Black Earth Creek

This is one of the great paddling streams of Dane County.  Highlights include good water quality and swift current.  Locals have done a terrific job of clearing out hazardous logjams.

Trip Reports

Cross Plains to Salmo Pond County Park

Date Paddled: April 23rd, 2022
Distance: 4.4 miles
Time: Expect 2 hours

Black Earth Creek is a popular water tail located just west of Madison. The Cross Plains segment, however, has been plagued in the past by fences and logjams. This exploratory trip proved that conditions have since changed and "Cross Plains" is now ready for paddling.


Scherbel Road to Black Earth Community Park

Date Paddled: May 22nd, 2015
Distance: 4.17 Miles
Time: 3 hours 13 minutes (2 hours would be more typical)

An obscure but pleasant paddle stretch from Salmo Pond County Park to Black Earth.  A good combination of scenery, water quality and light rapids.


Black Earth Community Park to Olson Road Bridge

Date Paddled: May 18th, 2014
Distance: 4.1 Miles
Time: 3 hours

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 […]


Olson Road Bridge to Walking Iron Park

Date Paddled: August 24th, 2014
Distance: 3.7 Miles
Time: 4 hours 17 minutes (atypical....expect 2 hours)

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 […]


Olson Road to Wolf Run Trailhead Landing

Date Paddled: January 20th, 2018
Distance: 2.3 miles
Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

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


Walking Iron Park in Mazomanie to Blynn Road Bridge

Date Paddled: August 22nd, 2015
Distance: 5.47 Miles
Time: 5 hours 3 minutes (2.5 hours would be more typical)

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.


