Canoeing & Kayaking

With rivers like the Mississippi, Kickapoo, and Wisconsin only minutes away, it’s no wonder that Wisconsin canoeing and kayaking are popular outdoor activities in the Driftless region.

Canoeing & Kayaking

With rivers like the Mississippi, Kickapoo, and Wisconsin only minutes away, it’s no wonder that Wisconsin canoeing and kayaking are popular outdoor activities in the Driftless region. Whether you are an avid outdoor enthusiast looking for a week’s adventure or a family seeking a short paddle on a sunny afternoon, you’ll find it.

Though much of the Mississippi is not suited to canoeing because of currents and commercial river traffic, the river has a canoe/kayak trail in the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge near La Crosse. It’s also pleasant to ply its more gentle backwaters.

Canoeing the Kickapoo RiverThe Wisconsin River works hard on its upper reaches, with its power dams and reservoirs, but the lower Wisconsin is great for family outings because it is free of any need to portage. The sandbars and numerous islands make for great scenery and wildlife spotting.

And speaking of scenery, the Kickapoo River offers some of the best scenery around, from the forested sandstone cliffs at its northern end to the pastoral farm country at its southern flow. It’s considered one of the best canoeing rivers in the Midwest and certainly one of the most photogenic. Be prepared to negotiate a logjam or two.

What to Know About Wisconsin Canoeing & Kayaking in the Driftless Area

Canoe and boat landings are available on all of the rivers.

  • On the Mississippi, boat landings can be found near Stoddard, Genoa, Victory, De Soto, Ferryville, Lynxville, Gordon’s Bay, Wyalusing State Park, and several locations in Prairie du Chien.
  • On the Wisconsin, boat and canoe landings are found at Bridgeport and Wauzeka
  • On the 22-mile upper portion of the Kickapoo from Ontario to La Farge, there are 20 landings, mostly at bridge locations. Landing 5 is within Wildcat Mountain State Park, Landing 10 at Rockton, and Landing 20 near the Kickapoo Valley Reserve Visitor Center. On the lower Kickapoo, there are landings at Soldiers Grove, Gays Mills, Steuben, and Wauzeka.

Bring your own canoe or kayak, or rent one from one of several canoe liveries, who also offer shuttle service. There are liveries in Ontario, Rockton, La Farge, Readstown, Prairie du Chien, and at Wyalusing State Park.

Sunrise Orchards

Sunrise Orchards

Kickapoo Valley Ranch Guest Cabins

Kickapoo Valley Ranch Guest Cabins

Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Titanic Canoe Rental

Titanic Canoe Rental

Drifty’s Canoe Rental

Drifty’s Canoe Rental

Capt. Hook’s/ Clements Fishing Barge

Capt. Hook’s/ Clements Fishing Barge

Hillsboro Brewing Company

Hillsboro Brewing Company

Branches Winery

Branches Winery

Vernon County Tourism

Vernon County Tourism

Village of La Farge

Village of La Farge

Sports Unlimited Campground & Barn Yard 9

Sports Unlimited Campground & Barn Yard 9

Village of Ontario

Village of Ontario

Village of Soldiers Grove

Village of Soldiers Grove

Snowflake Ski Club and Golf

Snowflake Ski Club and Golf

Kickapoo Valley Reserve

Kickapoo Valley Reserve

Vernon Vineyards

Vernon Vineyards

Vernon County Museum

Vernon County Museum

Down a Country Road

Down a Country Road

Village of Cashton

Village of Cashton

Westby Syttende Mai

Westby Syttende Mai

City of Hillsboro

City of Hillsboro

City of Westby

City of Westby

Ferryville Tourism Council

Ferryville Tourism Council

Prairie Fun Land

Prairie Fun Land

Coon Valley Business Association

Coon Valley Business Association

Village of Gays Mills

Village of Gays Mills

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Whether for a weekend, a week, or longer, you’ll enjoy your stay in Driftless Wisconsin.