Pecatonica River in Wisconsin

by  guest-paddler

A self-supported trip created by guest-paddler

Trip Overview

My wife and I took along a friend who usually paddles with us and he brought along a friend who is interested in getting into kayaking. All of us had a good time and our newbie is hooked I think.

The Pec is a narrow often tree canopied river that gives a remote feel even when not far from county roads. And if you like crooked, winding streams you'll be thrilled as this river rivals the kickapoo for twists and turns. Deadfall would be a problem if not for the locals who do a good job of keeping the river passable. While strainers are not uncommon, neither are they any problem to maneuver around.

On the outskirts of Blanchardville we put in at the new concrete boat ramp and paddled down to Argyle which is 14.1 miles downriver. Current probably averaged about 1 1/2 miles an hour which made this a good distance for a day trip; I think we were on the water approx. 6 hours with a few breaks for snacks and lunch along the way.

The river banks were for the most part tree lined and grassy, though a couple times we did pass small rock formations. During this entire stretch there are only 2 roads which cross over head, the second coming at about 7.9 miles into the run. This is Riverroad and with a small gravel boat ramp and picnic table this makes a good place to stop for lunch.

The river bottom is mainly mud and after recent rains the areas along the banks get a bit muddy as well, but if you are looking for tranquility you can't beat this little gem. While supposedly popular with fishermen, we saw only one flatbottom fishing boat the entire trip sitting at anchor in a wide curve in the river just up from the takeout. And other than passing under a bridge, traffic noises were absent.

Arriving at Argyle, you have the choice of taking out at the concrete ramp or using the dock. Both Blanchardville and Argyle have dams but according to a map I copied off of, these can be portaged for longer trips. {Note: if you view this map ignore the distances on the map as they are way off. They list this trip at 36 miles, which is not even close as checked with a GPS unit}

I think its only around 4 or 5 miles beyond Argyle to a campground right on the river. Blackhawk Park (I think) is the name, and as of last summer they had 2 gravel boat ramps that were good accesses. South of this park approx. 3 or 4 miles we ran into an impassable log jam last year, but if you camp, this would make a perfect take-out point. There was even a sign in Argyle advertising canoe rentals nearby, but having our own boats we did not look into it further. Again the "Canoe the Pecatonica" section of could help with this I am sure.


Monroe is the nearest town of any size which would have motel/hotels available and this is approx. 15-20 miles to the south east. Otherwise the Backhawk park camprground is approx. 5 miles south of Argyle, I believe on county road Y.


The town of Blanchardville is around 20 -25 miles North of the Illinois/Wisconsin border on Highway 78.


Wisconsin atlas and gazeteer is always helpful.
On in the "Canoe the Pecatonica" section, there is a map overviewing this run (keep in mind the listed distances are way off as checked with a reliable GPS unit).

Trip Details

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

Trip Location