The Wisconsin generally speaking is pretty good for kayaking. In Central Wisconsin dams are a serious impediment for paddlers, but from Wisconsin Dells to the mouth there are many great water trails to be enjoyed. Highlights include scenic bluffs, sandstone outcrops, and huge sandbars.
Biron Dam by Hwy 66 to Veterans Memorial Park
Date Paddled: October 4th, 2020
Distance: 4.4 miles (with side trips 6.4 miles)
Time: Expect 2 hours
This was a fun adventure that featured two dams, two paper mills, several scenic boulder gardens, and one tricky portage.Read More...
Castle Rock Lake Dam to Two Rivers Landing
Date Paddled: August 12th, 2012
Distance: 10 Miles
This is a tweener section of the Wisconsin River between the string of dams up-north (which makes those sections largely un-kayakable) and the Dells. While lacking the quantity of rock formations downstream, this is a pleasant section with mostly wooded banks, some development, and a number of sandbars and sloughs. The start of this trip […]Read More...
Two Rivers Landing to River Bay
Date Paddled: August 19th, 2012
Distance: 7 Miles
The most famous section of the Wisconsin River is in the Wisconsin Dells area. This is commonly divided into ‘Lower Dells’ (below the Kilbourn Dam) and ‘Upper Dells’ (above the Kilbourn Dam). And in the Upper Dells you can kind of divide that in half….this review will be about that upstream half. The put in […]Read More...
Town of Lyndon Landing to Black Hawk Island Landing
Date Paddled: September 8th, 2013
Distance: 6.5 Miles
Time: 8 hours (abnormally slow though)
Of the many areas in the Dells to paddle, this is the best and is a must paddle for Southern Wisconsinites. In a previous review, I paddled the first half of the Upper Dells from Two Rivers landing to about halfway on the flowage lake (take-out at River Bay Campground). For this trip, I’ll pick […]Read More...
28th Ave to 28th Ave
Date Paddled: May 29th, 2010
Distance: 2.5 Miles
Time: 90 Minutes (estimate)
A very nice trip in and of itself is the Blackhawk Island loop. It’s about 2.5 miles and the current isn’t too bad. The west side is protected from the big boats because it is relatively shallow (although private boats/jet skies can be a nuisance on the northwest side). The east side is the main […]Read More...
Hwy 12 Dam Launch to Indian Trails Landing
Date Paddled: June 13th, 2021
Distance: 6.0 miles
Time: Expect 3 hours
The Lower Dells is a classic water trail famous for its fantastic freestanding rock formations and even several caves you can paddle into. Unfortunately, it is also very crowded, noisy, and features huge waves that are a big problem for paddlers.Read More...
Pine Island Boat Ramp to Hwy 33 Access
Date Paddled: May 25th, 2020
Distance: 6.0 miles
Time: 3 hours 6 minutes
This is an obscure section of the Wisconsin River sandwiched between the Lower Dells and Portage. It's not an elite stretch of the Wisconsin because of its lack of unique features...but it does have many nice sandbars.Read More...
Dekorra Landing to James Whalen Memorial Park
Date Paddled: August 16th, 2020
Distance: 6.9 miles
Time: Expect 3 hours
A terrific section with rock outcrops, large island deltas, hidden sloughs, and nice sandbars. Unfortunately this part of the river is popular with motorboats and jet skis which can be a plague.Read More...
Prairie du Sac Dam to Ferry Bluff or Arena
Date Paddled: August 13th, 2011
Distance: Ferry Bluff (8 Miles) or Arena (14 Miles)
Time: 3 Hours 20 Minutes (Ferry Bluff)
From the Prairie du Sac Dam to the Mississippi River is probably Wisconsin’s most popular all-around canoe and kayak destination (well…if not top, tied with the Kickapoo and St. Croix for popularity). A number of reasons why this section is so popular: It is not impeded by any dams Great sandbars (at least after Ferry […]Read More...
Mazomanie Adlers Landing to Arena Public Boat Ramp
Date Paddled: August 8th, 2015
Distance: 9.65 miles (not bad because of how straight this is)
Time: 4 hours 46 minutes (without breaks you can do this under 4 hours)
A long overdue visit to the sandbar capitol of the state. Terrific bluffs and sandbars make this a must paddle for those living in southern Wisconsin.Read More...
