If you are looking for a kayak trip that features wildlife, few signs or sounds of humanity, with class 1 riffles and rapids for a little excitement, and some beautiful scenery, the upper Grant River is a great destination.
Grant River Canoe, Kayak and Tube Rental LLC met us at the County U bridge. They hauled our kayaks to put in just below the Hwy 81 bridge.
I had read the other day trip report and Paddling Southern Wisconsin on the Upper Grant and was impressed. I searched for images of the rocky bluffs described, and was surprised that I could not find any. I set out thinking I would solve that problem. I found that the most picturesque scenes were right before riffles and places where I needed to navigate obstructions which made it difficult to get photos.
The biggest drawback were the gnats that pestered us during quieter sections of the river.
Mammal highlights were watching a doe and her tiny fawn fording the river and spotting a muskrat on the bank, its face buried in the water drinking. When it saw me it literally jumped in the air and ran head first smack into the side of the riverbank.
The upper Grant passes under 4 bridges, several covered with cliff swallow nests. We saw numerous Yellow Warblers, Baltimore Orioles, Kingbirds, Great Blue Herons, Turkey Vultures and Cedar Waxwings. We also managed to spook a Pied billed Grebe and her tiny chicks. We also spooked one Bald Eagle into Flight from 30 yards away but another one let us float within 25 feet as it rested in a dead tree 12 feet up.
I jammed my 14 foot kayak with its 255 load a couple of times on shallows. I attribute that more to my inexperience at handling the kayak and my weight than anything else. (This was my third kayaking trip). My more experienced (and much lighter) companion had no such trouble.
We pulled out at dusk elated with our experience.
$20.00 to transport two kayaks.
Beetown is at the corner of County Road U and Highway 81 in Grant County.
Paddling Southern Wisconsin: 85 Great Trips by Canoe And Kayak, by Mike Svob