Rubicon River

This is one of the smaller rivers in the state.  While congested at times, it’s a neat creek with a handful of surprise rapids.

Trip Reports

Hilldale Drive to West Side Park

Date Paddled: April 6th, 2019
Distance: 3.0 miles
Time: 3 hours 20 minutes (90 minutes would be more typical)

Another Ice Age paddle that turned out surprisingly well.  This was mostly an urban segment through downtown Hartford with the highlights being attractive bridges, riverside architecture, light rapids and good clarity.


West Side Park to Hwy 60

Date Paddled: July 7th, 2019
Distance: 3.6 miles
Time: 3 hours 45 minutes (100 minutes would be more typical)

This was not as nice as my last Rubicon trip because of some deadfall issues, but this segment does have a lot of potential, especially in the second half where there are many light rapids.


Jefferson Rd to Hale Road

Date Paddled: May 22nd, 2021
Distance: 4.3 miles
Time: Expect 2 hours

Much of this trip was a flowage paddle...muddy, carp-infested and not super interesting.  The last part below the dam though was really nice with the highlights being several small boulder gardens and light rapids.


Overview Map

Detailed Overview

Nearby Guages



Apr 25th, 2023 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Thanks for the comments and the very valuable information. I'll update the review to warn other paddlers.
Apr 25th, 2023 - Gregor Wilke from Milwaukee River
I tried combining both Rubicon River trips you reviewed today (04/22/23) through Hartford. The first trip for the most part (from Hilldale Dr. to N. Rural Road) was great. I really enjoyed the sections going under the bridges downtown and the rapids after putting in in front of the dam. However, I cannot recommend trying to kayak from N Rural st. through to Wacker Drive. This section is extremely overgrown with Buckthorn & Boxelder thickets, with numerous logjams. Portaging around the industrial complex was difficult given the growth of the vegetation into the stream. Behind West Side Park was the worst strainer I have seen, a sturdy downed Willow tree at chest height completely across the water. At 63 CFS (Bark River gauge) the river was moving quickly enough and there is little time to react without capsizing or hitting this in the chest. The banks are also too steep to get out of the boat without plunging into chest deep water. Nature is reclaiming the river. I'd recommend editing the first trip details to stopping at N. Rural Road for leg 1, and then starting the second section again at Wacker Dr. Although that isn't a great portage with rocky embankments.
May 31st, 2021 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Thank you!
May 30th, 2021 - Sierra from Bark River!
I just wanted to say that I stumbled upon this website searching for more details on the Wisconsin River/lake system in hopes to find new and great paddle drop off/pickup points and maps. I quickly realized there is nothing that tells you established rivers/channels to plan a paddling excursion (especially since it’s a newer hobby) at the drop points. And even more so none with pictures, reviews, and maps all in one place. This website is amazing and is going to make my summer planning a breeze! Great site!

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

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