Grant River

This is one of the great paddling rivers of Southern Wisconsin.  It’s highlight are exotically textured limestone cliffs which you rarely see in other parts of the state.

Trip Reports

Hwy 61 to Mt. Ridge Road

Date Paddled: September 28th, 2019
Distance: 4.8 miles
Time: 4 hours 15 minutes (2-3 hours would be more typical)

This is about as far upstream on the Grant River that you can paddle.  There are some fun rapids and scenic outcrops...but there is a lot of mud and pasture to deal with.  There are also 3-4 logjams, one of which forced me to take an unplanned swim.


Mt. Ridge Road to Pine Knob Road

Date Paddled: October 27th, 2018
Distance: 2.6 miles
Time: 2 hours 10 minutes (75 minutes would be more typical)

The far upper portion of the Grant River (called the Rogers Branch) is actually navigable during high water.  This was a surprisingly nice trip through trout-land with no logjams, fun rapids and scenic limestone rock formations.


University Farm Road to Short Cut Road

Date Paddled: August 11th, 2018
Distance: 3.7 miles
Time: 3 hours 5 minutes (2 hours would be more typical)

An obscure upstream segment on the Grant River that was a mixed bag.  The access spots were a bit challenging and the water a bit muddy...but there were some nice limestone outcrops and rapids.


Short Cut Road fishing access to Grant River Road

Date Paddled: August 31st, 2014
Distance: 5.4 miles
Time: 5 hours 59 minutes (atypical expect 2-3 hours)

Not being the cleanest river nor the best wilderness experience, the Grant River is pretty much a one-trick pony.  But it is a good trick though!  What makes the Grant special are the occasional limestone and sandstone bluffs, which are fantastic and make this trip worth doing. Put-in: For a river fraught with access issues, […]


Grant River Rd to Blackjack Rd

Date Paddled: August 13th, 2021
Distance: 6.4 miles
Time: Expect 3 hours

This is yet another great leg on the Grant River with fun rapids and scenic outcrops.  A surprise highlight were the many sandstone cliffs, since most of the Grant cuts through limestone.


Hwy U to Camel Ridge Road

Date Paddled: July 25th, 2020
Distance: 5.7 miles
Time: Expect 2.5 hours

Fast current, beautiful scenery, 9+ sandstone outcrops, fun rapids, and zero logjams--another winning trip on the Grant River.


Camel Ridge Road to Chaffie Hollow Road

Date Paddled: August 24th, 2019
Distance: 3.1 miles
Time: 3 hours 5 minutes (90 minutes would be more typical)

Between the back fields and hidden valleys of the Driftless Area flows one of the most popular tubing stretches in the state.  Despite the heavy tube traffic, this segment of the Grant is still a great kayak trip, with highlights being good current, sandstone outcrops, and a fantastic "dripping rock."


Overview Map

Detailed Overview

Nearby Guages



Aug 26th, 2021 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Thanks for the feedback. I'll take this into consideration for future reviews. FYI, getting around that logjam wasn't super difficult. We had to do some minor hopping over a branch, but otherwise the river had cut a clear detour around the tree.
Aug 26th, 2021 - Richard Hannah from Six mile creek
Love your videos but would like to see more of how you get around obstacles, like the one you touched on briefly. I’m a visual learner so it helps me see things,in addition to reading about them. Thanks!
Aug 9th, 2020 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Thanks Scotty for the updates. That's good news about Shortcut that launch was in bad shape last I checked. The upstream bridge isn't a bad alternate put-in though. It's good to hear that the 1st bridge on Pigeon River Road is also viable. Keep up the good work on your youtube channel which has a lot of good river videos.
Aug 9th, 2020 - Scotty Wertel from Driftless area
Greetings Aaron, I just wanted to drop you a quick note and let you know that I paddled the Grant River on Friday and can share some intel. We put-in at Shortcut Road which is once again a viable option. There is a clear path the the river, then there is a 3-4' drop (which is doable to butt slide down), then a flat and solid spot to launch from. Send me your direct e-mail address and I can e-mail you some pictures. We paddled the 6.6 miles to the 1st bridge on Pigeon River Road. It's doable, not great, not terrible; upstream river left. There are rocks that you can get out on. The bank is steep but climbable with only a little Japanese hops and nettles. There is plenty of roadside parking here as well. There were three of us and we helped each other get our boats up without issue. This 6.6 mile section is nice because you get some great rock formations without the long 11.25 haul to County U. Thanks for your continued posts. I enjoy reading them and adding more paddles to my future list. Take care, Scotty Wertel (aka the Driftless Kayaker)

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

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