Best Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing in Wisconsin

This list represents the most popular whitewater kayaking & canoeing in Wisconsin. Use this list to plan your next Wisconsin whitewater kayaking & canoeing trip. Select a state and/or activity below to find even more top trails.

  • #1 St. Croix River: Gordon Dam to Wisconsin Highway 35

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    Gordon, WI

    Lively, clear, and full of fish, the infant St. Croix races through the sand hills of northern Wisconsin. Yes, Wisconsin! It's such a beautiful stretch we include it in a Minnesota guide. ...
    •  7 - 11 hours
    •  22 miles
    •  Guide

    Lively, clear, and full of fish, the infant St. Croix races through the sand hills of northern Wisconsin. Yes, Wisconsin! ...

  • #2 Oconto River

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    Oconto, WI

    Starting west of Oconto, this wide river is a pleasant paddle through a forested corridor all the way into the city. The current is steady; the bottom is sand and gravel, with occasional boulders. ...
    •  About 4 hours
    •  10.5 miles
    •  Guide

    Starting west of Oconto, this wide river is a pleasant paddle through a forested corridor all the way into the city. The ...

  • #3 Kinnickinnic River

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    River Falls, WI

    The “Kinni” is a delightfully playful stretch of narrow waters threading their rapid and riffly way through some very nice sandstone bluff scenery reminiscent of the Kickapoo. While the rapids ...
    •  About 3.5 hours
    •  8 miles
    •  Guide

    The “Kinni” is a delightfully playful stretch of narrow waters threading their rapid and riffly way through some very nice ...

  • #4 Turtle-Flambeau Flowage

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    Mercer, WI

    Consider this the book’s free-form paddle excursion. This is Wisconsin’s smaller, more accessible version of the Boundary Waters. Totaling nearly 19,000 acres of water plus almost double that ...
    •  Varies; about 4 hours
    •  8 miles
    •  Guide

    Consider this the book’s free-form paddle excursion. This is Wisconsin’s smaller, more accessible version of the Boundary ...

  • #5 Apostle Islands National Lakeshore—Sea Caves

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    Bayfield, WI

    Apostle Islands are twenty-two isles off the northernmost tip of Wisconsin, the Bayfield Peninsula. One of the most significant natural destinations in Wisconsin, the Apostle Islands of Lake ...
    •  About 3 hours minimum
    •  6 miles
    •  Guide

    Apostle Islands are twenty-two isles off the northernmost tip of Wisconsin, the Bayfield Peninsula. One of the most significant ...

  • #6 Mecan River

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    Montello, WI

    A long and winding paddle, the Mecan passes through banks that are high and then low, grassy and then wooded, narrow and then wide. The tight windy stretches through thick forest at the center ...
    •  About 4.5 hours
    •  10.7 miles
    •  Guide

    A long and winding paddle, the Mecan passes through banks that are high and then low, grassy and then wooded, narrow and ...

  • #7 Eau Claire River

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    Fall Creek, WI

    Paddle among high, sandy banks on a wide river east of Eau Claire. The trip starts from a county park and offers some narrowing points of riffles here and there, as well as wide lazy stretches ...
    •  About 5 hours
    •  13.8 miles
    •  Guide

    Paddle among high, sandy banks on a wide river east of Eau Claire. The trip starts from a county park and offers some narrowing ...

  • #8 Door County—Cave Point

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    Jacksonport, WI

    Done as either a one-way paddle or an out-and-back, this trip explores the coastline of Lake Michigan. The journey passes shallow cave formations in the low cliffs on shore, giving paddlers the ...
    •  About 2 hours
    •  4.4 miles
    •  Guide

    Done as either a one-way paddle or an out-and-back, this trip explores the coastline of Lake Michigan. The journey passes ...

  • #9 Milwaukee River—Newburg to Fredonia

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    Saukville, WI

    This rural stretch of the Milwaukee actually runs north before it turns south to its urban destination. Thanks in part to the Riveredge Nature Center, this section is wooded and wild. A challenge ...
    •  About 4 hours
    •  10.6 miles
    •  Guide

    This rural stretch of the Milwaukee actually runs north before it turns south to its urban destination. Thanks in part to ...

