Sheboygan River

The Sheboyan River is one of the nicer East-Central water trails in Wisconsin.  Expect some riffles, rocky stretches, good fall color and maybe even salmon depending on your location and time.

Trip Reports

Johnsonville Dam to Dassow Park

Date Paddled: October 11th, 2015
Distance: 6.4 Miles
Time: 3 hours 40 minutes

A great paddle on Wisconsin's "east coast" that starts by a famous brat factory and ends in scenic Dassow Park.


Rochester Park to Esslingen Park

Date Paddled: October 23rd, 2021
Distance: 9.8 miles
Time: Expect 4-5 hours

This was a unique paddling experience that featured good fall color, light rapids, and spawning salmon.


Overview Map

Detailed Overview

Nearby Guages



Jan 5th, 2024 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Appreciate the clarifications.
Jan 4th, 2024 - Paul Werth from Sheboygan River (live on the river)
There is an eagle nest (not in the frame) to the left at 5:40 on the video. Salmon start running in September.
Aug 22nd, 2020 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Thanks for updated and the offer!
Aug 22nd, 2020 - Paul from Sheboygan River
Just did Rodchester to my house (~ 11 miles) in 5 hours with 2 teenage boys. River is down to normal again. Did it in 3 hours a month ago. Postage around both dams to the left. They are marked, but the signs are a little overgrown. @ Aaron, let me know when you are coming. I love this trip. Salmon are starting to swim up already.
Jul 25th, 2020 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Hi law each dam is supposed to have a portage path. Most are marked or somewhat simply take out along the shore...then re-enter where you can. Some dams are tricky to portage though (such as the one in downtown Sheboygan Falls). For more information you might contact the DNR or local city council.
Jul 25th, 2020 - sandi Fessler from Sheboygan
we are beginner paddlers with basic kayaks. We want to paddle the sheboygan river. I'm unclear how you deal with the dams. When you stop at a sidebank and walk your kayaks do you do this while still in the river? or along a side trail?
Apr 11th, 2020 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Sounds like a nice trip! You're from the Pigeon river, eh? That's a cool prospect that is definitely on my todo list...
Apr 9th, 2020 - Tim Ebenreiter from Pigeon River
Any day on the water is better than any other day, so when the mercury hits 65 degrees on April 8th, you gotta grab the opportunity, right? There was plenty of water, but never pushy. We could have drifted the whole way except for minor strainers on the sides - easy to avoid because the river is plenty wide. Highlight was a goose sitting on her nest amid tall grass on a small island -- and the crazy-mad gander who taunted us from nest to 10 minutes downstream.
Jul 1st, 2018 - Aaron from Dell Creek
I really want to do that section...almost did it last year. I might save it for a fall paddle when the salmon are spawning. Thanks for the feedback.
Jul 1st, 2018 - Doug from Sheboygan
Onion River from county road V to Sheboygan falls - Rochester park is a nice fast run with good scenery and a lot of class I and I+ Rapids . As a reverence We have done this stretch when the Sheboygan River was running at 775 Cfs and at 937 cfs. Steep gradient but you need the flow not to scrape. Checkout site miles for their review. Just found your site today and really like it!
Aug 3rd, 2017 - admin
Hi Gary, No I haven't although it looks like an interesting prospect. I do want to get back to the Sheboygan River this year is possible. If you do this leg, definitely let me know how it turned out.
Aug 3rd, 2017 - Gary Mulder
Aaron, Have you ever kayaked the Sheboygan River from the Sheboygan Marsh Park to Kiel WI? It looks like it would a great paddle and it looks like a take out on Water street in Kiel a block before the dam. 5 miles as the crow flies, maybe? I get my Remix XP10 tomorrow. :) Thanks for the advice on a kayak. Gary M.
Jun 21st, 2017 - admin
Thanks for the comment Jon! I hope to do this section later this year.
Jun 21st, 2017 - Jon
Did the 9.5 from Falls to Esslingin Park. Beautiful and great 3 hour downstream paddle two portages. Great idea, thanks.
Jul 18th, 2016 - admin
Thanks Scott for the comment! Yes, this is a great paddling prospect and I look forward to returning to it. I suspect some of the downstream sections might be really nice.
Jul 18th, 2016 - Scott from Sheboygan River
Found your site when googling for some info on kayaking the Sheboygan River. So glad I did. Very helpful. I followed your exact route on July 16, 2016, and had an enjoyable time. River was shallow and I scraped the bottom more than I'd have liked, but still happy I did this. Maybe go in spring next time when it's deeper. Thanks for creating and maintaining this site. Looking forward to trying some of your other trips in the future.

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

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