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Canoe Trails

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There are 96 miles of marked canoe trails on the refuge winds.  The difficulty rating is listed so you can pick the trail that meets your skill level. There are 4 designated Canoe Areas.  These areas can be found on the maps.


  • Water Trail Signs

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    Canoe trails are marked with the diamond shaped signs with arrows.

    Note: Some signs may be missing along the way. The river rises and takes out the signs. Remember to download a map to help you navigate the trail.

  • Chippewa River Water Trail - Pool 4

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    Water Trail Map

     Trip Details:
    6.8 miles – moderate to difficult due to current. Paddle with the flow down the Chippewa River to the Mississippi River main navigation channel and return against a moderate current in Government Light Slough. Not recommended during periods of high river flow. Expect increased power boat travel on the Mississippi River portion of the trail on holidays and weekends. The trail ends approximately 0.5 mile east of the launch site at Tim’s Slough Landing requiring shuttling between landings.

    Directions:
     The Chippewa River Landing is located on the eastern shore of the Chippewa River just north of Highway 35 approximately 4 miles west of Nelson, WI or 4 miles east of Pepin, WI.

  • Nelson-Trevino Trail- Pool 4

    Kayak

    Trail Map
     

     Trail Details
     4.5 miles- moderate skill level, there is a stretch you will be paddling against the current.  During high waters and windy days it will require strong paddling. 

    Directions:
     If coming from Wabasha, Minnesota take HWY 25, east toward Nelson, Wisconsin.  If coming from Nelson, Wisconsin take HWY 25, west towards Wabasha, Minnesota.  Pontoon Slough Landing is located on the south side of HWY 25.

  • Finger Lakes Trail - Pool 5

    Kayakers on Finger Lakes

    Trail Map 

    .gpx file for downloading to your phone or GPS

     Trip Details:
    6.1 miles
     - Moderate to difficult. This is best during high water.   There are two loops, a shorter 1 mile loop or the longer 5.2 mile loop.  During low or "normal" pool conditions you will need to portage your canoe between 1st Lake and Wiggle Waggle Slough.  This trail winds through the braided streams and sloughs of the Upper Mississippi River.

     Directions:  
    There are two access points: Minnesota DNR Canoe Access or Pioneer Landing.  
    From Kellogg, Minnesota, take Highway 61 north, turn right onto County Road 81, turn left onto County Road 81, turn right onto County Road 24, continue onto N County Road 24, turn right onto Prairie Lane, turn right onto Pioneer Drive.  You can access either using the Minnesota DNR Canoe Access area or Pioneer Landing.

  • Halfmoon Trail - Pool 5

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    Trail Map

    .gpx file for downloading to phone or GPS

    Trail Details: 
    5.1 miles – Moderate to Difficult.  Difficult
    during high water.  Murphy’s cut can be impassable during high water.  Difficult due to vegetation towards end of summer.  Recommended for experienced paddlers. 

     Directions: 
    From Kellogg, MN take Hwy  61 south, turn 
    left onto County Road 84, turn right onto West Newton Road, turn right into Halfmoon Landing. 

  • Verchota Trail - Pool 5A

    Trail Map in Canoe

    Trail Map

    .gpx file for downloading to phone or GPS

    Trail Details:  11.3 miles – Difficult.  The length of this trail makes it a more difficult adventure and you will be going against the current in the beginning.  Recommended for experienced paddlers.  However, you can put in at Bass Camp and go with the flow of the river following the canoe route signs to Verchota Landing instead of doing the entire loop from Verchota  Landing.

     

    Directions:  From Winona, MN, take Prairie Island Road to Verchota Landing.

  • Aghaming Trail - Pool 6

    LongLakeCanoeTrail

     Trail Map

    Trail Details:  
    6.7 miles – Moderate to Difficult.  This is a looped Trail, and you will be paddling against the current on the return trip.

    Directions: 
     
    From Winona, cross the interstate bridge and turn right onto Latch Island.  Cross over the concrete bridge and turn right onto the dirt road.  Launch your  canoe or Kayak from the shore. The dirt road can be muddy with large potholes of water.  This trail is not usable during floods. 

     

  • Long Lake Trail - Pool 7

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    Trail Map

    Trail Details:
     5 miles – Easy. This is a looped trail out of Long Lake Boat Landing. It can take 3-4 hours to complete. It is located in the backwaters, which has slower moving water than the main channel.

    Directions:
     From Trempealeau, WI at the intersection of Highway 35 and Fremont Street, head south on Fremont Street (Lake Road), past the railroad tracks 1.5 miles to the Long Lake Landing.

  • Brown's Marsh Canoe Area - Pool 7

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    Brown’s Marsh Canoe Area – Pool 7

    Trail Details: 
    Canoe Area – No Marked Trail – Easy.  This part of the river you are paddling in a shallow lake.  Aquatic vegetation is thick in some areas and the water can be quite shallow in places.  In some places there are floating mats of vegetation that make navigation difficult. This is designated an Electric Motor Only area.  These areas are closed year-round to all motorized vehicles and watercraft except watercraft powered by electric motors or non-motorized means.

    Directions:
    From Onalaska, WI take HWY 35 North, turn left onto County Road OT.  Turn Left onto County Road ZN, turn right onto County Road Z.  Follow County Road Z to the end of the road (you will see a dead end sign) and turn right onto Lytle’s Road for the Lytle’s canoe access point.

