The Apple River is known for summertime tubing. Paddle there during Spring or Fall to avoid the crowds.
Three of us put in just east of Somerset along County Rd C below the dam and paddled through the tubing section (litter on the banks but at least it was quiet and fresh smelling this early in spring). There are a couple fun rapids before a big "Take Out Here" sign - for tubers.
We continued down the river to "Apple Falls Flowage", a beautiful bluff lined area topped with pine trees. Soon you approach the County Rd I dam with a takeout on river left. When we were there this takeout was tricky because of a river surface barrier blocking the way to the takeout. We walked along the steep bank carefully and made it but if the river level was higher we would have had a problem to solve. From there it is a HALF MILE PORTAGE to continue. We use straps to pull our kayaks behind us through the grass, lifting them over the road. Leave your boats to hike/scout the trail and have lunch by the waterfall.
The hiking/hauling was worth it to us so we could paddle through "Apple River Canyon", steep walled on both sides with great scenery and fast water with some rapids for over a mile. By now you are close to the St Croix River. We paddled up stream about 2 miles to our takeout helped by a strong south wind. Wind from the north we would have gone 6 miles to a downstream takeout.
Our trip length was 13 miles, about 5 hrs. The shuttle drive was about 10 miles. A very fun trip that I will do again. Because of the long portage, a few class I & II rapids, and no parking near the County Rd I dam that would shorten the trip length, this trip is rated moderate/difficult, but is a reward for the mild adventurer when done during the OFF season of tubing!
Apple River Put In:
about a mile E of Somerset along County Rd C, parked on shoulder.
St Croix River Take out:
about 8 miles NW of Somerset on Rice Lake Rd, dirt parking area.
Google Earth is always good for previewing rivers.
St Croix County Map