Nicolet National Forest

Brule River

The Brule River has a fairly reliable volume of water throughout the entire season. It should be canoeable most of the year, even through the droughty periods of summer. The scenery along the Brule River is excellent. Forested shorelines of pines and hardwoods, broken by some marsh land, provide varied habitat for wildlife viewing. Eagles and ospreys are a common sight. The Brule is a Class II trout stream.

Outside developed recreation areas, camping is permitted anywhere on National Forest System land. Within developed recreation areas, camping is permitted only at designated campsites.

Primitive —No permits are required for camping on National Forest System land. Campfires are permitted as long as they are used solely for warming and cooking purposes. Down and dead firewood may be used for campfires. Please pack out all trash, including all non-burnable refuse. Occasional primitive camping spots are located along the southern bank of the river. USGS topographic maps generally show public land ownership and are helpful in choosing campsites.

Developed —The Brule River Campground is located on Hwy. 55 near the Michigan-Wisconsin state line. There are 11 campsites plus water and toilets. A $5.00 per night fee is charged from early May to mid-October. When camping in developed campgrounds, fires may be built only in the fire pits or grates that are provided. Down and dead firewood may be used for campfires.

River Facts

Section 1
START: Wisconsin Hwy. 55
END: Wisconsin Hwy. 139
LENGTH:14 miles
TIME:6-8 hours
COUNTY:Forest & Florence

Section 2
START:Wisconsin Hwy. 139
END:Forest Service Road 2150 (Rainbow Trail)
LENGTH:16 miles
TIME:5-7 hours
COUNTY :Florence

Nicolet National Forest map 1/2-inch scale - $2.00 each
7 1/2' USGS quadrangle topographic map-$2.50 each.

Points of Interest

(0 mile) Brule River Campground—The put-in point is located at the Nicolet National Forest campground on Hwy. 55 near Michigan border.

(6 miles) Forest Service Road 2172—An alternate landing site.

(9 miles) Allen Creek—This trout stream enters the river from the right. One mile downstream, the outlet of Plover Lake enters from the left.

(12 miles) Mud Lake—The outlet of Mud Lake enters from the left.

(13 miles) Huff Creek—Another trout stream enters from the right. Not far downstream, an unnamed stream enters from the right.

(14 3/4 miles) Wisconsin Hwy. 139 (Michigan Hwy. 189) Bridge—This is the take-out point for Section I and put-in point for Section II. Parking is available on the west side of the highway in Wisconsin.


Note: The lower half of Section 2 has large rocks in the river bed. Travel is a little faster due to a quicker current.

(16 3/4 miles) Wisconsin Slough—The slough enters the river on the right. Calm pools through this stretch provide good swimming and fishing.

(19 3/4 miles) Old dam—An old dam site is located on the left at a wide spot in the river.

(20 3/4 miles) Wisconsin Creek—This trout stream enters from the right.

(21 1/4 miles) Iron River—A cloudy-colored stream, Iron River enters from the left.

(21 3/4 miles) Forest Service Road 2152 landing—There is no bridge here across the river, Just an access point for a short trip. At this point on the river, there is a wave of Class I rapids. Follow the downstream"V" through a short rapids run.

(22 miles) Old dam site—The remains of an old dam provide a quickened current that is classified as a Class I rapids.

(22 1/4 miles) Olsen's Creek—Olsen's Creek, a trout stream, enters on the left.

(22 1/2 miles) Fisherman's Eddy—This eddy is a rapids where the river makes a short, sharp right bend. There is a brief Class I rock garden with a large pool at the end. Fisherman's Eddy is on the right.

(23 1/2 miles) Twin Rapids—These are two easy Class I rapids separated by a long sweeping right hand turn. The result is a nice canoe run at most water levels.

Camping: Watch for a primitive campsite on the right bank at the rapids.

(26 3/4 miles) Railroad Rapids—A set of Class I rapids located adjacent to railroad tracks that parallel the river on the left.

(26 3/4 miles) Bridge on Forest Service Road 2446—This is the take-out point for Section 2 of the Brule River. The bridge is about 1/4-mile west of Pentoga, Ml. Follow the main channels through the islands, favoring the right side, until you hit a large eddy just above the bridge. The remains of an old dam are on the left. Take out upstream of the bridge on the Wisconsin side.

Caution! The current at this point is medium to swift, and during periods of high water, clearance under the bridge may be difficult. Canoeists proceeding east should put-in downstream of bridge.

Section 2 may be extended to the access point on Forest Service Road 2150 (Rainbow Trail). This adds about 4 miles to the trip.

(27 1/2 miles) LeRoy Creek—This small creek enters from the right.

(28 1/2 miles) Two Foot Falls—About 1.8 miles downstream from the bridge on Forest Service Road 2446, the river drops 2 feet over a bedrock ledge, then turns sharply to the left. The falls may be navigated in the current on the Wisconsin side, but care must be taken not to swamp in the waves. The falls may be avoided by taking a portage on the Michigan side of the river. Once below the falls, stay to the left of the river to avoid being pulled into brush along the Wisconsin shoreline.

Camping: Watch for a primitive campsite on the right bank near Two Foot Falls.

(30 miles) Forest Service Road 2150 (Rainbow Trail)—This access point is the recommended take-out point for this section of the river. The landing is located on the downstream side of the road. This is the end of the route following the northern border of the Nicolet National Forest. US Highways 2 and 141 are about 10 miles further downstream.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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