Maunesha River

This is a surprisingly nice tributary to the Crawfish River.  The leg through Waterloo is the best stretch…this features attractive wooded banks and fun rapids.

Trip Reports

Hwy TT to Lion's Park in Marshall

Date Paddled: June 22nd, 2019
Distance: 3.0 miles
Time: 3 hours 6 minutes (90 minutes would be more typical)

Thanks to recent cleanup efforts, this part of the upper Maunesha is now a viable water trail.  This isn't a five star trip and the current is pretty slow, but it does have some neat parts.


Marshall Dam to Fireman's Park

Date Paddled: July 19th, 2015
Distance: 8.3 Miles
Time: 6 hours (4 hours would be more typical)

At times a challenging river because of the log jams in fast water, the Maunesha does have its rewards in fun rapids if you stick it out to the end.


Cherry Lane to Waterloo Firemen's Park

Date Paddled: April 24th, 2021
Distance: 5.2 miles
Time: Expect 2-3 hours

With the removal of a couple of major logjams, the Maunesha has become one of the better water trails in the Madison area.  Highlights included lots of wildlife and fun Class 1 rapids through downtown Waterloo.


Firemen's Park to Hubbleton Road Access

Date Paddled: October 17th, 2020
Distance: 6.4 miles
Time: Expect 3 hours

The final leg of the Maunesha has recently benefited from some major cleanup work.  It is now a really nice wooded paddle.


