June 19, 2012

Four Family Paddling Trips

A paddling trip can be one of the most exciting ways for families to spend time together. However, there are only a few places that offer the perfect mix of scenery, easy access and gentle current that are necessary for a fun and safe family paddling experience. Here are four Wisconsin paddling trips every family should take this summer.

The Beautiful Black River

Canoeing in Black River Falls

Photo: Erica Dakins

In Black River Country you’ll find one of Wisconsin’s best family-friendly paddling opportunities. The stretch of the black river that flows from Black River Falls down to Melrose offers a slow current, few portages, great scenery and a number of locations to put in and take out. For families, the most interesting trip would be from Black River Falls down to Mason’s Landing, an eleven-mile trip that takes most paddlers about six hours. Find Black River canoe routes and plan your trip.

The Wild Willow

Kayaking in RhinelanderWest of Rhinelander is a true paddling gem. Despite being situated in one of the wildest corners of Wisconsin, the 6,400-acre Willow Flowage offers great family paddling. A number of rivers combine to form the Willow Flowage, yet there is virtually no perceptible current. People of all ages can cruise over the still water, exploring channels and bays and stop to check out one of the flowages 117 islands. Learn about more Rhinelander area paddling opportunities.

The Mighty Mississippi

Family Canoeing in OnalaskaOnalaska is located on the Mississippi River’s Pool #7, also known as Lake Onalaska. This 7,700-acre complex of open water, wetlands, winding channels and backwaters is a paddler’s paradise. The current on the huge lake is gentle enough for family paddling and access to the lake is plentiful. Everyone can look forward to some of the best wildlife viewing and natural scenery in the Midwest. Bald eagles are a frequent sight. Fishing in Lake Onalaska is outstanding, with opportunities to catch everything from smallmouth bass and walleye to catfish and sturgeon. Find a list of canoe and kayak rentals in the area.

The Friendly Flambeau

Pure Water Paddling in Rusk CountyWhen people talk about great paddling rivers, the Flambeau always comes up. That’s because it’s a river that offers such magnificent scenery and so many different types of paddling opportunities. For families looking to avoid whitewater, one of the best paddling trips on the Flambeau River is in Rusk County, from the Ladysmith Dam down to the Thornapple Dam, a segment totaling 11 miles. The smallmouth bass fishing in this stretch is thought by many to be the best in the state. Bring your fishing rod! Get Flambeau River maps.

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