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Water Trails in Wisconsin

Paddling the Chippewa River in downtown Eau Claire
Paddling the Chippewa River in downtown Eau Claire.

With more than 15,000 lakes, 43,000 miles of rivers and 800 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, Wisconsin has no shortage of paddling opportunities. Water trails provide access points, resting places and attractions for watercraft users on lakes and rivers. In Wisconsin, some trails are interpretive routes, some take paddlers to campsites, and some connect communities. Still, all allow visitors to experience the natural beauty of our state with this original mode of transportation.

For multi-day paddle trips, visitors should follow guidelines for overnight parking on DNR lands.

Great Lakes Water Trails

Water trails in state parks and forests

The following parks and forests have precisely mapped or marked water trail routes.

A specially adapted kayak is available for people with disabilities at Buckhorn, Devil's Lake, Mirror Lake and Perrot state parks.

Flowages and other DNR properties

Wild and Scenic Rivers

Wisconsin's Wild and Scenic Rivers are great places to paddle.

Other water trails in Wisconsin

Biking and paddling trails

Several of Wisconsin's state trails are ideal for bike and paddle trips—sections of these former rail corridors parallel rivers and streams. You can paddle downstream and then bike back to your starting point. Most of these trails require a state trail pass for bikers aged 16 and older.

More information