Lemonweir River

This is a slow, sandy river often plagued with logjams.  It’s not an elite paddle, but a few stretches are nice.

Trip Reports

Buckley Ave to Hwy 173


Date Paddled: May 3rd, 2020
Distance: 4.6 miles
Time: 4 hours 42 minutes (2.5 hours would be more typical)

This is one of the nicer stretches on the Lemonweir River.  Highlights on this super sandy stretch include many pine trees and clear red water.  There were a handful of logjams that had to be portaged but they weren't that difficult.

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Butts Park to Forbes Road


Date Paddled: November 19th, 2020
Distance: 4.5 miles
Time: Expect 3 hours

This is an obscure stretch of the Lemonweir River located near Tomah.  While it enjoys good clarity and some surprisingly nice sandbars...it just has too many logjams to recommend.

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37th Street Public Access to Riverside Park in New Lisbon


Date Paddled: October 12th, 2014
Distance: 6.1 Miles
Time: 4 hours 18 minutes (3 hours would be more typical)

A big, long lake pretending to be a river.  Honestly, somewhat boring, but a nice rock outcropping, fall leaves and attractive white pines gave it redeeming value. Put-in: The old put-in for this stretch used to be the Hwy M bridge (southeast side).  While there still appears to be a launch there, there are “no […]

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Mauston Dam to 19th Ave Landing


Date Paddled: May 25th, 2012
Distance: 5 Miles
Time: 3 Hours

This is probably not one of the more well known rivers, but it is very nice never-the-less.  It empties into the Wisconsin River just north of the Dells rock formations.  The upper sections are absolutely not as popular as the lower sections.  Mike Svob does review one such section north of New Lisbon, but it […]

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19th Ave Landing to HH Landing


Date Paddled: July 20th, 2013
Distance: 14 Miles
Time: 5 hours 15 minutes

Having done and been pleasantly surprised with the previous two sections of the Lemonweir below Mauston, I decided to do the “middle section,” which is a 14 mile stretch from the 19th Ave Landing to the HH landing (bridge to bridge).  If you haven’t already, go ahead and read my review for the first five […]

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County HH Snowmobile Bridge to Two Rivers Landing


Date Paddled: June 17th, 2012
Distance: 4-5 Miles (depends on your maze route)
Time: 5.5 Hours (atypical...expect 2-3 hours instead)

Again, if you’ve read my previous review of the Lemonweir you know there are three segments below Mauston and to the Wisconsin River based on the landing options:  a five mile section, a ~14 mile section, and then a remaining 5 mile section to the Wisconsin.  This review will be of that last section.  You […]

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Overview Map

Detailed Overview

Lemonweir River - Main Branch:

  • East/South Fork Confluence to Hwy PP:  1.0 miles.  Maybe 3 logjams.
  • Hwy PP to Funnel Road:  2.0 miles.  Very straight.  Maybe 6 logjams.
  • Funnel Road to 2nd Ave:  1.2 miles.  Very channelized and straight.  Maybe 3 logjams.
  • 2nd Ave to Hwy H:  1.8 miles.  Maybe 4 logjams.  The channel at times is not well defined.
  • Hwy H to River Road:  2.3 miles.  Maybe 4-6 logjams.  There are confusing side channels and getting lost may be an issue.
  • River Road to 6th Ave:  5.4 miles.  Probably doable but there are a lot of logjams.
  • 6th Ave to 37th Street Landing:  4.4 miles.  This is occasionally paddled but does have some logjams.  Definitely a future trip.
  • 37th Street Landing to New Lisbon 6.6 miles.  A big, long lake pretending to be a river.  Honestly, somewhat boring, but a nice rock outcropping, fall leaves and attractive white pines gave it redeeming value when I paddled it.
  • New Lisbon Dam to Hwy 12/16 Shoulder:  7.9 miles.  Nice prospect with the “Little Dells” rock outcrop…but some jams (maybe 6).  The Hwy 12/16 shoulder where a small creek enters the river is a speculative access option and may not be practical.
  • Hwy 12/16 Shoulder to Riverside Park in Mauston:  4.6 miles.  Mostly slow open flowage paddling.
  • Mauston Dam to 19th Ave 4.5 miles.  One of the nicer stretches on the river. 
  • 19th Ave to Hwy HH 13.1 miles.  Not as interesting with slow current. 
  • Hwy HH to the Mouth 3.3 miles.  Good section with attractive rock outcrops.  A prelude to the Dells.

Lemonweir River - East Fork:

  • Hwy EW to Buckley Ave:  3.1 miles.  Starts with some flowage paddling and then transitions into a marsh paddle.  Some of the dikes may be confusing to navigate.  Perhaps 12 logjams...but most are clustered near the end.
  • Buckley Ave to Hwy 173 4.7 miles.  One of the most scenic stretches on the Lemonweir.  This is a diverse paddle with a marsh, a lake, cranberry bogs, sandbars, and scenic pines.  There are a handful of logjams but they are mostly located at the end of the trip and are easy portages.
  • Hwy 173 to Backwater Bar and Grill:  3.5 miles.  An interesting prospect through frac sand country and on my todo list.
    • Hwy 173 to Dove Ave:  0.9 miles.  Very open and sandy with countless small sandbars.  Good prospect.
    • Dove Ave to Cooper Road:  2.4 miles.  Sandy stretch that runs by some frac sand mines and cranberry farms.  Maybe two logjams, but mostly open.
    • Cooper Road to Backwater Bar and Grill:  0.2 miles.  A scenic stretch on a small flowage.  Note, I called the local bar and the access by the dam is open to the public.
  • Backwater Bar and Grill to Hwy 21:  0.5 miles.  Many likely logjams...perhaps almost nonstop.
  • Hwy 21 to East/South Fork Confluence:  0.3 miles.  Maybe 2-3 logjams.

