Rock River

The Rock River is a larger watershed that starts in East Central Wisconsin and flows south into Illinois.  This is mostly not a top-notch river for kayaking because of the slow current, but there are some stretches that can make for pleasant trips.

Trip Reports

Lions Park to Elmwood Road

Date Paddled: September 2nd, 2017
Distance: 7.3 miles
Time: 3 hours 28 minutes

One of the better Lower Rock sections that starts really nice with a cool boulder garden.  Unfortunately, that was the only major highlight as the rest of the trip was a bit too slow, muddy, and simple.


Harnischfeger Park to Kaul Park

Date Paddled: October 7th, 2023
Distance: 5.0 miles
Time: Expect 2 hours

Despite slow current and some motorboat traffic, this is a pleasant and relatively secluded stretch of the Upper Rock River.


Hwy F to Hwy P

Date Paddled: October 29th, 2022
Distance: 6.0 miles
Time: Expect 3 hours

This was a trip with no interesting geology, almost no current, few rapids, and was honestly boring in spots.  But despite all that, it turned out to be a surprisingly scenic, peaceful, and nice paddle.


Overview Map

Detailed Overview

Nearby Guages



Jul 14th, 2019 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Yeah, I think the Rock loses most of its magic after Horicon. I think there are still interesting sections on the East Branch to be explored yet though...and they are on my todo list. Thanks for the updates.
Jul 14th, 2019 - Eric G from Wingra Creek
I did the section from Harnischfeger to Cw in the early morning on 7/9/19 as part of a 2 rivers in one day trip. The river had been high earlier in the week and had dropped quite a bit, so it was fast (for the rock) but there was a lot of exposed mud on the banks, but still was an OK trip. A lot of bird and animal life, and other than a couple of farms no development. There are nice facilities at the put in, none at the take out, but both put-in and take-out were very easy and parking very close by. A very relaxing easy trip, but nothing spectacular, I'm glad I paired it with a fantastic trip on the Beaver Dam River. The 2 rivers couldn't be more different. One wide, slow, and muddy, the other narrow fast and fairly clean, the only thing they have in common is that they are both short and take less than 2 hours to do.
Oct 1st, 2018 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Yeah, this is a slow and uninteresting section of the Rock. It's endured a lot of floods this year which likely are the cause of the two new jams you experienced. As for better recommendations... I highly recommend the Bark River which I think is really cool. Other ideas would include the Waupaca River, Crystal River, and Sheboygan River.
Oct 1st, 2018 - Dan from Fox River (WI)
My wife paddled this on 9/28, on a cool overcast day. The river was over 8' so the river banks were all flooded over. It wasn't a spectacular trip at all, but the serenity was very enjoyable. We did come across two log jams though. The first one, we were able to paddle around through the weeds. My wife did ended up flipping mud in my face with her paddle, she thought this was hilarious. For the second log jam, we had to put the paddles down and grab onto branches to maneuver through, we were in a tandem kayak. This was only our second paddling adventure, the first was with a canoe. We wanted to try an easy paddle since this was our first time in a tandem kayak. Keeping in mind we are still novices, any recommendations for something with some faster flow in Southeast Wisconsin?

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

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