Blynn Road Bridge to Arena Public Boat Landing

Date Paddled: October 5th, 2014
Distance: 6.75 Miles
Time: 3 hours 21 minutes

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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Aug 20th, 2023 - Aaron from Dell Creek
I think it was recently cleared out, but I'm not 100% sure.
Aug 20th, 2023 - Ryan from Pheasant Branch Creek
Has anyone done this stretch of Black Earth Creek recently? Interested to know whether the part through Mazomanie to Walking Iron Park is clear now.
Dec 7th, 2022 - Aaron from Dell Creek
It's too bad to hear about these "stream bank improvements". I appreciate the update as always.
Dec 6th, 2022 - Eric from Wingra Creek
We took advantage of a late fall sunny day and did this trip on Nov/27/22, levels were a bit low (37 CFS and 2.25 ft) but it was still a great fall trip. It is interesting to see how much more of the landscape you can see after all the leaves drop and the plants die back. We were surprised to see all the work being in Mazo. They are doing stream bank improvement and repairing damage from the 2018 floods. Unfortunately it is fairly ugly right now, and there are a few small blockages to deal with so probably not a good time to paddle (but I suspect there are not too many people like myself who try to paddle all year around in Wisconsin) From what I understand when they are done it is going to be better than ever... so I guess it is the Badfish and Lake columbia for me until the spring thaw. Here is a link to a video/map/pics of our trip using an app that I highly recommend called Relive
Aug 9th, 2022 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Thank Jon for the update.
Aug 8th, 2022 - Jon B from Starkweather
Paddled from Olson Rd. to Lions Park on 08Aug2022 at about 120 CFS. At this level some of the wave trains gave a lapful of water in the absence of a spray skirt. We had a fun time surfing several little rapids. Boat control and short kayaks helped us navigate through some deadfall in the section through town. We sneaked through some tight spots, rammed over some logs, etc. At lower water levels, some portaging might be needed. Link to photo album:
Nov 12th, 2021 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Eric just shared a really relive replay of this trip (nice map/timeline/pictures). This trip was done in early November, which if warm enough can be a surprisingly nice time to do a trip.
Apr 18th, 2021 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Great to hear that you had a good trip upstream from Walking Iron. It is too bad to hear about the logjam west of town though which sounds pretty serious. You definitely don't want to mess with any logjams that are combined with swift water. Hopefully it gets cleared out in the future.
Apr 18th, 2021 - Julie Hay-Chapman from Yahara
We did the trip from Olson Rd to Walking Iron (John's Landing), and it went so beautifully that we decided to move one of our shuttle cars 1/4 mile down to Hudson Road, and continue our trip another mile or so down the river. About 100 yards after John's Landing there is a tree down all the way across at water level. It looked possible to hop over it on the far right side right next to the bank, but the current was very swift and pinned one of our party against the tree, and then she tipped and went under. Thankfully it was open water under the log, and she got out safely, but her kayak got pinned nose first, rear sticking up, under the tree. It was a team effort to get the kayak pushed all the way under the log to the other side. As I said, thankfully the water was open under the tree, but it could easily not remain that way and become a dangerous strainer. This tree will need some chainsaw work I'm afraid, it's a good 12-18" diameter.
Aug 30th, 2020 - Aaron from Dell Creek
I just received a noticed that Black Earth Creek will be closed from Olson Road to Wolf Run Trail head (Two Bridges) for all of September 2020. If I hear anything further, I will post an update here.
Jul 31st, 2020 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Appreciate the update as always Jon. John Wick and Gaila Olson have done fantastic work for the creek.
Jul 31st, 2020 - Jon from Starkweather Creek
07/15/2020 via Mad City Paddlers discussion forum: "The annoying cattle fence, which is about 1 1/2 miles downstream from the Shoebox put in, has now been improved for paddlers to easily navigate over, thanks to money donated by philanthropist John Wick for this much needed update. Per Gaila Olsen, Black Earth Creek steward, the strands of barbed wire with sharp edges have now been replaced with two simple non-electric cables that swoop down across the creek like the Golden Gate Bridge. 95% of the time you can just slip over them. If the creek ever became super low (which does not occur hardly at all any more) you can possibly skim under on the right hand side or just get out and push yourself under on the right hand side. There is also now a sign about 100 feet before the cable saying cattle fence ahead and a sign at the Shoebox now says cattle fence ahead 1.5 mile non-electric cable. This cattle fence improvement will now make the paddle from the Shoebox to John's Landing a pleasant, fun outing! A special thank you to both John and Gaila for making this happen!"
Jul 14th, 2020 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Jul 14th, 2020 - Aaron from Dell Creek
