Little Wolf – Guest Review

Guest Author: Corbin
Date Paddled: May 15th, 2013
Put-in: DNR Parking Area
Take-out: Big Falls Boat Landing
Distance: 7.5 Miles
Water Level: Little Wolf @ Royalton 420 CFS (good depth)

The Little Wolf is one of the nicer rivers I have kayaked.  It has very nice scenery.  The forest is healthy and filled with ferns, hemlocks, and wildflowers.  Bird life is abundant.  There are several boulder gardens with some very large boulders.  Throughout the stretch, there were numerous riffles and a couple of rapids to provide excitement.  The rapids were fun without being dangerous.  All of us took on water at some point, but nobody capsized. 

Toward the end of the stretch we did there was a very nice rock gorge (dells) that provided some cool scenery as well as some rapids.  There are several small but nice bluffs afterwards as well. Although the water quality was good, the river itself didn’t seem to have much plant or animal life in it.  There wasn’t much to complain about.  There were several private homes along the stretch, and the river paralleled the highway for a little bit.  Most of the stretch was civilization free though. 

After passing the rock gorge, the river began to slow down and widen as it approached the dam in Big Falls.  Where the river begins widening out, the water was barely deep enough to kayak.  Overall, a very nice river.  We scraped and bumped a lot of rocks, so I would not recommend bringing a nice kayak. During periods of low water, this river would be difficult to navigate due to the rocks.   The put-in and take-out locations were easy to find and convenient.

Webmaster note:  While I have done all the other reviews on this website, this one was done by my brother.  I do end up running and reviewing this section a year later and I highly suggest reading the review here as it has updated information on the river.

Second webmaster note: New in 2017, “Big Falls Kayak Rentals” will now service the upper portions of the Little Wolf.

Little Wolf River Overview:

  • Ness Road to Wolf River Road:  (2.5 miles)  Interesting prospect but likely a few downed trees.
  • Wolf River Road to Big Falls:  (7.7 miles) 
    • Wolf River Road:  (3.6 miles)  Scenic section with some strong Class 2 whitewater.  Good put-in.
    • Hwy J to Big Falls:  (4.1 miles)  Also scenic and with whitewater, with perhaps a Class 3 by the Dells.  Good launch by Hwy J. 
  • Big Falls Dam to Hwy 110:  (8.7 miles)
    • Big Falls Dam to Big Falls South Landing:  (345′)  After the dam is Big Falls, a popular stretch for whitewater paddlers and can be Class 4.  Access below or above Big Falls is available from a landing on the east. 
    • Big Falls South Landing to Hwy C: (1.7 miles) Good prospect which includes “Little Falls” (Class 1-2).
    • Hwy C to Kretchner Road:  (2.8 miles)  A good prospect.  Scenic picture of Hwy C from Google Maps.
    • Kretchner Road to Hwy 110:  (4.2 miles)  A very good prospect with many boulders visible from satellite.  Might be a ledge to deal with. 
  • Hwy 110 to Hwy 22/Symco:  (8.0 miles)  Unimproved bridge put-in but should be ok.  This section likely has some deadfall issues (not sure how much though).
  • Hwy 22/Symco to Manawa Dam:  (5.9 miles)
    • Hwy 22/Symco to Bridge Road:  (2.0 miles)  Looks like a nice section with some rapids and boulder gardens near Symco.  Good put-in at Symco.
    • Bridge Road to Manawa Dam: (3.9 miles)  Likely a mediocre section with some flowage paddling at the end.  Some of the flowage paddling can be avoided by taking out at Waupaca Park.  Bridge Road is a good put-in.
  • Manawa Dam to Road Bb: (3.9 miles)
    • Manawa Dam to Hwy B:  (1.9 miles)  Honestly an uninteresting section with slow current and bland flood-bottom woods.  Aquatic weeds are an issue (thanks to the Manawa Septic plant).  River does get a bit more interesting after the railroad tracks and features a small boulder garden.
    • Hwy B to Hwy 110/B:  (0.9 miles)  A  good stretch with some boulder gardens and good clarity.  There are Class 2 rapids by the “Rapid View” island.
    • Hwy 110/B to Rod Bb:  (2.1 miles).  A great stretch with several impressive boulder gardens and a few minor rapids.
  • Road Bb to Hwy X: (7.6 miles)
    • Road Bb to Royalton: (3.5 miles) Very good put-in.  Nice clarity and boulders until the South Branch joins (almost doubling the river).  Very nice boulder garden and rapids 2/3rds in. 
    • Royalton to Ostrander:  (2.7 miles)  After the brief rapids under Hwy 54/O, the Little Wolf goes back to sleep, with pleasant but monotonous scenery (the highlight being sporadic boulders). Finally, maybe a half mile prior to Ostrander Road, there is another set of rapids (Class 1) and an attractive boulder garden.  Paddlers will have to deal with many tubers.
    • Ostrander Road to Hwy X:  (1.4 miles)  Busiest tubing section probably in the state.  Very nice boulder gardens and rapids at end.  Public landing NE of Ostrander Road.
  • Hwy X to the Mouth (Junction at Wolf River):  (2.0 miles)  Part of the Mukwa Bottomland Forest SNA
  • Mouth to Dey Road/Shaw Road Boat Ramp:  (0.8 miles)  A short stretch on a now large Wolf River.

Trip Map

View Little Wolf in a larger map

Overview Map




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