Canoeing the Popple 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.


Popple 1-Forest Road 2398 to Forest Road 2159-Florence County-10.8 miles. This section of river is very narrow, swift and isolated, with many Class I-II rapids. Much of the first section is in the Nicolet National Forest where camping is permitted, but there is also considerable private property. Water levels are usually best in April, May or early June. Put in at the FR 2398 Bridge downstream left where there is room for a couple of cars. The river begins fairly wideand deep. About a half mile downstream a long series of Class I-II rocky pitches begins.These are narrow, winding and enjoyable, but be on guard for deadfall. A lowland area follows. Near the mouth of Morgan Creek at 5.3 miles Burnt Dam Rapids begins with a short narrow boulder garden. A long winding more difficult boulder garden starts a quarter mile upstream from the first 2159 bridge at 5.8 miles. At 8.2 miles at the mouth of Rock Creek there is an island in the middle of the right hand bend. The main (left) channel has a 600 yard Class II rapids with a fairly steep grade. Take out downstream from the second 2159 bridge. A small parking area is located there.


Popple 2-Forest Road 2159 to Hwy. 101-Florence County-12.2 miles. This is a marvelously varied section that includes 4 major drops. Put in at the 2159 bridge. About a quarter mile downstream is the approach of Little Bull Falls. Get out on the left and scout this Class III drop. There is a 4 foot drop with several hundred yards of tight, winding Class II boulder gardens. Almost a mile of flatwater follows ending at another long set of Class II rapids.After another stretch of quietwater there is an almost continuous succession of Class II rapids, all the way to Big Bull Falls. Be on the look out for an island, the river splits with 7 foot Class III drops on both sides, There is a portage path on the left. You pass by Hwy. 101 and reach Class III Washburn Falls at 7.2 miles. It can be scouted from a trail on the right. There is a long flatwater stretch after this until you reach Jennings Falls at 9.7 miles. This Class II-III drop can be scouted on the right. After another 1.3 miles of flatwater the Popple flows into the Pine. At this point you have to buck the current 1 1/4 miles up the Pine to the Hwy. 101 bridge.