A unique drone video of Black Earth Creek from Black Earth to Mazo was recently released. I highly recommend watching it:
Jun 2nd, 2020 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Appreciate the update Eric as always!
Jun 1st, 2020 - Eric Guderyon from Wingra Creek
I ran this section twice over the weekend with 2 different groups. We had young and old, with both experienced and first time kayakers. They all had a good time, fun enough for the experienced kayakers to play a bit and yet easy enough to be safe for the beginners. The Wolf Run Trail makes for an easy and pretty bike shuttle. The only obstruction was one easy scoot over, and there are few things to maneuver around. I did some clearing of overhanging branches as I went. The creek was at 97 CFS and 2.5 ft, which were great levels, water was still a bit cloudy from recent rains but still nice. The creek should be at great levels all this week.
May 7th, 2020 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Great news! Thanks as always for your updates Gaila as they are very helpful for other paddlers.
May 7th, 2020 - gaila hagg olsen from black earth
OK...just talked to the Mazo town crew and they said that the creek is now open in you can paddle from olson road all the way to john's landing in walking iron park near the soccer fields with no problem. And if you want to put in at the shoe box in black earth...there will just be one cattle fence (almost all under water tho) to deal with. so you can get a nice long paddle done if you want to.
May 2nd, 2020 - Gaila Hagg Olsen from Black Earth Creek of a few days ago they got rid of that big log jam downstream of cty rd y=state st. that i had written about earlier in the week....however, there might be one smaller tree to encounter a wee bit further down...but the big one got taken out...yippee.,....but here is info on another tree to deal with as you enter town: after you go under hwy 14 past two bridges/railroad track/hudson st east bridge, the river goes north and then takes a tight curve is narrow and zippy and there is a tree down there. all you need to do is hug river left and you can wind your way through the downed branches (we lopped off a bunch) .avoid river right tho... now if you don't like the winding technique the portage there is very easy...up and over a sand bar...enjoy your paddle...
Apr 27th, 2020 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Thanks as always for the updates Gaila
Apr 27th, 2020 - Gaila Olsen from Black Earth Creek
Say…paddled from shoe box to john’s landing yesterday on the black earth creek. The cattle fence is easy to negotiate (but you have to get out to do it) cuz even tho the second strand has disappeared the first strand of barb wire is still hanging in there but it is covered with junk and sitting low in the water. But it was easy to pull into a newly developed inlet on river right just in front of the first strand…then pull one’s boat over the debris and jump in. From Olson Road…there has been quite a bit of river traffic…play boats actually for the drops up to two bridges (wolf run trail head). After two bridges…creek is do-able (with one narrows and downed tree to skim through or do the easy portage on river left…we sawed/snipped branches off for you yesterday) up to Pearl’s landing on hwy Y = state street. After that there is a huge- huge jam…from the banks eroding and trees sliding in. we did manage (not easily with my 12’ kayak) to go completely river left, scoot under a fallen tree and then pull ourselves through a 40’ narrows that has developed between the bank and tree roots. But just ahead is another smaller jam. It has become semi-do-able after we sawed/snipped branches from river left. But remember…some of these obstacles may not be do-able depending on water level. A fast current with a longer boat could be a problem because it might slam you into the jams. Then it was down to John’s landing. I might do this trip with some friends again on Thursday….but for now, Pearl’s landing seems like a nice place to pull out. Those jams and steep banks (for potential portages??) are iffy for folks who don’t know how to control their boats in a faster current.
Oct 19th, 2019 - Aaron from Dell Creek
That's too bad. Hopefully that same person who did that amazing cleanup in July will do another cleanup shortly here.
Oct 18th, 2019 - Jon from Starkweather Creek
Paddled from Olson Rd. to Lions Park on 18Oct2019 at 105 CFS. Additional trees are down in town since I paddled it in August. I managed to sneak through without portaging, but the banks are steep and eroded in this section, so portaging would be difficult. Unless you have a short boat and good skills at getting through logjams, I wouldn’t recommend paddling past N. State St. unless water levels are quite a bit lower than 105 CFS. The waves worth playing in are mostly between Olson Rd. and Crescent St. (Wolf Run Two Bridges Trailhead.)
Aug 21st, 2019 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Appreciate the update Jon!
Aug 20th, 2019 - Jon B from Starkweather Creek
Paddled from Olson Rd. to Lions Park (John's Landing) on 20Aug2019, 90 CFS at 2.5 ft. A couple of blockages in Mazo, but not bad if you have the skills and the right boat to sneak through. Nothing like the logjams from hell in the spring of 2019. I chatted with a kayaker named Dave was using a saw make passage even easier. (Thanks, Dave!) Fun level for beginner whitewater paddlers, several surfable waves, and I took a lapful of water on two of the drops.