Overview Map

Detailed Overview

Nearby Guages



Jul 30th, 2023 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Good news. As of July 15, 2023 the Maunesha from to Waterloo is open again.
Jul 30th, 2023 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Good news. As of July 15, 2023 the Maunesha from to Waterloo is open again.
May 26th, 2023 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Yikes...these must be new. It was clear sailing during my trip. The local friends group does have some cleanups planned and hopefully they can get the river open again. Thanks for the feedback.
May 26th, 2023 - Luke from Pewaukee
Did this trip a week and a half ago (05/17/23) and unfortunately it is currently chocked up with difficult to portage logjams. Got plenty of scrapes dragging my kayak over all the logs. Once those were done, around the Davis Instruments Co. marker, the low water levels made the rapids in and around Waterloo a slog. Definitely avoid until this stretch until the logjams are removed.
Jun 7th, 2021 - Aaron from Dell Creek can portage the main rapids. Just portage on the island or head down the millrace (on the right) which you can then wade over. I suggest bringing aquatic shoes if you plan on portaging.
Jun 7th, 2021 - Peter Healy from Wingra
Is it possible to portage around the rapids?
May 21st, 2021 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Thanks Jon for the update. Yeah this write-up is kind of out-of-date. The other is much more helpful: If I get a chance here later today, I'll try to update this.
May 20th, 2021 - Jon from Starkweather
Aaron, possible updates? 1)The link in your write-up doesn't link to a photo. Aaron wrote:"Here is an interesting picture of what the old Waterloo dam and flowage used to look like" 2)In my opinion the Beaver Dam gauge is unlikely to be useful because its level fluctuates with dam releases in BD (as described in your review of the BD). 3)The Dock is now Whispers Bar and Grill (no phone). Whispers is supporting the Maunesha Meander on May 23, 2021, and is one of the takeout options: I've never paddled this stretch and am looking forward to it. Looks like the MRAlliance is doing great things. Thanks for your always helpful website!
May 7th, 2021 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Thanks for the tip!
May 7th, 2021 - Eric Guderyon from Winga Creek
I just wanted to add some more info,while putting in we met the man who owns the property on the southwest side of the road, he had just mowed it and said that there was an easy place to put in about 50 yards upstream from the bridge and he was fine with people using it. We took out out at the first alt access you mention (West Pedestrian Bridge)as we did not want to deal with the mud at the other points, we found it fairly easy and there is parking nearby.
May 6th, 2021 - Aaron from Dell Creek
It's too bad to hear about your spill...I assume this happened at the site of the old dam. There are some tight turns in fast current...a bit harrowing but fun!
May 6th, 2021 - Eric Guderyon from Wingra Creek
I did this trip on 5/5/21, levels were a bit higher appx 700 CFS and 3.25 ft. Wow! what a great trip, and so close to Madison. A big thanks to all the people at the MRA for all their hard work. The trip took us less than 2 hours, including a stop to empty water from one of the boats after going for a swim in the rapids. We will certainly be back to do the longer trip from Marshal to Waterloo.
Nov 13th, 2019 - Aaron from Dell Crek
Thanks for the update! I'll post an update on social media letting others know of this development.
Nov 12th, 2019 - Jason Pitzer from Maunesha River
Hi Aaron, The Maunesha River is now passable from the Marshall Millpond Dam to Waterloo Fireman's park! We'd love to have you come out for another trip sometime in the near future if you have the time. You're documentary of your trip down the Maunesha really inspired us to improve our local water trail. Thank you! Best, Jason Pitzer Maunesha River Alliance Treasurer
Sep 22nd, 2019 - Aaron from Dell Creek
You guys are doing great work! I'll see if I can promote your Oct 5th event tomorrow on my social media feeds.
Sep 22nd, 2019 - Ryan from Maunesha River
Hi Aaron. Just thought I'd drop you a line about our river cleanups. We've got a lot done since we last chatted...and we have another cleanup coming up this Saturday (9/28). After Saturday, the Maunesha should be passable from below the Marshall dam to the Dock bar between Marshall and Waterloo. A fellow Maunesha River Alliance officer and his wife our putting in at the Dock bar and kayaking through Waterloo to document the blockages between the Dock and Waterloo. Then on Oct. 19 we are headed to Waterloo to start clearing out this river in that area. Everything related to our cleanups and events is available on our website ( We are also hosting a fundraiser/event on Oct. 5 in Marshall. Just a reminder to signup online or register via paper form for our October 5 Propel Dry-Tri at Fireman's Park in Marshall. The event starts at 9am and kayaking or canoeing is an option if you aren't interested in biking or running. OR - One person can complete all portions in a series (paddle, run, bike). - A relay can be formed where 2 to 3 people compete as a team. A team of two people can have one person complete two of the three sections (1,2 or 1,3 or 2,3), and the other being filled by the other person. - Or a partner team could participate (like a 2 person relay team) Paper & Online Registration forms can be found on this link. This event will serve as a fundraiser for the cleanup work we have been doing on the Maunesha River. Please support us by participating or volunteering. Message us at if you are interested in volunteering on Oct. 5.
Apr 25th, 2019 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Great news Ryan! I'll definitely paddle that upper part this summer.
Apr 24th, 2019 - Ryan Frey from Maunesha River
Amazing day on the Maunesha! The river is clear from the Marshall Dam on Hwy 73 all of the way to the Deansville Marsh. Now it's time to get those canoes and kayaks out. We had an awesome 12 man crew (split in two groups today) for the April 13 cleanup. One crew worked on clearing blockages in the water in front of and behind the first Trestle Bridge on Canal Rd. The other crew cleaned up the shoreline (removed Buckthorn and other invasive species, and cut tree stumps and treated them) along the shoreline upriver near the Hwy TT bridge where we worked on March 10 & 24 (11 & 13 workers on those days respectively). Pictured in the group photo were: Joe Greene, Jeff Steele, Jason Pitzer, Jeff Page, Paul Wehking, Steve Falter from Capitol Water Trails, Lee Hellenbrand, and Terry Bradshaw. Not pictured were Brandon Millner, Tyson Pitzer, and Jack Hellenbrand. And thanks to Lyndsay Ampe and her bosses at the Fox for the great meal after the workday! I appreciate everyone and everything that made today a success. This group is hosting a Maunesha River Cleanup Workday on June 29, and is trying to organize a cleanup day sometime in May. For more information email Ryan Frey at
Feb 27th, 2019 - Ryan Frey from Maunesha River (Marshall part) from Maunesha River
No worries. I'm excited for it and excited to keep getting more and more people to help out each day. Will do. I can post a mini update later in March as we make progress. That would be great if you can share it (I have two Facebook events), and I hope the weather cooperates for us.
Feb 25th, 2019 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you...I just now found and approved your comment. Your cleanup plan sounds great! Let me know how it turns out and I can post an update on this site. I'll see if I can get your event on my facebook page here as well later today.
Feb 21st, 2019 - Ryan Frey from Maunesha River (Marshall part)
Wow! What a great video and great pictures. I've kayaked the Maunesha from the Marshall Dam to Hwy TT before I ran into plenty of blockades. Fellow Marshall Village Board Trustee Jason Pitzer and I are trying to get the word out on two upcoming Maunesha River Cleanup days. The days are March 10 & March 24, both Sundays. The river cleanups both start at 9am and will last till about 4pm. We are starting in the Langer Park area in Marshall and hope to clear debris, cut down trees, etc. in an effort to improve kayak and canoe navigation, while possibly increasing water flow and oxygen levels. This is a grassroots effort to start and there are 10 people signed up, but another 20 on the Facebook event I created. We hope to make your kayak experience even better in the future. We'll be starting at 6200 Hwy TT, and probably working down rive to Waterloo throughout the spring and summer. The Maunesha River Alliance and several of the members are helping us out. If you go back on the Maunesha, please share with us how your experience went. Thanks so much for your time and sharing with us the beauty of what we have.

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

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