Canoeing the Peshtigo River, Wisconsin

Expert paddler Mike Svob has been canoeing and kayaking the rivers of the Midwest for 30 years. He paddled more than a thousand miles to complete these books. Below are brief descriptions of the canoe trips that Mike goes into detail with in his books with maps. The maps are very useful, showing rapids, take in and take out points and other things of interest.


Peshtigo 1-Big Joe Landing to CCC Bridge-Forest County- 7.9 miles. This is a slow heavily forested section for quietwater paddlers.Water levels are usually adequate year round. Camping is available at the put in and at Burnt Bridge Landing. Put in at Big Joe Landing. A sign on Hwy. 139 north of Laona shows the way to the landing. The river is only 30 to 40 feet wide throughout most of this stretch. At 1 mile is Camp 8 rapids an easy Class I. After the Cty. G bridge 2.3 miles, the next five miles are slow and heavily forested. Haymeadow Creek comes in on the left, not far before the CCC Bridge. Take out at the bridge. There is only room for a couple of cars.

Peshtigo river map 1





Peshtigo 2-CCC Bridge to Burnt Bridge-Forest County-8.9 miles. This is a good trip for intermediate whitewater paddlers with plenty of Class I and II rapids. Put in at the CCC Bridge. Camp 12 Rapids is a Class II that begins after the first right hand bend.. After a couple of bends Little Camp 12 rapids begins.At 2.3 miles Class I Coldwater Rapids begins. A half mile further you come to Preserve Rapids which begins with 2 Class II boulder gardens, followed by a long pool, then a long narrow rapids. After that the river widens and slows down through some lowland. You will also go through Smiley Rapids and Big Rock Rapids on your way to the take out at Burnt Bridge Landing.

Peshtigo river map 2




Peshtigo 3-Burnt Bridge to Goodman Park-Marinette and Forest County-11.8 miles. This is a challenging whitewater run for intermediate and experienced paddlers. After put in a little ways down Armstrong Creek enters from the left.. Michigan Rapids starts after that. This is a solid Class II rapids with a 100 yard S curve with big boulders and holes to dodge. Class II boulder gardens continue for another half mile. Flatwater precedes the next rapids at 2.9 miles. There are the Upper Dells and Dells rapidswhich are both Class II rapids.Get out and check the Dells Rapids before you run it. At 4.8 miles is the Roaring Rapids which is a half mile Class II boulder garden. At the Burton Wells Bridge the river slows down for the next five miles. At 10.8 miles is Taylor Rapids which begins with two Class II boulder gardens, followed by a large island, then Class III Taylor Falls. To avoid the falls completely go to the left of the island and portage. You run into some more Class II rapids before take out at Goodman Park.

Peshtigo river map 3




Peshtigo 4-Goodman Park to Farm Dam Landing-Marinette County-8.6 miles. This is a stretch that is mostly quietwater, featuring a couple of parks and one challenging rapids. After put in the river is quiet for the first 3 miles. Skinner's Elbow Rapids is a Class I-II rapids that is about a half mile long. You pass by two nice parks and at 6.2 miles you enter Wilson Rapids which is a solid Class II.This rapids is a couple hundred yards long and can be portaged on either side. For take out look for the outlet to Otter Creek. Paddle a short distance up the creek to the public landing.

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Peshtigo 5-Farm Dam Landing to Landing #12-Marinette County-5.5 miles.This is one of the premiere whitewater runs in the Midwest, popularly known as Roaring Rapids. The trip begins with a long Class II boulder garden. At 2.1 miles comes First Drop Rapids which is a Class II+. This rapids is usually run on the left. Second Drop Rapids is within sight of First Drop. It is best to run it down the center.Not far downstream is Third Drop immediately followed by Five-Foot Falls a Class II+ river wide ledge. The only place to portage is posted "No Tresspassing". It is best to run this down the center. The toughest rapids is just around the corner. Horserace Rapids is a Class III that begins with a couple hundred yards of fast boulder gardens that run into a small narrow canyon. Portaging is a good idea for many paddlers. From beginning to end Horserace gets more intense. Be Careful! S-Curve Rapids is a few hundred yards downstream.After a left hand turn at the fork stay to the left. Take out half mile past Kosir's Rapid Rafts at the WPS Public Landing #12.

Peshtigo river map 5



Peshtigo 6-Johnson Falls Dam to Schaffer Road-Marinette County-8 miles. This is a popular trout fishing section with a couple of Class I-II rapids. Put in below the dam, not near the dam. After 1.2 miles of quietwater Medicine Brook enters from the left. Just around the bend is a short Class II rapids with big rock outcroppings in the middle. There is a clear chute to the left. At 3 miles you approach Seymour Rapids a solid Class II. Seymour is a long series of boulder gardens with short flatwater pools in between. The current is brisk after Seymour with Spring Rapids at 4.7 miles.The river widens and slows down after that until take out immediately downstream from Schaffer Road Bridge.

Peshtigo river map 6




Peshtigo 7-Sandstone Dam to Hwy. 141-Marinette County-8.3 miles. This is a quiet section that is popular with fishermen and canoeists. The put in is on WPS property 2.3 miles west of the Crivitz bridge.When you first put in the river is narrow and fairly fast.After the island the river widens to 100 feet and stats that way for the rest of the trip.There is an enjoyable Class I rapids in the first bend. There are only a few islands on the whole stretch. Take out a short distance past the Peshtigo River Campground Landing at the Hwy. 141 bridge.

Peshtigo river map 7




Peshtigo 8-Hwy. 141 to County PP.-Marinette County-10.4 miles.This is a good beginners stretch winding through undeveloped farmlands and lowland. The river is shallow at the start but deepens soon.The bottom is sandy throughout the stretch with mud and sand banks that are heavily wooded untilthe last couple of miles. At 6.6 miles you come to Class I Williams Rapids. Left Foot Creek enter from the right at the next sharp turn to the left. Take out at the County PP bridge, upstream right, at the ruins of an old cheese factory.

Peshtigo river map 8




Peshtigo 9-Cty. PP to Cty. E.-Marinette County-10.4 miles. This is a peaceful pleasant paddle through a mixed setting of uplands and lowlands. Put in at the Cty. PP bridge. The section begins fairly wide and deep. Before long the river becomes shallow as you approach a Class I rapids. A Bib island precedes the Cty. W bridge. The right channel is narrow, shallow and choked with deadfall. At 4.5 miles the Little Peshtigo enters from the right. Take out at the Cty. E bridge up stream right or downstream left. Because of large rocks this is not an easy access.


Peshtigo river map 9




Peshtigo 10-City of Peshtigo to Klingsporn Public Landing-10.3 miles. This is a quiet float through a wild, wooded area with imposing sand banks and a couple miles of marshland. Put in downstream from the railroad bridge and paper mill dam. Good parking is provided.The stretch begins with a wide deep straightaway in wooded lowlands. Take out at the public landing. Watch for the landing or you could miss it

Peshtigo river map 10