Jun 30th, 2019 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Thanks Gaila for the updates. Sounds like there always could be a surprise still, but the creek should be in significantly better shape now.
Jun 30th, 2019 - Gaila Hagg Olsen from Black Earth Creek
OK…I do give up . Just got off the creek (from wolf run trail to john’s landing) again in time before the storm came through this morning around 11:30. But here is the latest: Blockage #1 that Gary, I , Jared, Chris had two encounters of the close kind with finally got taken out a few days ago with Gary’s chainsaw and we also sawed the 30’ section that fell off the river right bank into smaller pieces. Well, today #1 was alive and well but with a smaller tree that had cut across the curve with that very fast current. Our bowsaws took that limb down but we couldn’t catch the tree as it floated away…wanted to chop it into smaller pieces. But there is now no blockage #1 on that tight curve after Hudson Bridge. Blockage #2. Was taken out by a paid contractor a few weeks ago and it is gone. Blockage #2.5….the new kid on the block just showed up today and there is a great flat portage to river left….but we cut out the small branches and obstructions on river right and you can get through easily now otherwise it was blocked. Blockage #3: the biggee that 6 of us spent 1.5 hours on has a mind of its own. On river left the big tree sunk in the creek and we just managed to eke over it…with lower water..forget it. As for river right…the 8’ swathe that the folks chainsawed….well that got filled up with larger branches and limbs. We got that cleared out, so that is now a go. BUT HERE IS THE KICKER…. YES YOU CAN GET THROUGH IT NOW….BUT I HAVE NOW IDEA WHAT IT WILL LOOK IN A FEW DAYS. (Since last year’s huge flood the banks are so unstable.) We just had rain and wind storm come through. So Chris, if you go out paddling on Tuesday with the the mcp-ers can you give a heads up to me and possibly the other folks listed in the email. -- Update: 2019-08-25: Just to let you know that we paddled all the way down from olson road to john’s landing today…..someone has been very busy cutting off stumps that stick out from the banks for us and working on some jams….there was only one tree to deal with but if you go river left you can skim over it…..a nice paddle….creek is flowing quickly….gaila
Jun 16th, 2019 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Sorry to hear about what happened. The creek is a bit on the high side now and that can contribute to the pushy current. Hopefully those jams get cleared out in the future.
Jun 16th, 2019 - Ken and Judy Denu from Mazomanie
Kyackers beware. Went down creek today from Olson road to park , only didn’t make it that far. Great ride up to bed and breakfast , beautiful. .. then a bit past that, all hell broke loose . Three Trees down , no area to portage , very deep water, banks eroded. Current pushed us both into down trees and we tipped. Kyacks sunk, wedged in trees. Had to hold on to downed tree with one hand, other hand trying to turn kyack as Water was over our heads. It was a real mess. We ended up having to leave boats and walk home . Very happy to get off that water today!!! Very dangerous . We would NOT recommend anyone going past Wolf Run Trail until they clear out trees . Be safe out there. The creek is not as it was last year .
Jun 13th, 2019 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Thanks for the info.
Jun 13th, 2019 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Appreciate the updates Gaila.
Jun 12th, 2019 - Gaila Hagg Olsen from black earth
In Mazo below the high way 14 bridge inexperienced paddlers might get swept down the vee, river left, into some tree limbs hanging out on the side…courtesy of the spring flood. Further down through town there are at least three trees down….some gathering benches and picnic tables. My husband and I did paddle the entire stretch on Sunday the 4th and didn’t have problems but we used our smaller 10’6” kayaks and in our younger years we were white water canoeists….so we still have a few moves in our memory banks that help us work our way through the obstacles!! Gaila
Jun 12th, 2019 - Gaila Hagg Olsen from black earth
June 6th, 2019 The Black Earth Creek from the Shoe Box to John’s Landing has a few glitches. The cattle fence (barbed wire) is up across the creek about 1.5 miles down from the Shoe Box. You will have to pull out about 50’ in advance and portage through the grass/fence. The fence with kayak gate got taken out in the spring flood. This is a work in progress. Patience please but paddle safely too.
Jun 8th, 2019 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Yikes...appreciate the heads up.
Jun 8th, 2019 - Rick Hannah from Six mile creek
Ran this section on June 3, at 90 cfs. Wonderful paddling, until I got into Mazo, specifically past the Co. Y bridge. Ran into a tree, spanning across the creek, which became a difficult portage. Ended up dumping. Rather harrowing. Be very careful when approaching this, especially in higher water. There was a portage before this one that was very easy to navigate.
Jun 6th, 2019 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Current looks pretty quick there...hopefully that gets cleared out in the future.
Jun 6th, 2019 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Appreciate the update Aaron.
