Top Ten Kid-Tested Rivers

Namekagon River, Wisconsin
By Buck Tilton

From its beginning near Cable in northwestern Wisconsin to its confluence with the Saint Croix River, the Namekagon runs for about 98 clean, clear miles, a tributary of and included in the Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway.

Three short portages around dams are necessary to complete the entire Namekagon River, but numerous put-ins below the dams allow avoidance of portages. The abundance of put-ins gives you the chance to tailor your trip to your time.

This river will prove spicy for novices. You'll find several Class I rapids and a few narrow chutes. But with a depth averaging two to three feet and a width seldom extending beyond 50 feet, the Namekagon offers excellent family paddling if you've logged some experience in easy rapids.

Much of the river provides quiet water running through swampy areas or beneath sandy banks topped with birch, oak, and pine. Most of the shoreline lies under the administration of the National Park Service, and campsites are plentiful. Eagles and herons, deer, and smaller mammals are commonly seen along the river, and black bears have been known to raid food caches.


When: From late May to early September the river can be comfortably run. The rest of the year tends to be chilly.

Canoe rentals are available. No permits are required.

For more info: National Park Service, P.O. Box 100, Trego, WI 54888; (715) 635-8346.


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