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People boating on a Lake Thompson.

Canoeing and Kayaking


Upper Wisconsin River:
The upper Wisconsin (Vilas and Oneida Counties to Merrill) is a relaxing way to view the natural beauty of the Northwoods. Winding through forest and farmland, the majority of the river offers a slow current with few obstacles. There is a portage at the Rainbow Lake Dam. Rainbow Rapids offer some excitement, but the rocks are usually submerged. Great location for Northwoods vacation getaway.  For more information, contact the Wisconsin DNR station in Rhinelander at 715-362-7616.

Tomahawk River:
Offers a medium to fast current including two difficult rapids on the lower stretches of the river. Access is available at dams and road crossings.

Turtle River:
A relatively unknown and unspoiled river flowing 27 miles through Iron County lakes and wilderness into the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage at Lake of the Falls. Some Class II to III rapids that may require portaging depending on water levels. Portage at Shay's Dam Fall is required. Numerous public access points.

Manitowish River
: A river for variety and fun. Flowing from Presque Isle in Vilas County, through Boulder Junction and Manitowish Waters, to the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage in Iron County. The upper portion connects 25 lakes including the famous Manitowish Chain of Lakes. With numerous access points and boat landings, peddlers can design trips of any length. Downstream the lower portion is steady current flowing through beautiful north country into the flowage. Great opportunities for wildlife viewing, especially eagles. Low to medium-hazard rapids and riffles. Canoe rentals and access maps available locally.

Bear River:
Tranquil and unspoiled, with great opportunities to see wildlife. Much of the 25-mile course passes through the Lac du Flambeau Chippewa Reservation. Upper portions are narrow with a steady current though pine forests;the lower stretch passes through Powell Marsh narrowing again before joining the Manitowish River as it enters the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage. Low hazard riffles. Several access points off town roads.

Flambeau River:
One of the best whitewater trips in the Midwest. The north fork provides the most stable water flow. Its upper reaches are slower and easier to paddle, the southern sections provide the challenge of rapids and whitewater. The most traveled stretch is from Nine Mile Creek to Ladysmith. Nine Mile Creek is near Hwy 70 where the North Fork flows into the Flambeau River State Forest. There are landings along the way, so a trip can last a few hours or a week. The Upper Flambeau above Nine Mile Creek and the stretch below Ladysmith to its junction with the Chippewa are also canoeable. Access is available at road crossings, impoundments, and old logging roads.

People enjoying water sports.

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