ice, we portaged around that but after another 1/4 mile encountered other area covered with ice, that continued as far as we could see, maybe 100 yds. We were less than half way, just a bit upstream from Hemlock Slough, so we decided to bale. Unfortunately, our car was parked at the end, so we decided the best option was to turn around and paddle upstream back to our bikes. Although not a successful trip per se, we still hand a wonderful time, beautiful rock outcroppings,ice waterfalls, many deer, 2 bald eagles, an otter, and even got hot thanks to having to paddle upstream. Certainly a trip I'll do again anytime of year, but not right after a prolonged cold snap
Jul 16th, 2018 - Aaron from Dell Creek
So you must have gone at 350 CFS about a 100 CFS lower than our trip. So it sounds navigable but not as ideal. I appreciate your comment and your referrals!
Jul 16th, 2018 - Daniel H. from Mirror Lake
Paddled this very trip on July 8th with a friend of mine. Water might have been a little low because of dry conditions so the hiding rocks made for a bit of a bumpy ride at times. We both got wet just past Broadway Street. Being from the area, I was excited to paddle the Boo again (try to go at least once a year). Saw the ATV signs on 113 and wondered how much they talk... Love to read your experiences nearly every week. I direct people to this website all the time!

How did your trip turn out? Questions or comments? Feel free to leave your feedback.

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