Pecatonica River – East Branch
The East Branch is a solid river for paddling. As a general rule the further upstream you go, the better the scenery…but also the greater the likelihood of logjams.
September 18th, 2021
Expect 2 hours
This is a weaker stretch of the East Branch, but it wasn't a bad paddle. It's most memorable feature was the Blanchardville dam at the put-in which is photogenic. Read More...
August 9th, 2014
4 hours 35 minutes
An underrated prospect located 40 minutes southwest of Madison, with nice plantlife and tree canopies, but most of all, some splendid rock bluffs. There is a decent chance you haven’t heard of the East Branch of the Pecatonica River, as many paddle review sources do not cover it. This is odd…but kind of a consistent […] Read More...
- Upstream of Hwy Hk: Too many logjams to recommend.
- Hwy Hk to Burma Road: 1.3 miles. An ok prospect with perhaps some obstructions.
- Burma Road to Star Valley Road1st: 2.0 miles. An interesting prospect with good scenery and not too many logjams.
- Star Valley Road1st to Hwy 39: 3.1 miles. Good scenery potential but too congested.
- Hwy 39 to Horseshoe Bend Road: 7.6 miles.
- Hwy 39 to McKenna Road: 3.9 miles. A pleasant section with a rock outcrop near the take-out.
- McKenna Road to Horseshoe Bend Road: 3.7 miles. Another pleasant section with a massive rock wall.
- Horseshoe Bend to Blanchardville Dam: 3.6 miles. Less interesting prospect compared to the immediate upstream section. This part of the river has seen tornado damage, but this should be mostly cleared up now.
- Blanchardville Dam to Hwy 78: 3.9 miles.
- Blanchardville Dam to Gordon Creek Landing: 0.3 miles. A short, but pleasant stretch through the outskirts of Blanchardville.
- Gordon Creek Landing to Hwy 78: 3.5 miles. While not bad, this is one of the lesser interesting stretches.
- Hwy 78 to River Road: 6.4 miles. A good prospect with several nice outcrops.
- River Road to Argyle Boat Launch: 7.4 miles. Also a good prospect with more outcrops. Alternative take-out at River Street.
- Argyle Boat Launch to Blackhawk Memorial Park: 8.3 miles. Not as nice as previous sections but still good.
- Blackhawk Memorial Park to Road M: 1.0 miles.
- Hwy M to Cisserville Road: 6.4 miles. Probably uninteresting.
- Cisserville Road to Mouth: 2.2 miles. Probably a weak prospect.
- Mouth to Hwy 11: 3.2 miles. A leg on the Pecatonica River (main branch) to reach a take-out.
Bonus video below of butterflies siphoning minerals from mud and beating their wings as a hydraulic mechanism.
How did your trip turn out? Questions or comments? Feel free to leave your feedback.