Jun 6th, 2019 - Aaron Patterson from Wingra Creek
Picture of the strainer:
Jun 6th, 2019 - Aaron Patterson from Wingra Creek
There is a strainer on the Olsen Rd to Walking Iron section immediately after passing under the Highway 14 bridge when entering Mazomanie. On approach it looks like you can skirt around the edge but the main current will pull you into and under the log jam. Recommend portaging. There is one other log jam in Mazo in calm water that is easier to portage around.
Oct 22nd, 2018 - Aaron from Dell Creek
That's great news as previously it was noted there were more serious jams on this stretch. Wonder if the locals cleaned them out.
Oct 21st, 2018 - Eric guderyon from Wingra Creek
Just did this section on 10/18, no jams or obstructions until the very end, at the rapids just after the Hwy 14 bridge and upstream from the Wolf Run Trail bridge, a few trees down, but passable on the far left side and the landing at the trail head is washed out but still serviceable.
Sep 25th, 2018 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Thanks for the information. Hopefully the garbage and logjams will get cleared out in the future.
Sep 24th, 2018 - Jon from Starkweather Creek
Paddled from Olson Rd. to Lions Park on 24Sept2018 at about 70 CFS at 2.6 ft. Water was turbid. My logjam experiences were similar to Eric's post above. However, the first jam didn't feel entirely solid to me, and may have picked up more debris in the past week. Two tires, some balls, etc. were on the river left side where I climbed over. I somehow pulled through the second jam without exiting the boat. The wing dams seem to have gotten blown out a bit by the flood, and the creek looked wider to me with some changes in its features. It looks like the flooding was worse through town than near the put-in, with debris much higher in the trees, and more bank scouring. I saw a step ladder jammed horizontally around a tree about 10 feet up. I expect more trees to fall during storms, due to their roots not having as much soil to anchor to. I bike shuttled along KP due to the Wolf Run Trail being closed. Heavy equipment was re-lining Lake Marion. Here's a link to a story:
Sep 15th, 2018 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Thanks Eric for the update. I was really worried about the creek after the big floods, and it sounds like it has some jams, but it could have been much worse.
Sep 15th, 2018 - Eric G. from Wingra Creek
I did the section from Olson Rd bridge to John's Landing at Lion's Park on Fri 9/14/18 (70 CFS and 2.65ft). The part from Olson Rd to the Wolf Run landing is totally open and was a whole lot of fun. Despite the relatively low CFS there seemed to be a lot of water in the rapids, no shallow spots and the creek seemed fast. In the section through Mazo there were 2 big blockages and several smaller ones. The first blockage is a big solid jam involving many downed trees. It is solid enough to walk on and it was pretty simple to just pull my kayak up and over. Not sure how deep the creek was but there is not much current and all in all it was pretty simple portage. The next blockage was just one group of trees with several trunks and many branches,and steep banks. No way through, under, over or around. I had to go back up stream 20 yards to find an easy way to get out then it was an easy portage around and back in. There are a few other small tress down but it is fairly simple to get through all of them. The trip took less than 2 hours and I would strongly recommend it to any with good boat control, doesn't mind a few simple portages, and is up for an adventure. The Wolf Run trail is closed due to damage from the flood, but Hwy 14 is open to Olson Road and is a great bike shuttle option because it has very little traffic because it is closed at Black Earth. I would NOT recommend doing a bike shuttle on Hwy KP because it is now a main route between Black Earth and Mazo and has very heavy traffic.
Jun 26th, 2018 - gaila hagg olsen from black earth present there are some obstacles you will encounter in the Mazo area from olson road to john’s landing. Mazo will be taking care of them soon. And as for John's landing to the Blynn Road section of the river. That is a complete mess and will always be! We did try clearing it last year....but it is so windy and full of jams and it just is impossible to keep open . Anyone who does that section will always run into obstacles and possibly fences. We spend most of our efforts on the shoe box to John's Landing section of the creek. Now...if a kayaker wants to explore some more remote part of the river...put in at blynn road and go all the way to the wis river and arena landing....that area is very pretty and very wild. There will be some tricky maneuvering to deal with and some obstacles to maybe portage around...but the banks aren't usually too intimidating. I have done that section a few times and enjoy its remoteness. Once you paddle in, there are no escape routes or roads to get out on because you are in the heart of the wis river bottoms. Cool.
Jun 26th, 2018 - gaila olsen from black earth