Lemonweir River - South Fork:

  • Butts Park/Lake Tomah to Forbes Road 4.5 miles. 
    • Butts Park to Lake Tomah Dam:  0.2 miles.  A short paddle on Lake Tomah to reach the dam.  Lake Tomah is a nice lake but nothing special.
    • Lake Tomah Dam to Memorial Park:  1.2 miles.  A small sandy stretch with many downed trees to deal with.
    • Memorial Park to Tomah Dog Park:  0.6 miles.  A mostly open and pleasant stretch...but there is one large logjam that was a very difficult portage.
    • Tomah Dog Park to Forbes Road:  2.5 miles.  The first half contains many logjams, some of which are difficult portages.  The second half is mostly open but does require two logjam portages.
  • Forbes Road to County Hwy N:  6.1 miles.  A future trip.
    • Forbes Road to Hwy ET:  1.6 miles.  Pretty open...maybe 2 logjams.
    • Hwy ET to County Hwy N:  4.5 miles.  Surprisingly open and a good prospect.  Maybe 3 logjams.
  • County Hwy N to Excelsior Ave:  3.0 miles.  The golf course is pretty open but the woods likely have a number of logjams....maybe 6-8.
  • Excelsior Ave to East/South Fork Confluence:  0.5 miles.  Likely countless logjams.

Nearby Guages

Videos

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Comments

Jul 12th, 2020 - Aaron from Dell Creek
It's a cool stretch...and a great bike shuttle.
Jul 12th, 2020 - Laura from Dell Creek
I paddled the Lemonweir this morning, 7/12/20, putting in at 6th Ave and taking out at Kennedy County Park. I was solo so did a nice, easy bike shuttle. I had the most pleasant, splendid solo canoe paddle. Water was high so I was able to paddle around or through any jams I encountered- not a big deal and I like the adventure of it. Saw many, many deer, bald eagle, ducks and otter, and I'm in love with the stretch just before Kennedy County Park with its' stands of white pine. I really enjoy paddling the Lemonweir. Hope you do, too!
Mar 13th, 2019 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Thanks for the comment Donna. I have updated my navigation map.
Mar 13th, 2019 - Donna Thomas from Mauston
The bridge on W. Lemonweir Ct. is in a Subdivision, and will put You on a dammed private pond. Not access to Lemonweir River.
Aug 9th, 2017 - admin
Appreciate the comment Marilyn! If you see any issues on this segment, definitely let me know.
Aug 9th, 2017 - Marilyn
My husband and I are doing that segment tomorrow and was good to read your post...especially about the mosquitoes ? 2 years ago we put in at HH and took out at Holiday Shores on the Wis River near the Dells which we enjoyed. Thanks again!
Aug 7th, 2017 - admin
Thanks Gail for the comment! The Lemonweir has been hit hard by high water this year and it is great to hear that it is finally navigable and that sandbars are visible at 379 CFS.
Aug 7th, 2017 - Gail from Wisconsin River
Five of us did the section from 19th to HH on August 7, 2017. Our Garmin reported 11.4 miles. We did it in 3.5 hours of paddle time, which does not include breaks. Very slight breeze. All in all a friendly run, with a fair number of downed trees, but nothing we couldn't get around or under. CFS was 379, gauge height 4.85 ft at the New Lisbon USGS station. Smooth paddling all the way, it was easy to corner around sandbars. Best of all, few if any mosquitoes!!
Aug 11th, 2014 - admin
Thanks for the comment! I do agree that some of the paddling times are deceptive. In this case, the time is technically correct (for our trip), but we took breaks on the sandbar at the mouth, got a little lost, had some shallow water portages and got to out to explore some class piles. Not to mention my photo taking seriously slows down trips. When I get caught up with my reviews, I'll probably issue qualifiers for my times. The most accurate measure of time is distance. Fast paddlers in long boats do 3 miles an hour. Typical paddlers do 2 miles an hour and my paddles can take 1-2 miles an hour because of the sheer number of pictures I take. Great to hear from a Portage resident! Might still do the Fox by Portage yet....but it looked pretty weedy last week when I drove over it.
Aug 10th, 2014 - Mark
This site is great! I have done many of the same trips as I live near Portage. A useful piece of information for each trip is actual paddling time. We did the Lemonweir Mouth trip expecting 5 hours per your review. We put in at the snowmobile bridge at 11:30a. We were quite casual, stopping several times and just floating quite a bit. We hit the Two Rivers landing at 1:30pm. We actually had our pick up vehicle at the camp grounds on the WI River a mile down or so. In all we had about 2.5 hrs paddling casually. A nice trip, but we would have gone further if we knew the actual paddling time beforehand. Food for thought. Thanks for a great resource!

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

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