Canoeing the Wisconsin River
If you have canoed a river in Wisconsin, please click river reviews and post your trip.
Wisconsin 1-Otter Rapids Dam to County 0.-Oneida and Vilas County-7.1 miles. A short paddle on quiet water, through wooded uplands and marshy lowlands. Parts of this section are fairly narrow, compared to the broad stretches that are typically encountered farther downstream. Put in downstream right from the Otter Rapids Dam. Launch well below the outflow from the dam. There are numerous boulders in the stream bed as the river goes through a number of gentle bends. The Hawk's Nest Outfitters Building is on the right at 1.9 miles.In a wide marshy area, a dock and sign announce Sportmans Chalet at 5 miles. Take out at the boat landing upstream right from the County O bridge.
Wisconsin 2-County D to McNaughton Bridge-Oneida County-10.1 miles. This is a tranquil day trip through forest and lowland, with a low hazard rapids. Public camping is available in the area. Put in at the public boat landing on County D, downstream from the Rainbow Flowage Dam. A group of boulders in the river bed, a river consstriction and water noise precede Rainbow Rapids at 1.8 miles. There are two curving pitches of Class I, fast wavy water. Stay in the main chute. After Rainbow Rapids bridge on River Road at 2.8 miles the river widens.Take out upstream left from the old bridge which is just upstream from the new one.
Wisconsin 3- Hot Rapids Dam to County A-Oneida and Lincoln County-12.7 miles. Put in just below the dam, upsream from the bridge. The river begins about 125 feet wide, with heavily wooded shorelines. Current is brisk all the way to Menard Island. Misnamed Whirlpool Rapids is preceded by a Class II boulder garden, then a short pool. Two islands split the river, a large island on the left and a small one alongside it. The main drop on the left is a solid Class II. n the right of the large island is a Class II rock garden that is longer but easier to run. Below Menard island at 7.3 miles the river becomes wide and slow.. Take out upstream left at the County A bridge.
Wisconsin 4-Camp New Wood County Park to Lokemoen Road-Lincoln County-5.3 miles. This is a short scenic trip with a couple of mild rapids. Put in alongside Hwy. 107. Posey Rapids comes up quickly(Class I) a half mile downstream. Two miles of flatwater precedes Class I-II Bill Cross Rapids, which begins where the river constricts. The current diminishes gradually after the rapids. Take out at the public landing on the left at the end of Lokemoen Road.
Wisconsin 5-Merrill Riverside Park to Granite Heights Road-Lincoln and Marathon County-11 miles. A quiet pleasant water trip, never far from the highway but in undeloped surroundings. Put in at the boat ramp off of O'Day Road downstream right from the Merrill Dam. Just upstream from the Hwy. 51 bridge are a cluster of islands. Not long after the Hwy. 51 bridges the Pine River enters from the left. At about 8.8 miles come the Trappe Rapids, an easy Class I chute. Take out at Granite Heights landing which is about two more miles downstream.

Wisconsin 6-Granite Heights Road to Foerster Park in Wausau- Marathon County-7.2 miles. Wooded bluffs, grassy banks, lessening current and a brief rapids mark this section before Wausau. Put in at river left from the road. Down a little ways the river widens, with slow current all the way to Brokaw.After the Cty. ww bridge the river begins to narrow and the current picks up.Downstream from the bridge, where the paper mill buildings come out on the left is a narrow spot where the old dam used to be. The middle or to the right is the best way to run this man made Class I rapids. The take out is on the left immediately after a small railroad bridge over the mouth of Jim Moore Creek.


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By Mike Svob