Eau Claire River – Chippewa Tributary

Not to be confused with Wisconsin’s other Eau Claire Rivers this is located at the western end of the state near the city of Eau Claire.  Highlights include clear red water, mostly undeveloped shorelines, and fun rapids.

Trip Reports

Koehlers Ford Forest Road to Hwy H

Date Paddled: July 2nd, 2017
Distance: 5.3 miles
Time: 2 hours 27 minutes

This is a pleasant wilderness paddle with nothing too special, but does contain the most sand and gravel bars I've ever witnessed for a trip.


Harstad Park to Hwy D Bridge

Date Paddled: September 21st, 2013
Distance: 8.5 Miles
Time: 3.5 Hours

There are actually three Eau Claire Rivers in Wisconsin, so this can be very confusing.  I previously reviewed the Eau Claire River that flows into the Wisconsin River at Wausau here.  There is another Eau Claire that flows into the St. Croix, but in this case the review will focus on the river that flows […]


Hwy D to Big Falls County Park

Date Paddled: June 6th, 2020
Distance: 6.8 miles
Time: 4 hours 23 minutes (2 hours 30 minutes would be more typical)

This was a pleasant trip that included many nice sandbars, several granite outcrops, and one set of fun Class 2 rapids.  The highlight was Big Falls which has an impressive 15' descent and was quite photogenic.


Overview Map

Detailed Overview

Nearby Guages


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Jul 24th, 2018 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Thanks for the comments!
Jul 24th, 2018 - Karl from Chippewa River
My wife and I were deciding where to take our kayak trip today and your description of the Eau Claire between Harstad Park and CTY D made up our minds. There is a tree across most of the river just down stream from the park's landing that had us wading at the start and I got to splash around at a few low spots along the way, but we both had a great time. Thanks for sharing your experiences; your text and photos/videos make it easy to know what to expect when kayaking along your routes.
May 24th, 2018 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Thanks Lucas!
May 24th, 2018 - Lucas Ruhl from Altoona
Awesome review. That will be extremely helpful for the kayak trip I am hoping to take some time this summer. Couldn't imagine finding anything better and more complete than that. Very good work.
Mar 18th, 2018 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Hi Jim, You should be fine. I did the trip in late September which is a traditionally low time for the river. In July, I think water levels should be very good. Keep an eye on the Neillsville Gauge though... Anything below 130 CFS might be a bit low for a canoe. Personally, I would be more concerns about the water levels being too high with the amount of rain we've gotten these past two years.
Mar 18th, 2018 - Jim Johannsen from Apple River
Hi! What time of year did you do this trip? Some friends and I are thinking of doing this trip in late July in aluminum canoes, but I'm worried it'll be too low. We don't mind getting out and dragging over the shallow spots as long as it's not every 10 minutes. Thanks!
Jul 22nd, 2017 - admin
Thanks Rebecca!
Jul 22nd, 2017 - Rebecca from Eau Claire
Thanks for the great review and beautiful pictures. It's really helpful!
Feb 19th, 2015 - admin
Thanks for the comment!
Feb 18th, 2015 - Justin - EC Adventures from Eau Claire River (Chippewa Tributary)
Excellent review and thanks for the feedback for EC Adventures! We are biased, but these stretches on Eau Claire River are great trips for all types of paddlers. Feel free to reach out again if you have any interest in exploring the South Fork in 2015. We will be out there frequently this Spring, as it's the best time to check them out! EC Adventures www.ec-adventures.com 715.495.7427

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

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