Winding through the length of the state, the Wisconsin River flows from the Mississippi for more than 430 miles. Forests and hills often surround the waters, which vary in both depth and speed of current. Some sections contain rapids with conditions ideal for rafting, while others are calm and more suited for relaxed canoeing and paddling. There are sandbanks and secluded beaches located along the riverbanks, often beside scenic rock formations and bluffs that the Midwestern landscape is known for.
Most of the river is calm and shallow enough to stand in, and with the number of sandbanks throughout it is known as the “River of a Thousand Isles.” There are numerous scenic spots to stop and enjoy the water, and often there’s also local wildlife to spot. The river, with its pine trees and clear waters, is home to bald eagles, cranes, and herons, as well as river otters, beavers, and turtles.
Most visitors to the Wisconsin River visit the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway, which runs from the town of Sauk Prairie to the start of the Mississippi River. Paddling can be done year-round, though water levels are at peak during the spring season.