Arena Landing to Hwy 14 Landing
Date Paddled: August 3rd, 2019
Distance: 8.3 miles
Time: 4 hours 50 minutes (3.5 hours would be more typical)
A return to the Lower Wisconsin with its broad waters and scenic grandeur. This popular stretch is known for its sandbars and has one of the highest concentrations on the river.Read More...
Lone Rock Boat Landing to Gotham Boat Landing
Date Paddled: August 7th, 2017
Distance: 8.3 miles
Time: 5 hours 13 minutes (3-4 hours is more typical)
One of the most scenic sections of the Lower Wisconsin that includes a 2.3 mile stretch of sandstone outcrops, huge sandbars, interesting sloughs, and impressive sand banks.Read More...
- Castle Rock Lake to the Lemonweir River: 10 miles. An ok section.
- Lemonweir River Mouth to the Two Rivers Landing: 7 miles. The first half of the classic Upper Dells.
- Two Rivers Landing to Blackhawk Island: 6.5 miles. Second half of the classic Upper Dells known for its fantastic outcrops. Note, the Blackhawk Island landing is no longer accessible without special permission from the local 4H club.
- Black Hawk Island to Wisconsin Dells Dam: 2.0 miles. More nice sandstone outcrops. You can take out at a public ramp off Indiana Ave or portage the dam and take out SW of the dam by a launch off Wisconsin Dells Pkwy/Hwy 12.
- Dells Dam to Indian Trails Landing: 6.2 miles.
- Dells Dam to Newport Park: 2.2 miles. This is the heart of the famous Lower Dells with many scenic outcrops. Unfortunately jet boats are a serious plague on this stretch.
- Newport Park to Indian Trails Landing: 4.0 miles. Features the famous "Sugar Bowl" and four super cool caves. The outcrops soon disappear and this stretch is mostly uneventful (but peaceful) big river paddling.
- Indian Trails Landing to Pine Island Boat Ramp: 9.8 miles. Few paddle this stretch as it isn't as interesting. But...it does have a good concentration of sandbars and few competing paddlers for them.
- Pine Island Boat Ramp to Portage/Hwy 33 Access: 6.0 miles. Not an elite section that is lacking in cliffs and bluffs. It does have good sandbars though.
- Portage to Baraboo River/Thunderbird Road: 5.2 miles. A good section with great sandbars, but can be crowded in the summer.
- Baraboo River to Dekorra Park: 2.5 miles. River splits into several channels which can be fun to explore.
- Dekorra Park to James Whalen Memorial Park: 6.6 miles.
- Dekorra Park to Camp Rest Park: 5.1 miles. A terrific section with rock outcrops, large island deltas, hidden sloughs, and nice sandbars. Unfortunately this part of the river is popular with motorboats and jet skis which can be a plague. Multiple alternate access options.
- Camp Rest Park to James Whalen Memorial Park: 1.5 miles. Not a great section because of the open water paddling, powerboats and big waves. The west shore though does have nice outcrops.
- James Whalen Memorial Park to Prairie du Sac Dam: 14.5 miles. The river turns into “Lake Wisconsin” here...an inadvisable section due to the amount of open water paddling required. There are many intermediate access options.
- Prairie du Sac to Mazomanie: 8 miles. An ok section of the Wisconsin but lacking in sandbars.
- Mazomanie to Arena: 9.7 miles. A great section with nice sandbars and scenic bluffs.
- Arena to Hwy 14: 8.0 miles. Good section with a high concentration of sandbars. One of the more popular legs on the Lower Wisconsin.
- Hwy 14 to Hwy 23/Spring Green: 2.2 miles. Neat mini-section with sandstone outcrops. Very popular in the summer.
- Spring Green to Lone Rock: 7.4 miles. Another fine sandbar/bluff section with some nice rock outcrops too.
- Lone Rock to Gotham: 8 miles. This stretch has super impressive rock outcrops and sand banks.
- Gotham to Muscoda: 7 miles. Cool limestone rock outcroppings.
- Muscoda to Port Andrew: 7 miles.
- Port Andrew to Boscobel: 9 miles. Wooded islands start to get massive.
- Boscobel to Woodman/Big Green River: 9 miles and start of the less paddled stretch of the Lower Wisconsin. Far fewer sandbars from here to the mouth, but good bluffs and side sloughs to explore.
- Woodman to Adiantum Woods State Natural Area: 3.9 miles.
- Adiantum Woods State Natural Area to Millville: 3.8 miles.
- Millville to Bridgeport: 5.3 miles.
- Bridgeport to Wyalusing (the mouth): 9 miles.