Kickapoo River in Wisconsin

by  KenE

A self-supported trip created by KenE

Trip Overview

Kickapoo River Trip - Solo

Date: June 19th and 20th, 2004
Put-in: Ontario (WI)
Take out: La Farge (WI)

Water Level: Above average. No hang-ups on gravel bars. Numerous strainers, but easily avoided. Two log jams between Landing 12 and Bridge 13. I was able to paddle over the first. The second I was able to just barely snake through. Two more log jams between Bridges 17 & 18. Both I had to drag the canoe over the top and perform acrobatics to exit and re-enter the canoe. Still, 95% of the paddle was beautiful.

Weather: Nice. Not too hot or cold -- perhaps 70 during the day and high 40s at night. No rain. No bugs to speak of.

Campsite: Finding a site was very difficult. They were not marked well. Perhaps the recent flooding washed the signage away. The site I eventually found (H) itself was fine. However, the landing was tough. Boot sucking mud followed by a very steep and high incline. This site was just before Bridge 16 on river left.

Fauna: 2 muskrats, an immature bald eagle, rabbits, chipmunks, 3 owls, great blue herons, crows, spotted fawn, Canadian goose, duck with 4 ducklings, robins, swallows, sparrows, probably others I don't remember.

Additional Info and thoughts: The banks were all boot-sucking mud. Portaging around obstacles was impossible because of this. I sunk in the mud up to my knees at the take-out canoe landing. I had to crawl a couple of yards till I reach firm enough ground to stand. Numerous groups, mostly families, were on the river between Ontario and Bridge 12. Things really thinned out after Bridge 5. I saw no one else shortly after Bridge 12. Saw no one at all on Sunday.

Cooked over the fire on Saturday night. Made a LARGE blueberry muffin using my reflector oven and 7" bowl/plate from my mess kit. On Sunday morning I used the esbit stove to heat water for coffee.

Used my Sawvivor for the first time. I was happy with it.

June 19th

  • 9:00 a.m. La Crescent Kwik Trip
  • 10:00 a.m. Titanic Outfitters in Ontario
  • 11:00 a.m. Shuttle Completed and Launched at Titanic Outfitters
  • 1:00 p.m. Wildcat Mountain Canoe Launch (about 1 hour ahead of schedule)
  • 5:45 p.m. Arrive at Campsite H, just before Bridge 16.

    June 20th

  • 6:00 a.m. Got up
  • 8:00 a.m. Launched from Campsite
  • 10:15 a.m. At take out (Bridge 20)
  • 10:45 a.m. Leave La Farge
  • 11:00 a.m. Ontario
  • 12:00 p.m. La Crosse
  • 12:30 p.m. Home


    I used Titanic Canoe Rental for a Shuttle only and I was also able to pay my camping fee there.


    Canoe - Old Town Penobscott 15

    Freden Reflector Oven

    Sawvivor saw

    Esbit stove


    I camped within the Kickapoo Valley Reserve. The fee for overnight camping was $10, but that covers up to 6 unrelated people. The shuttle cost $20. So that is a total of $30. Pretty high for just one person, but the cost is the same for up to six people.


    35 miles east of La Crosse, WI on Hwy 33


    I used the maps available from the Kickapoo Valley Reserve.

  • Trip Details

    • Trip Duration: 2-3 Day Trip
    • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
    • Skill Level: Intermediate
    • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)

    Trip Location