Big Rib River
While not as scenic as its neighbor (the Eau Claire), the Big Rib is a pleasant paddle popular with Wausau locals.
Lemke Drive to Hwy 64
Date Paddled: May 28th, 2017
Distance: 5.0 Miles
Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Pleasant, but not exotic, this segment on the far upper Big Rib has a different character relative to its downstream siblings.Read More...
Amco Park to Hwy A
Date Paddled: May 13th, 2018
Distance: 4.3 Miles
Time: 2 hours 31 minutes
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.Read More...
Hwy A to Rib Falls County Park
Date Paddled: May 20th, 2023
Distance: 7.7 miles
Time: Expect 4 hours
This is one of best legs on the entire Big Rib River. Highlights include attractive hemlocks, light rapids, boulders, and seven sets of gorgeous granite outcrops. The trip ends with a bang with Rib Falls which is incredibly scenic.Read More...
- Upstream of Hwy M: Likely navigable paddling, I just don’t know much more.
- Hwy M to Lemke Drive: 4.5 miles. An unknown prospect…might be interesting. Could be some downed trees.
- Lemke Drive to Hwy 64: 4.6 miles. Pleasant but not a special trip.
- Hwy 64 to Silver Fox Road/Greiner Road: 3.7 miles. Famous section that contains the dells, the most rapids and a tough section with Class 3 rapids. Likely 5 stars. Note, the bike shuttle for this section is poor. Reviewed by AmericanWhitewater.org, but note their flow estimates are very aggressive.
- Silver Fox Road to Hwy F/Amco Park: 3.3 Miles. A pleasant section with some light rapids.
- Amco Park to Hwy A: 4.5 miles. Slower than upstream sections but pleasant and wooded with a few small outcrops.
- Hwy A to Big Rib Falls County Park: 7.7 Miles. A great stretch and maybe the best leg on the Big Rib River. Highlights include attractive hemlocks, light rapids, boulders, and seven separate sets of gorgeous granite outcrops. Ends in a bang with Rib Falls which is very scenic.
- Big Rib Falls Park to Marathon Lion's Riverside Park: 6.6 miles. Not as good as the preceding leg, but still likely some light rapids and outcrops. I believe there are a number of sandbars on this stretch too.
- Marathon Lion's Riverside Park to Sunny Vale Softball Complex: 9.7 miles. Ok prospect with more sandbars, but fewer (if any) boulders and cliffs. Take-out is somewhat speculative as I am not 100% sure it is viable. But it is a public park with a parking close to a slough, and the slough may connect to the river.
- Sunny Vale Softball Complex to Mouth: 5.1 miles. Some sandbars to start, then the river gets squiggly as it enters the delta. Numerous take-out options including Mallard Lane Boat Ramp, Rookery View Park and DC Everest County Park.
Not listed are several of the Big Rib tributaries. The most interesting one is Black Creek running from Erbach Park/Athens to Meridian Road (5.8 miles). This contains neat boulder gardens and rocky gorges but could also have unknown hazards. This creek has been paddled before with the most popular section being a whitewater stretch by Athens per Rick Kark. Also reviewed by AmericanWhitewater.org.