Upper Dell Creek
Put-in: Coon Bluff Road
Take-out: Delton Boat Landing (Lakeview Road)
Distance: 3 Miles
To be clear, this is not the most popular or best section of Dell Creek, but is a pleasant little section that can be a trip unto itself or an extender for lower Dell Creek trips. Most kayakers do not go further west than the Delton Boat Landing (really no rock formations past this point, little trees, little current and more weeds). Upper Mirror Lake can actually be quite filled with plant life, making navigation difficult at times, but as long as you stick to the main channel, there should be a path to navigate. On the plus side, some of these ‘weeds’ are actually wild rice and it gets harvested in the fall.
Paddling upstream, as soon as the lake narrows, the weeds disappear…so by the time you get to the Hwy 23 bridge, you’ll have a normal creek. As a creek, the current picks up but still is slow…about a mile upstream though the effect of the Mirror Lake dam wears off and the current is actually swift (not dangerous though). The section between the Coon Bluff road bridge and the Hwy 23 bridge is mostly grassland, where you get more trees the further upstream you get. The water is quite clean as this watershed is protected by the state ( I haven’t seen any farmland along the creek, which is rare for a southern Wisconsin Creek). When I kayaked west of the Hwy 23 bridge, I only encountered one log jam…and this was easy to portage as the banks are not steep and muddy. I don’t know how much further upstream you can get…probably at least to Briar Bluff Road Bridge…maybe further upstream…but this gets to be much more wooded, which usually = log jams. Some turns could be tight for long kayaks…water level seemed ok when I did this section…but I have a shallow draft.
If you want to plan out a trip in this area, I would suggest a shuttle between Coon Bluff Road bridge and the Delton boat landing.
Alternate Dell Creek Trips:
- Upstream of South Ave: I think the Creek here is too small to run.
- South Ave to Briar Bluff Road: 1.84 miles. Nice stretch, but there are probably too many log jams.
- Briar Bluff Road to Coon Bluff Road: 1.39 miles. Probably a lot of jams unfortunately. It is on my to-do list.
- Coon Bluff Road to Hwy 23: 1.73 miles. Nice open wetgrass paddle. Most jams should be gone. Reviewed here.
- Hwy 23 to the E. Adams Boat Ramp: 4 miles. This is Mirror Lake which has multiple intermediary options and is reviewed here.
- E. Adams Boat Ramp to Newport Park: 1.84 miles. This is Lake Delton which is reviewed here.