We got the cattle gate up and running on Sunday June 24th. The prototype hangs more vertical but the newer model is a little bit more angled because it has a longer swing arm for me to push aside when I come through with a boat. We used chains too, so we can go back and adjust the height and the swing arm if we want to. The other fence just has a latch attached with pvc pipes. We kept both openings narrow. Also you can see how the fence is about 'shot'. The farmer says he hopes to put in a new fence next year. My husband and I have used a chainsaw on previous big trees that have gotten hung up on the we know that the fence has seen lots of abuse in its 25 years of service. The farmer will go look at the gate this week and if he likes it...then it stays put...if he doesn't then he will have to figure out plan B. If you don't hear from me again for awhile...that means that he likes our kayak gate. Also we put a sign up at the shoe box saying there is a cattle fence up ahead that will require paddlers to get out at river right and push/pull through. Then about 100' before the fence we have a sign saying to pull out river right. The famer might mow the bank there so folks can get out easier because the long grass/weeds are hanging out so far now that it is tough to see that there even is a bank next to the fence. However, some of us did weed whack some of the tall grass on Sunday. Folks should realize that the creek there is shallow but fast. Gaila
Jun 18th, 2018 - Aaron from Dell Creek
That's too bad. Thanks anyways for the update though.
Jun 18th, 2018 - Sean Mulbrandon from Black Earth Creek
Tried to make it to Blynn Road yesterday, couldn't do it. There are many logjams and tree debris in the way. Most of the time you can get speed and plow through a gauntlet of branches, or squeeze underneath a log, but at two locations I had to portage. I finally cut my trip short at a farm field on Morrill Road (so close!). Would not recommend until cleared out.
Jun 8th, 2018 - gaila olsen from black earth
Putting in at the above listed spot near the park is not suggested. The culvert bridge to go under and potential trees that are there are not worth the effort. There is a new landing at the Shoe Box which avoids all of this. However, at present we are asking folks to put in at Olson Rd. My husband, myself, and other locals are trying to come up with a way to make the cattle fence obstacle less challenging. Kayakers have to know that we are working on it along with the farmer and other locals. The stream (which no one ever use to paddle) has become exponentially popular so that the old techniques of getting through the fence is not working anymore...especially when folks do not rehook the latches. There are young calves crossing the stream now who are curious and last year one of their 'moms' got out on hi-way we want to come up with a solution that makes both farmer and kayers (like myself) happy. stay tuned...we are working on it. and we thank you for your patience. .
Oct 23rd, 2017 - admin
Appreciate the comment!
Oct 22nd, 2017 - Eric G. from Wingra Creek
I did the section from Olson Rd to the Wolf Run trail head, with a short easy bike shuttle. This would be a great trip for someone who wants to try some easy fun whitewater. I would have liked to do a longer paddle but I did it on a bit of a lark, as I had my dog with me so she had to run along on the bike shuttle. The Wolf Run trail was the perfect length, about 2 miles and it runs right from the take out to right behind The Wisconsin Heights High School, which is only 1/4 mile down Olson road from the put-in. The whole trip from dropping of the boat,driving to the end, biking back,paddling the creek, loading the boat, and driving back to get my bike took just over 2 hours. A great way to spend a 78 degree late Oct afternoon
Oct 1st, 2017 - admin
I don't remember that bike path, so that must be new. Very good news for paddlers wanting to do bike shuttles.
Oct 1st, 2017 - Eric G. from Wingra Creek
I did this section last weekend (9/23) and it was fantastic, water was clean and fast with no obstructions. The numerous wing dams had just enough drop to make it fun and exciting but still enjoyable and safe for my companion who had never kayaked before. There is a dedicated bike trail that runs from Mazo to right behind the High School that took us less than 15 mins, and is a perfect option for a bike shuttle so you only need one car. Had a great inexpensive lunch at a small cafe called the Base Camp Cafe on Brodhead Street in Mazo.
Jul 4th, 2017 - admin
Really appreciate your hard work Gaila!
Jul 4th, 2017 - gaila hagg olsen from black earth wi
OK...please note that John's Landing is now available at Walking Iron Park for a put-in and has space for about 15 cars to park. Good spot to put in. However, John's Landing to Blynn road is still a work in progress. Very hard to keep clear plus the farmers have some issues with trees being cut, etc. It shall improve once the crops are out and we can get in to the creek from the fields. BUT now for the fun update: today 7 of us spent 5 hours with john boat/kayaks/hand saws/ chainsaw/loppers/ etc and cleared from Blynn down to the Wis River. It is totally navigable. There are trees to skirt around but all are do-able. Also we cut back many of the overhanging branches and managed to loosen some of the floating logs. So...go have fun. Gaila and Gary Olsen Black Earthlings along with 5 Mazomites!!
Jul 2nd, 2017 - admin
Thanks so much for the comments Jennifer! It's too bad to hear about the new logjams, but I know some cleanup work has been done on the lower section and this might be in better shape now. Also appreciate the heads up about the accesses and the fences. It's great to see what the community has done the creek.
