This is one of the larger and muddier rivers of Southern Wisconsin. While the downstream sections are somewhat uninteresting, the upstream legs can be quite scenic with exposed rock outcrops and fun rapids.
Hwy G to Cty Road E
Date Paddled: April 21st, 2019
Distance: 3.4 miles
Time: 3 hours 59 minutes (100 minutes would be more typical)
How far upstream can you paddle the Pecatonica River? Time to find out...Read More...
Jones Branch Rd to Powell Rd
Date Paddled: May 16th, 2021
Distance: 3.1 miles
Time: Expect 1-2 hours
Another exploratory trip on the Upper Pecatonica. This was a nice, peaceful stretch with a few outcrops, two sets of light rapids, and one serious logjam.Read More...
Powell Road to Oak Park Road
Date Paddled: September 16th, 2018
Distance: 8.0 miles
Time: 4 hours 12 minutes
An obscure section of the Pecatonica flowing through the heart of cow country. Highlights include attractive rolling green hills, oak savannas, and one sandstone outcrop. Unfortunately few will paddle this stretch because of four low fences.Read More...
Hwy O to Hwy G
Date Paddled: March 19th, 2017
Distance: 6.0 Miles
Time: 2 hour 47 minutes
Some rock outcrops and scenic bridges highlight this section, but unfortunately mud and logjams are an issue.Read More...
Roller Coaster Road to Wells Landing
Date Paddled: November 7th, 2020
Distance: 7.4 miles
Time: Expect 3 hours
While one of the nicer legs on the Lower Pecatonica, this stretch has been too badly damaged by floods and erosion to be considered a top prospect.Read More...
- Upstream of Hwy X: I think the river up here is too shallow to run.
- Hwy X to Hwy G1st: 4.2 miles. This section is a small creek and may need high water. Some logjams and probably small outcrops. Hwy X is not a great access and lacks privacy.
- Hwy G1st to Hwy E: 3.4 miles.
- Hwy G1st to Hwy G2nd/Mifflin: 2.9 miles. Great section with many rock outcrops and light rapids. Shallow, but becomes much deeper after the Livingston Branch joins up. Two fences, but easy to get past.
- Hwy G2nd/Mifflin to Hwy E: 0.5 miles. Short open section heavily grazed by nearby beef cattle. Some fun rapids and outcrops are on this segment. One fence to duck under (quite manageable).
- Hwy G2nd/Mifflin to Hwy A: 4.4 miles. An excellent prospect with good current, outcrops, a state natural area, and few logjams. Martin (reader comment) kayaked this section and wrote a nice summary here that you can read.
- Hwy A to Peniel Road/Hwy J: 1.7 miles. Maybe two outcrops and two major logjams.
- Peniel Road/Hwy J to Jones Branch Road: 2.5 miles. Some congested woods with maybe 3 logjams and 2-3 outcrops.
- Jones Branch Road to Powell Road: 3.1 miles. A nice peaceful stretch with a few outcrops, 2 sets of light rapids, and one serious logjam.
- Powell Road to Oak Park Road: 8.0 miles. Very open section with no logjams. Highlights include green rolling hills, oak savannas, a few rapids, and one outcrop. Lowlights include four low fences.
- Powell Road to Hwy 151/Blackstone Cattle: 4.4 miles. The more scenic of the two sections with scenic hills and one outcrop. There are two low electric fences to duck under.
- Hwy 151 to Oak Park Road: 3.6 miles. This section had more corn and trees, and wasn’t as interesting but still was decent. There is one low electric fence and one super low barbed wire fence.
- Oak Park Road to Hwy O: 3.7 miles. Likely some logjams but also some outcrops at the end. Oak Park Road is a muddy but doable put-in.
- Hwy O to Hwy G: 6.0 miles. Some scenic moments, but mud and logjams are detractions. Put-in and take-out are muddy.
- Hwy G to Darlington/Festival Grounds Park: 9.1 miles. A decent prospect. As of 2020, there is a large logjam on this leg that requires a difficult portage up steep and muddy banks. This might be cleared out for the 2021 Darlington Canoe Festival.
- Darlington/Black Bridge Park to Roller Coaster Road: 4.2 miles. A good prospect. Fun rapids located by the campground. Many put-in options in Darlington. Take-out is muddy and tricky.
- Roller Coaster Road to Walnut Road: 7.3 miles. While one of the nicer legs on the lower Pecatonica, the river has been too badly damaged by erosion to be an elite paddle. The highlight is a sandstone outcrop.
- Walnut Road to Riverside Road: 5.5 miles. Mediocre prospect flanked by a lot of farmland. Excellent put-in and take-out.
- Riverside Road to Hwy 78 Canoe Landing: 3.2 miles. Mud banks grow to epic proportions…might actually be a few logjams in this leg.
- Hwy 78 Landing to Larse Road: 6.2 miles. Straight, big, and muddy…not exciting, but there should be some decent rock outcrops halfway into the trip. Take-out may be challenging.
- Larse Road to Sargent Road: 4.3 miles. Meh. Put-in may be challenging. Should be a canoe ramp at take-out.
- Sargent Road to Hwy D/N: 4.6 miles. Flows partly through a SNA and by a valley ridge so might be interesting…might not…
- Hwy D/N to Hwy 11 Boat Ramp/Browntown: 8.8 miles. The East Branch comes in and doubles the river (now pretty big).
- Hwy 11 Boat Ramp/Browntown to Hwy B: 4.8 miles. Mediocre prospect. Take-out might be tricky because of a guardrail but I think it’s doable.
- Hwy B to Hwy M: 4.6 miles. Another mediocre prospect.. Put-in is also mediocre…take-out might be bad.
- Hwy M to West Winslow Road Boat Landing: 2.9 miles. Mediocre prospect…mostly in Illinois now.
- West Winslow Road Boat Landing and Beyond: The rest of Illinois I won’t cover. For more info, see Paddling Illinois by Mike Svob.