After writing and paddling a “river a week” for a bit now, one river keeps coming back to mind, The Namekagon River in Wisconsin. This river has it all, especially for an overnight/several day trip. Few rivers have such accessible campsites that are even equipped with picnic tables!
We started the river 33 miles upstream from Hayward, not many paddling books cover this stretch since it is mostly doable only in early Spring. Over two seasons we have done down to where the river meets up with the St. Croix. This wild and scenic river has very limited development,great campsites, and plenty of wildlife including one of my favorite photos of an eagle (thanks J). There are plenty of Class I rapids and riffles to keep everyone satisfied. The higher up you go on the river the less people you
will see. We have done this trip each year in mid May. It is a great family trip and also a good trip for beginning paddlers. The Namekagon River Visitor Center has always been extrememly helpful to us. Please give them a call before you head out at 715-635-8346.
River paddling is a great way to connect with your friends and family! A captive audience!
Have any of you done this river? We would love to read your story and see your photos!
This weekend 7 of us (3 canoe teams) are heading down the St. Croix in WI & MN.
We had planned to start at the beginning of the river at the Gordon Dam, but low waters deemed this section “challenging”.
At the last minute we opted for a lower section, always check water levels before heading out. We put in at the C.C.C Bridge (a few miles north of Riverside Landing) and we took out at the St. Croix State Park Main Landing.This section is wild and scenic. It can get low so check water levels. There are easy riffles and rapids and a steady flow. Campsites were very nice (watch out for ticks!)
Despite rain on the first night, snowflakes on the second morning, and 35 mph wind gusts, we all had a great time! Without portages you can bring along a cooler and treat yourself to great meals. Each canoe team was responsible for their own breakfast, lunch and snacks. For two nights on the river, 2 teams each took a dinner, and the 3rd team provided dessert and an appetizer for each of the two dinner meals. We ate well!
The MVP’s of the weekend went to our tarps, with the rain and wind it made
camp-life bearable. Runner-up went to our knee-high wader boots. It was so nice to have dry feet all weekend and to be able to get in and out of the canoe without having to be next to shore. Also, in low spots, it’s easy to jump out, pull the canoe along, and jump back in. Dry feet!
We saw a lot of eagles, herons, osprey, deer, owls and turtles! We only saw one other boat until the take out, we had the whole river to ourselves. The earlier you can plan a river trip the better. I would recommend the St. Croix as an easy beginner trip.
The Brule is #1 in my book for a reason: the Bois Brule River in Northern Wisconsin has everything. Quiet-water, riffles, beautiful wild scenery, rapids, whitewater, and world class fishing. Here is a map of the major sections.
There are three major “sections” of the Bois Brule River. The first section from County Road S to Highway 2 is a very popular day trip with canoe outfitters in the area to assist you with rentals and shuttle rides. It is an easier section with mostly quiet water and a few riffles and rapids. Make sure before doing any of these sections to call for water levels: 715-372-4866. The great thing about this river is thanks to the many wetlands in the area the water level is generally always adequate for paddling.
(Did you know that this river is also called the River of Presidents? 5 US Presidents have stayed and fished on the Bois Brule: Grant, Hoover, Eisenhower, Cleveland and Coolidge)
The second section starts at Highway 2 and ends at Highway 13. The beginning of this section is picturesque and relatively calm, after Pine Tree Landing there are a few challenging rapids and two famous ledges, Lenroot and May’s.
About half way through this stretch is the Copper Range Campground and Landing. A great place to camp and fish or just have a picnic lunch. ( There are great fishing spots along this river so be on the lookout after every turn for fishermen and give them plenty of room)
The final section is from Highway 13 to Lake Superior. This section has easy rapids but slows down and widens the closer you get to Lake Superior. It was very ominous the last time we did this section. There was a storm rolling across Lake Superior with black clouds fast approaching. We paddled hard and pulled out in time to watch the storm from our car. This stretch is not as popular as the others, but to paddle out directly into Lake Superior is experience onto its own.
Please share your comments with us about the Bois Brule River, I’m sure many out there have paddled it enough to know every twist and turn.