Jul 2nd, 2017 - admin
Really appreciate the update Gaila!
Jul 2nd, 2017 - Gaila from Black Earth Creek
For the folks who want to put in at the Shoe Box Landing, it won’t exactly be smooth sailing down to Olson Road…the cattle figured out how to get through our kayak gates that we had installed. What we did last week (after having to remove the gates and pull the cattle fence back into position across the width of the creek) was to put some i-bolts and wire in on the right side fence posts and if you want to get through…you just get out of your kayak (the water is shallow there with a firm base) unhook the double latches from the wire to the fence…bend over a wee bit, push your kayak through….close up the latches and then repeat the process for the second fence. This is pretty easy now considering that originally we would have to go on our stomach and scoot through. Impossible to do in high water. The best alternative thois just to put in at Olson Road and you won’t have to deal with any fences all the way down to John’s Landing. We are suggesting this route until we can improve the fence and reintroduce the kayak pvc gates. Kows before Kayaks. Gaila and Gary: Black Earthlings.
Jul 2nd, 2017 - Jennifer Sellek from Black Earth Creek
My husband and I did this section this spring when the creek was very high. We had to portage about 6 times (lost count!) but hopefully the jams are cleared now. Just a few updates for you: There is a new bridge at the put in at Walking Irons park and the banks are very rocky from the new construction, my guess is to prevent erosion. All of the brush has been removed on both sides of the creek which looks great. On the south side of the creek, just downstream of the bridge, an "official" put in has been created and marked! The swing gates at Morrill Road bridge were gone at the time we paddled through. Don't know if it's just seasonal or if they're gone for good. This is a fantastic website and has been invaluable to my husband and me as we are novice paddlers. Thanks!
Nov 17th, 2015 - admin
Thanks Jon for the update!
Nov 16th, 2015 - Jon from Starkweather Creek
Nov. 15, 2015 - Olson Rd to Walking Iron park at ~40 CFS, 2 ft at USGS Black Earth gauge (but noticed a physical gauge stick that read about 1.5 ft. part way through trip.) Downed tree just past Hwy 14 bridge required climbing out to pull over, but only a couple of other hang ups on gravel if reading the creek carefully.
Jul 16th, 2015 - Dane from Madison
There's a downed tree towards the end in Mezomanie we had to port across. The creek seems to be running a little faster and higher from the storm over the weekend compared to a few weeks ago when we paddled it.
Oct 15th, 2014 - admin
Hi Mike, I have not paddled this section so passed on your question to somebody who did (John Wick) and here is his reply: "Park and launch from Olson Road, either side of road, with excellent riffles all the way to a landing on the right at a narrow takeout just below the trail bridge at Walking Iron Park. Most of your paddling will be for steering. I recommend you continue on to the bridge on Hudson Street West where you land on the left downstream side of the bridge right next to the concrete. You pull your kayak back under the bridge on flat, level ground to load out on the north east corner of the bridge. No current portages. A good run with a 3.1 mile bike ride back to Olson Road. Water flow at Black Earth is 34 CFS which means shallow water over some sand bars. I made one run from Walking Iron past West Hudson to Morrill Rd before two spring windstorms. The run as far as West Hudson Road from Walking Iron was the best part. There was a good flow of water but probably not as many riffles as upstream. Still, it was a scenic and enjoyable trip."
Oct 14th, 2014 - mike
What is the creek like riffle wise from the park to Hudson Rd? What side of the bridge has the best take out? Thanks!
Sep 23rd, 2014 - admin
Thanks for the comment! It's actually clear now from Walking Iron to Hudson for maybe a mile longer trip. Great little creek that does rival the Badfish for the best paddle in Dane County.
Sep 22nd, 2014 - mike
Paddled the creek today 9/22/14. Olson rd to walking iron park is clear! Awesome paddle, thanks for the write up on it! Would have never found otherwise. I live 10 min from badfish creek, and this is faster and more intimate. It is also more scenic with the hills in the distance.
Aug 18th, 2014 - admin
Thanks John for the update!
Aug 18th, 2014 - John F Wick
1.The field on the west side of the Shoe Box looks like a good spot to park the car, unload off the street and launch. I have not yet talked to owner Steve. 2.We are working on the problem of the fences across the creek. 3.Olson Road bridge is a great launch site. Park and launch on the east side. 4.Two Bridges with shelter, trail head and porta potty is a good stopping point below bridge on left. 5.We are working on railroad bridge debris just downstream from Two Bridges. 6.State street below bridge on left is mowed county land sold by Schumann to county, mowed to creek by Schumann for a great downtown landing and launch and they approve use. 7.At walking Iron Park 200 yards downstream from the small trail bridge I mowed a trail into a good landing/launch site north of the rest room and pumping station.

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

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