Wolf River


Section 2 is runnable above 250 cfs (3 on Cap's gauge) which for the most part is all year. At 800-1000 cfs (15-18 on Cap's gauge) some rapids become grade III for open canoes. Boy Scout Rapids is too shallow to run when Cap's gauge reads less than 5, although the rest of this run can be undertaken with some scraping at levels as low as 1. Thus, most of Section 3 always has enough water to run. At water levels of 10-15 on Cap's gauge, only experts should use open boats, as most of the rapids rate grade III because of large waves that would swamp open canoes.

River Facts - Section 2

Start of Trip:Hollister

End of Trip:Highway 64 Bridge In Langlade

Difficulty (High Water):II-III

Difficulty(Usual Summer Flow):II

Length of Trip:8 Miles

Time of Trip:4 Hours

Width of River:30-100 Feet

Gradient of Streambed:14%

Drainage Area:469 Acres

Canoeable Days Per Month:



Points of Interest - Section 2

Hollister —This is the take-out for Section 1 and the put-in for Section 2. There is a small grade I rock garden at this location.

Oxbow rapids —This is the first real rapids on this stretch. this is a rather long, grade II rapids, with five pitches. It is not particularly difficult.

Nine Mile rapids —A rather long, grade II rapids.

Fly Fishing Only —Most of the Wolf River is excellent trout water. In this stretch fishermen are restricted to the use of flies as bait.

Dierck's Landing —This location is also known as the Irrigation Ditch. There is as island at that point. The irrigation pump is visible from the left channel. However, the right channel is most frequently run. This is a convenient landing with limited parking available. Some of the finest rapids on the Wolf are located in the nest 25 miles downstream from here.

Cedar Rapids —This short grade II rapids is laced with granite boulders and is very typical of most rapids on this river. At a reading of 800-1000 cfs (15-18 on Cap's gauge), large waves develop in these rapids and at Sherry and Lazelere Rapids below. At this higher water level, these three rapids rata a grade III for open canoes.

Sherry Rapids —Another long grade II rapids with lots of rocks to dodge. This rapids may rate grade III in high water.

Lazelare Rapids —A grade II rapids that is very similar to Sherry Rapids but is not as long. Its approach is signaled by a large island upstream. It may also rate grade III in high water.

Langlade —Take-out is below the Highway 64 bridge on the left bank.

River Facts - Section 3

Start of Trip:Highway 64 Bridge in Langlade

End of Trip:Menominee County Highway 64 Bridge

Difficulty (High Water):III

Difficulty (Usual Summer Flow):II

Length of Trip:14 Miles

Time of Trip:8 Hours

Width of River:20-100 Feet

Gradient of Streambed: 18%

Drainage Area:479 Acres

Points of Interest - Section 3

Langlade —The left bank downstream of the the bridge is the put-in for section 3 and the take-out for section 2. The Cap Buettner gauge is located on the left bank, several hundred yards downstream of the bridge. There is also a grade I rock garden at this location.

Crowle Rapids —This grade II rapids is located downstream of a large island and several similar ones.

Horserace Rapids —This grade II rapids is similar to Crowle Rapids.

Twenty Day Rapids —This grade II rapids is shallower than the first two on this stretch. It's a real rock garden in low water.

Boy Scout Rapids —Schneck's Landing is the optional put-in and is on the right bank about one and a half miles above Boy Scout Rapids. Raft trips often put in here. Boy Scout Rapids is also known as Gardner Dam or Garfield Rapids. This rapids begins below the first of two footbridges on the Valley Council Boy Scout Grounds. It is a long rapids with no special visibility problems, but because of its length, rescue can be difficult following and upset. This rapids rates grade II at low water and grade III at higher flow. A conoeist drowned here in 1961. Scouting is recommended.

A large eddy on the right, just downstream of the first bridge, is a convenient stopping place for scouting. Secure permission from the Boy Scouts if you stop here for scouting or use this as an alternate landing. The lower rapids is usually scouted from the second footbridge. In low water, less than 300 cfs, this rapids is too shallow to run. In this case, many boaters use the alternate landing (No. 18) at the wayside near Markton as the put-in for this section. There are numerous unnamed grade II rapids between Boy Scout and Hanson Rips.

Hanson's Rips —Since 1968 this has been the site of the annual University of Wisconsin Hoofer's canoe and kayak slalom. This rapids usually rates grade II, as does another unnamed rapids located upstream from here. Scouting from the right bank is optional. Huge haystacks rating grade III develop in high water. There is a spring on the left bank 100 feet or so above the County Highway M bridge and an alternate landing on the right bank just below the bridge.

Wayside near Markton —This is located along side of Highway 55, downstream of County Highway M bridge. This is a convenient landing with ample parking and picnicking areas.

Gilmore's Mistake Rapids —The river, which is wide above this point, is constricted to a channel that is only 20 feet wide, in high water, there are large standing waves in the upper part and there are large rollers and numerous souse holes associated with the lower ledge. At such levels this is the most difficult rapids on the stretch. This rapids rates grade III in high water and is rated grade II in summer. Scouting from the left bank is recommended. The lower ledge can be tricky, because the proper chute is not always obvious from upstream.

Although there are conflicting stories as to how this rapids got its name, the following is most plausible: A lumber company scout named Gilmore was sent to explore the feasibility of using the Wolf River to transport logs downstream to a sawmill. He reported that the river was too constricted at this spot, and he predicted that logjams would block the river. Based on this recommendation, his superiors decided not to acquire timber rights to the land upstream. Their competitors, using dynamite, enlarged the passage and made a fortune. And that was Gilmore's mistake.

Burnt Shanty Rapids —This is a typical grade II boulder bed rapids.

Shotgun Rapids —Scouting from the left bank may be advisable. This grade II rapids is the longest on the Wolf. Many and open canoe has been totaled on the stretch. For many years there was a block and tackle permanently affixed to a large tree on the right bank that was used to facilitate rescue of swamped canoes. The most difficult part of this rapids is located near the end where a large island forces the river, which is somewhat wide at this point, into a narrow constriction to the right. The left channel is small and unrunnable.

Intricate maneuvering is required at low water, and that's why this rapids rates grade III for open boats. At high-water levels, large standing waves develop, but since most of the rocks are covered with water, little maneuvering is required. Since this rapids is close to Highway 55, you can easily scout the rapids after taking a short hike through the woods from the road-a smart move if you have doubts. The exact location on Highway 55 is identified by a road sign that points out"Shotgun Eddy."

Pissmire Falls —Scouting is highly recommended. The rapids above the falls are quite shallow in low water and a lot of maneuvering is needed to miss the many boulders. The ledge at the end has a deceptive side curler, followed by a string of boulders that jut out from the right. Only the bottom ledge of this drop is tricky, but it is difficult to pull out once you start into this rapids. Thus, if you scout, stop on the left bank upstream of the WW bridge.

In high water, the side curler mentioned above can trap a dunker and should be avoided by all boats and rafts. This can be done by sticking to the extreme right shore, or by taking out above the County Highway WW bridge. Many rafts are flipped violently at this location. Rafts frequently become trapped in the hole for extended periods. There is a primitive campground with a few campsites located on the left bank of this rapids.

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


Sign up to Away's Travel Insider

Preview newsletter »