Neenah Creek Main Branch – Part 2
Date Paddled: October 26th, 2014
Put-in: Hwy A Bridge
Take-out: Hwy P Bridge
Distance: 4.0 Miles
Time: 2 hours 22 minutes
Gradient: 2' per Mile (rough guesstimate)
Water Level: Fox River @ Pardeeville 7.80'
A solid but not super exotic wetland paddle with its strength being the clean water and sandy bottom.
Pretty good access at Hwy A. You can put in north of the bridge (either up or downstream). There are riffles running under the bridge, so putting in upstream lets you run them. Try not to park by the fire hydrant.
No livery that I know of serves this creek. Bike shuttle is pretty easy at only 3.82 miles with a few hills. Not a lot of traffic and, in fact, there were road signs indicating this is part of the official Oxford bike loop.
River Depth, Navigability and Current:
I suspect Neenah Creek is pretty stable year round with exceptions being after heavy rains. While there were a couple of shallow sections, these were very minor and the creek could have been run at a much lower flow rate. The banks are not high, so this creek could flood easily (although it might make cutting across the oxbows easier). Current is very slow on the trip, at only 2′ per mile, with the better current residing on the upstream side of the trip.
Substrate and Water Quality:
Surprisingly sandy creek with just a wee bit of mud. All in all, very clear and nice. The water quality was the “star” of the trip.
Deer, ducks, dragonflies, fish, beavers, frogs, water snakes, cranes and mysterious things rustling in the grass. Pretty good trip for wildlife and this would be a fantastic trip for waterfowl if you go in the spring.
To start the 2014 season, I had paddled Neenah Creek from the city of Oxford to the Highway A bridge. A pleasant surprise and a trip I recommend. Fast forward a half year later, and I pick up on the creek where I last took out. My eventual plan is to paddle the entire creek all the way to the Fox River.
This stretch of Neenah Creek is similar to the upstream “Oxford” section, but a tad slower and not as nice. On the plus side, there are no portages to deal with and the water clarity is terrific. Very much reminded me of the White River (Neenah’s cousin to the northeast). Except for a few at the start of the trip and some at the end, there aren’t many trees on this trip and this is mostly an open wetland paddle. The middle section of this trip goes a little overboard with the Oxbows and this wasn’t as interesting as the rest of the creek. While officially this is 4 miles, it will feel like a longer trip because of all the turning you will do (which, with kayaks, entails braking one side and wasting energy).
So all in all, a solid little paddle with the highlights being the waterfowl, clean water, no portages, lack of civilization and lack of mud banks.
Hazards and Log Jams:
None. There was a fence spanning the creek, but it was very easy to duck under. There was evidence of previous clearing of log jams, which was very much appreciated. Certainly the section upstream of this one had more obstructions to deal with (but that was actually a superior trip).
Pretty solid take-out at Hwy P. Parking and take-out are west of the bridge. While you can take out southwest of the bridge, northwest is probably a better option, with a slight path leading to the shoulder.
The creek flows through mostly undeveloped wetland and chances are you won’t see another human, farm or house on the trip until the final quarter mile. The exception being some hunting towers you’ll see occasionally along the creek.
Links and Resources:
This is not a popularly reviewed creek, for some strange reason (hopefully, this will change in the future). One individual who has done some nice pioneer paddling of the creek, though, is Frank F. Piraino, who covers it in his book: Small River Canoe Adventures of Wisconsin.
All Good Things…
For those who have followed this website as a (mostly) weekly blog saga, this marks the last paddle for 2014. It’s been 30 straight weekends with so many challenges (log jams, rain, high water, log jams, electric fences, getting lost and log jams), but mostly a lot of good adventures. No regrets for 2014, even for the trips that had jams, as those had redeeming attributes (although paddling the Little Wolf at high water was a regret!).
I hope you tune in next spring for 2015’s adventures. I’ll probably start with my “B” prospects (creeks and marsh paddles) and save the good rivers until late May when the leaves are out for photography. While I do have a number of prospects in mind, I do appreciate suggestions. Even small details and tips for marginal prospects are very much appreciated. You can contact me by commenting at the bottom of this page, using my official contact form or by using one of my social accounts:
These are updated after every trip and are a great way to notified of the latest reviews.
Until next year…
- Upstream of Peppermill Creek: I suspect the creek is too congested to run
- 1st Lane (Peppermill Creek) to 1st Court: 1.1 miles. First half is a nice clear open stream but there is congestion after that.
- 1st Court to Seeley Lake Access: 2.8 miles. Amazing clarity, nice riffles and steep hills…but serious logjams issues. Been on my to-do list for a while…
- Seeley Lake Access to West Chauncey Street: 0.6 miles. Mostly pleasant lake paddling with a dam to portage.
- West Chauncey Street to Hwy A: 6.8 miles. My favorite section with terrific clarity, a few fun rapids, and clean substrate...but rumor has it new logjams might be an issue. Reviewed Apr 2014.
- Hwy A to Hwy P: 4.1 miles. My second favorite section. Very nice wetgrass paddle with great clarity and no logjams...best saved for a sunny day. Reviewed Oct 2014.
- Hwy P to Grouse Drive: 6.4 miles. Reviewed Dec 2017.
- Hwy P to Hwy 23: 3.9 miles. A pleasant stretch that starts nice with clear, sandy seeps but becomes less interesting when it flows though the marsh.
- Hwy 23 to Grouse Drive: 2.5 miles. A mediocre stretch...less marshy than before, but still very open.
- Grouse Drive to Muskrat Road: 3.1 miles. Creek slows down and widens significantly. Reviewed Feb 2017.
- Muskrat Road to Hwy CX: 4.6 miles. A big open wetgrass paddle...at times pleasant with good water fowl, this is likely my least favorite section. Reviewed Nov 2016.
- Hwy CX to Dixon Road: 3.1 miles. Mostly open but with some possible jams.
- Dixon Road to Hwy CM (on the Fox): 1.2 miles. Final stretch with take-out on the Fox River.
- Big Spring Creek: A small, but neat creek with incredible transparency. Reviewed Apr 2016.
- Neenah Creek – South Branch: A slow, simple but pleasant marsh paddle. Reviewed Oct 2014.
- Big Slough Creek: A very slow, broad creek with a lot of history. Reviewed May 2014.
- O’Keefe Creek: Too small to run above Mud Lake, but it is navigable downstream of the lake. Reviewed by Richard Kark.