I believe the White River is a gem of a river that is often overlooked. It can be paddled about 13 miles from Lake Geneva to Burlington, Wisconsin. For the most part it offers a sand/pebble bottom with clear/clean water.
For this trip we put in under the bridge on Sheridan Springs Rd behind the Grand Geneva Resort. Some people who want to avoid this section of flatwater prefer to put in further up Sheridan Springs Rd under the bridge. Both locations have room for several cars and provide easy launch of canoes and kayaks.
The first part of the paddle provides opportunities to explore and view lots of wild life. We've seen Deer, Beaver, Muskrats and a number of snakes.
After passing the second put-in bridge, the current picks up and there are numerous small riffles and small waves. At low water, expect to scrape against the rocks, there isn't a way to avoid this but I've never seen it so low that it wasn't runable, at least not for me. My old Mohawk doesn't seem to mind the rocks at all. After about 2 miles the river starts to pick up and there are a few small "ledges" and some small rapids. We saw a huge water snake wrapped around a branch in the middle of one of these small rapids and was able to pull up and snap a few pics.
As you approach the bridge at Lyons, you can pull over river right and check out this area before running it. It's a good idea because it seems the locals have taken it upon themselves to mix it up a bit by rearranging certain rocks to make it more interesting.
On river left, there's a chute and a pretty clear passage but like I said the passage changes. At high water it is only a class 2 but given the nature of the bottom it would be a bumpy ride if one were to spill here. There's a nice pool at the bottom so play is possible here but that isn't what this river is about. If that what you're looking for you'll be disappointed.
After the bridge there are many strainers and they can cause problems for those that have poor boat control. It's about 1/2 mile to the take out in Lyons, a small park with portable toilets and picnic tales and plenty of parking. If one were thirsty, there's a local pub right down the street.
The trip can be continued to Burlington with a take out on Echo Lake.
Find Lake Geneva, WI and you've found it!
- Trip Duration: Day Trip
- Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
- Skill Level: Beginner
- Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)