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Wisconsin River - Wisconsin Dells in Wisconsin

by  avenger79

A self-supported trip created by avenger79

Trip Overview

I took a Friday off of work in order to go paddle the Dells area. I have always wanted to go there, and paddle among the bluffs etc.

Having read a few other reports, I thought I would give it a go. First thing, many other reports say they launch on Illinois Ave� there is no launch there. All private land owned by WI Dells Boat Co. and they do NOT want you to launch there.

A short distance away on River Rd, was a public launch. Cost was $8.00 to launch but you can't park in the lot without a trailer. I parked on the road and carried the boat to the launch. Nice launch with dock although I prefer sand or even gravel to launch from. this was concrete.

On to the paddling�
Leaving the launch you go under a small bridge, and then head upstream (which would be to the right/north). Almost immediately you can begin to see the bluffs. The current was very light, in fact almost too slow to tell which way it was going. There were many sandy areas along the way that looked very inviting to stop at and stretch etc. However as you get close to them you will notice the DNR has every one of them tagged with signs that say "No Entry"

As you paddle up the river the scenery never seems to get dull. There are tons of bluffs and every now and than a new channel to explore. I went into a couple of the channels. Interesting landscape in some. Walkways built into the cliffs etc. Lot of fish jumping, and ducks paddling along.

I was lucky enough to go on a weekday and after Labor Day weekend so traffic on the water was incredibly light. In fact on the way up the river I passed only one fishing boat. As I approached Witch's Gulch, a Dells Tour boat happened passed me. Smile pretty, apparently Kayakers are good photo subjects. LOL

Finally after turning towards the Gulch, I found a sandy area not tagged with no entry. Just big enough to get out and stretch and have a small lunch. Nothing fancy there, some raccoon tracks but nothing to see.

The paddle back was for the most part uneventful. A couple more boats passed, one or two of which were Dells boats. More pics taken. the wake from Dells boats is fun.

Took tons of pics and had a great paddle. Spent about 3 1/2 hours on the water. The water was very calm, even though at the launch the sign said levels were up. current was almost non existent.

Very easy paddle for anyone to accomplish. The only concern would be once you start, there are no places to stop and take a break or even just relax and look around. the shoreline is all bluffs except for the few sandy areas tagged by DNR.

I did not go around the island, may try it if I go back. It was a very relaxing paddle with lots of great scenery. Would highly recommend it to anyone.


Wisc Dells as a town has a ton of food, hotels, attractions etc.


boat launch was $8.00 launch fee but parking lot is for vehicles with trailers only. some road parking available


Hwy 90/94 to exit 87 (hwy 13). go through town approx 1 1/2 mi to River Rd. turn left go a few blocks to launch.


Wisc. Dells Public Access

Trip Details

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

Trip Location