  • #10 Bark River

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    Fort Atkinson, WI

    Another tributary to the Rock River, this stretch of the narrow and intimate Bark River runs amid farmland but remains well tucked into thick forest. Part of the Glacier Heritage Area’s Water ...
    •  About 2.5 hours
    •  6.3 miles
    •  Guide

    Another tributary to the Rock River, this stretch of the narrow and intimate Bark River runs amid farmland but remains well ...

  • #11 Chippewa River

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    Ladysmith, WI

    What was once a working highway for the lumber industry is now a recreational paddler’s delight. A lively river of riffles and some low-grade rapids, the Chippewa starts wide and passes through ...
    •  About 4 hours
    •  10.8 miles
    •  Guide

    What was once a working highway for the lumber industry is now a recreational paddler’s delight. A lively river of riffles ...

  • #12 Door County—Garrett Bay

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    Ellison Bay, WI

    In a bay near the very tip of the Door Peninsula, this there-and-back paddle passes towering limestone cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment and provides some shelter on days of winds from the south. ...
    •  About 2.5 hours
    •  4 miles
    •  Guide

    In a bay near the very tip of the Door Peninsula, this there-and-back paddle passes towering limestone cliffs of the Niagara ...

  • #13 Mississippi River—Long Lake Canoe Trail

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    Trempealeau, WI

    The Mississippi is mighty and wide, but its smaller channels, backwaters, and marshland make for marvelous paddling. This canoe trail starts in a small lake, skirts along the edge of the larger ...
    •  About 3 hours
    •  4.5 miles
    •  Guide

    The Mississippi is mighty and wide, but its smaller channels, backwaters, and marshland make for marvelous paddling. This ...

  • #14 Black River

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    Black River Falls, WI

    The paddle begins at the edge of town—well below the dam in Black River Falls— and follows a wide river, mostly through forest and often showing sandbars throughout. It is a slow, relaxing paddle ...
    •  About 5.5 hours
    •  12.7 miles
    •  Guide

    The paddle begins at the edge of town—well below the dam in Black River Falls— and follows a wide river, mostly through forest ...

  • #15 Wisconsin River—Boscobel to Woodman

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    Boscobel, WI

    This section of the Wisconsin, like the others below the final dam, is wide and steady. In medium to low flows, sandbars are abundant for stopping or even camping. But unlike areas upriver, this ...
    •  About 3 hours
    •  9.2 miles
    •  Guide

    This section of the Wisconsin, like the others below the final dam, is wide and steady. In medium to low flows, sandbars ...

  • #16 Lower St. Croix River

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    St Croix Falls, WI

    This river trip begins with some lingering: Take time to paddle around the picturesque rock gorge, the Dalles of the St. Croix, before following the slow and wide river south amid bluffs along ...
    •  About 3 hours
    •  6.5 miles
    •  Guide

    This river trip begins with some lingering: Take time to paddle around the picturesque rock gorge, the Dalles of the St. ...

  • #17 Wolf River

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    Shawano, WI

    As soon as you leave the Lieg Avenue put-in point, this river runs wide and slow through forested banks, making it seem farther from civilization that it really is. Abundant bird and animal life ...
    •  About 2.5 hours
    •  7.7 miles
    •  Guide

    As soon as you leave the Lieg Avenue put-in point, this river runs wide and slow through forested banks, making it seem farther ...

  • #18 Horicon Marsh Canoe Trail

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    Horicon, WI

    Starting in a narrow segment of the Rock River, this trip begins in a wooded marsh. Then the canoe trail emerges into vast open wetlands, following channels through cattails and grasses. A ...
    •  About 4 hours
    •  7.2 miles
    •  Guide

    Starting in a narrow segment of the Rock River, this trip begins in a wooded marsh. Then the canoe trail emerges into vast ...

  • #19 Crystal River

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    Waupaca, WI

    Short and sweet, this section of the Crystal River is a quick paddle with a lot of maneuvering and a historic mill and covered bridge to see along the way. The paddle winds among wooded banks, ...
    •  About 2 hours
    •  4.3 miles
    •  Guide

    Short and sweet, this section of the Crystal River is a quick paddle with a lot of maneuvering and a historic mill and covered ...

  • #20 Grant River

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    Lancaster, WI

    This very scenic paddle starts on a winding path through agricultural fields offering an abundance of riffles and heading deeper into the typical bluffs of Wisconsin’s glacially unaffected “Driftless ...
    •  About 3 hours
    •  8.9 miles
    •  Guide

    This very scenic paddle starts on a winding path through agricultural fields offering an abundance of riffles and heading ...