Rock River – East Branch

Often overlooked by paddlers, this is actually a pleasant water trail.  Some stretches are marshy, especially the last leg which runs through Horicon Marsh.

Trip Reports

Hillcrest Drive to Hwy DW

Date Paddled: October 22nd, 2022
Distance: 4.1 miles
Time: Expect 2 hours

This is a mediocre stretch of the far far far upper Rock River.  Highlights include clear water, lots of fish, attractive cattails, and open vistas.  But there are a few logjams to deal with.


N. Pole Road to Gill Rd

Date Paddled: July 10th, 2021
Distance: 6.0 miles
Time: Expect 3 hours

Although the Rock is known primarily as a wide and very slow river, this section near the river's headwaters was an enjoyable paddle----perhaps one of the nicest stretches on the entire river.


Gill Road bridge to Furnace Bridge Dam

Date Paddled: August 2nd, 2014
Distance: 8.25 miles
Time: 3 hours 35 minutes

For the most part, a weak paddling prospect, with slow, dirty current and open, scraggly banks.  But…the river does have redeeming attributes and nearby sections of the river have potential, so keep reading… When you think of Wisconsin’s mighty watersheds…the Fox, Wisconsin and Chippewa all come to mind, but ultimately the Rock is larger than […]


North Main Street to Green Head Road

Date Paddled: June 27th, 2015
Distance: 8.1 Miles
Time: 4 hours 13 minutes

Located northeast of the Horicon Marsh, the East Branch is a good prospect with few obstructions, fun rapids and nice boulder gardens. 


Green Head Landing to Horicon Marsh Boat Tours

Date Paddled: June 9th, 2012
Distance: 10 Miles
Time: 5 Hours

This is a trip that takes a lot of planning to get right.  Basically, the Horicon area is a drained swamp that has been artificially restored by a dam near the center of the city of Horicon.  As you probably know, this is a VERY popular area for birds.  While there are different canoe/kayak options, […]


Overview Map

Detailed Overview

Nearby Guages



Feb 4th, 2024 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Thanks for the comment. The bike trails by the marsh are very underrated!
Feb 4th, 2024 - Steve Vaughan from Rock River in Winnebago County, Illinois
I paddled the marsh in late June, 2023. It was quite hot, low 90’s, and the air was Smokey from Canadian wildfires. Nevertheless, I had a nice solo paddle from the Greenhead Landing to Horicon’s Blue Hern Landing.. I used Blue Hern’s shuttle service which was great and inexpensive. Other than the heat and smoke, conditions were fine, with just a slight breeze. I saw one bald eagle up close, and lots of pelicans, cormorants, and egrets. I camped out at Ledge Park. He next day I biked along Dike Road and saw a lot more egrets and geese. Biking is another great way to experience the marsh. I look forward to paddling the marsh again, perhaps starting at Burnet Ditch next time.
Jul 8th, 2023 - Aaron from Dell Creek
A warning for paddlers. As of 2023-07-08, the marsh is way too low to be paddled.
May 18th, 2022 - Aaron from Dell Creek
I agree the Rock River is underrated. If/when that logjam gets cleared out, definitely let me know!
May 18th, 2022 - Mike Manthey from Fond du Lac
Rock river is very under appreciated. The dam in kekoskee is run by my fathers uncles family. The area where u went down the ladder was my grandmas house. My family still owns the land by the old ball diamond in kekoskee. I often put in there and paddle to the green head. Only one small log jam, but I will be clearing it out soon.
May 21st, 2021 - Aaron from Dell Creek
As of 2021-05-21, "breakaway bogs" or large blocks of vegetation have blocked access to the landings at the south end of the marsh. No word on when this will be cleared up. I suspect Horicon is starting to silt in from the Horicon dam. The DNR apparently has no interest in fixing the issue.
Jul 19th, 2020 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Yeah...Horicon Marsh is great for wildlife but not so much for bathroom breaks.
Jul 19th, 2020 - Jermey Stewart from Rock river
We took a trip from the lower dam in Mayville in kayaks to horicon through the marsh it was a nine-hour trip but we seen lots of wildlife even a couple of eagles once you enter the marsh there is nowhere to get out of your kayak or at least 6 hours
Jul 5th, 2020 - Aaron from Dell Creek
I agree...I'm not sure why this stretch isn't more popular than it is.
Jul 5th, 2020 - Gary Kutzler from Rock River
7/5/2020 Just paddled from Mayville millpond dam to Kekoskee dam. 250-300 CFPS. Great trip, 2.5hrs approx. Beautiful paddle no logjams bumped a few rocks, no big deal. Cooper Shop bar was closed at takeout. Have eaten there in the past and it was good. This section of the Rock is definitely under-appreciated. I thank this site for directing us to it.

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

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