  • Lake Onalaska Trail - Pool 7

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    Trail Map

    Trip Details:
     4 miles to Fred Funk Landing and 7 miles to Moseys from Lytle's Landing. This trail takes you on the backwaters of the Black River. Boat traffic is quite light for the first 3 miles or so and then it can pick up as you get closer to the Fred Funk landing. This is an easy float that takes 2-4 hours. As always know your route and conditions may change with water levels and after storms where trees could be down.

    Directions:
     From Onalaska, WI take HWY 35 North, turn left onto County Road OT. Turn Left onto County Road ZN, turn right onto County Road Z. Follow County Road Z to the end of the road (you will see a dead end sign) and turn right onto Lytle’s Road for the Lytle’s canoe access point.

  • Goose Island Trail - Pool 8

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    Trail Map 

    Trail Details: 
    7 miles-Moderate. It can take 4-5 hours to complete.  You will be paddling  against  the current for one-half of your trip.   You may encounter strong currents, especially during high water events. 

    Canoe rentals available from Goose Island County Park.

    Directions: 
    From La Crosse, WI take Highway 35 South to County Highway GI (west), the road into Goose Island County Park.  The canoe trail may be accessed from any of the four boat ramps in Goose Island County Park.

  • Reno Bottoms Trail - Pool 9

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    Trail Map

    Trail Details:
    3 miles to 14 miles-Moderate. There are 3 takeout points along the trail. However, from April to early June, Millstone and New Albin, Army Road Landings are frequently under water. You should take out at Visger’s Landing during high water conditions.

    Reno to New Albin Landing 14 miles (4-8 hours) See below for description of the stretches of river. Spillway to Millstone Landing 7 miles (2-4 hours). Pickerel Slough merges with the canoe trail about half way to Millstone Landing. Use the map and follow the signs to make your way through the maze of islands and marsh.

    Millstone to Visger’s Landing 3 miles (1-2 hours) During high water you will be able to paddle directly to the landing from Ice Haul Slough, located about 0.5 miles south of Millstone Landing. If the river is low, you will have to go around the islands and paddle a short distance upstream to the landing.

    Visger’s to New Albin Army Road Landing 4 miles (1-2 hours). The Trail crosses large expanses of open water, be aware of wind conditions.

    Directions: The trail is located off HWY 26 just east of Reno, MN. Be prepared to carry your gear from the parking lot, across the railroad tracks, and down to the launch site on the south side of Lock and Dam 8 spillway.

  • Blue Heron Canoe Trail - Pool 9

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    Trip Details:  Map

    There are 2 launch/take-out points along the trail.  However, from April to early June, Army Road is frequently under water.  If flooded, you should consider launching from Blackhawk Park.

    Section: New Albin Landing to Blackhawk Park is a 3 mile trail and usually takes 1-2 hours.  This is considered a moderate skill level canoe trail through Minnesota Slough to Lost Channel crossing the Main Channel on to Blackhawk Park boat ramp.

    Section:  Blackhawk Park to Big Slough Landing is a 7 mile trail and usually takes 3-5 hours.  Blackhawk Park to Big Slough Landing crosses the main channel.  Follow the signs to make your way through the maze of islands and marshes.

    New Albin to Big Slough Landing is a 10 mile trail and usually takes 5-7 hours.  This trail bypasses crossing over the main channel to Blackhawk Park.

    Directions to Blue Heron Canoe Trail:  
    The trail head is located east of New Albin, Iowa.  From Highway 26, head east on Ross Avenue, turn right (south) on Main Street,, turn left (east) on Elm Street.  Elm Street becomes Army Road.  Follow Army Road to the New Albin Boat Landing.  Blackhawk Park is in Wisconsin offering lunch/take-out point near the halfway point of the trail.  To use Blackhawk Park Landing, head west from Highway 35 on County Road BI.  The trail is posted to Big Slough Landing near Lansing, Iowa. 

  • Ambro Slough Canoe Area - Pool 10

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    Ambro (Ambrough) Slough Canoe Area-Map Upper Pool 10

    Canoe Area:
     Canoe Area – No Marked Trail – Easy.  This part of the river you are paddling in a shallow lake.  Aquatic vegetation is thick in some areas and the water can be quite shallow in places.  In some places there are floating mats of vegetation that make navigation difficult. This is designated an Electric Motor Only area.  These areas are closed year-round to all motorized vehicles and watercraft except watercraft powered by electric motors or non-motorized means.

    Directions: From Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin head north on WI-35/Great River Road, turn left onto County Road K, take the first right toward Ambro Road.

  • Johnson Slough Canoe Trail - Pool 10

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    Johnson Slough Canoe Trail Map

    Trail Details:

     6.1 miles Moderate.  You will paddle against the current for half of this trail. The trail follows the edge of the main channel for approximately 3 miles. 

    Directions: 

     From McGregor, Iowa take Hwy 18 south to County Road X56, turn left into the Sny Magill Unit of Effigy Mounds National Park and Sny Magill River access.

  • Wyalusing State Park Canoe Area - Pool 10

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     Wyalusing Canoe Area Map

    Details
    : 
    Canoe Area – No Marked Trail – Easy. 
     Bring your own canoe or kayak or rent them from the Concession Stand in the Peterson Shelter in the Wisconsin Ridge Camp ground in Wyalusing State Park.  You will be paddling in a backwater area.  When you approach the main channel there are big stop signs instructing you to turn around.

    Directions:

     Access is from the Wyalusing State Park. From Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, head south on US Highway 18 and State Highway 35, turn west on County Road C just south of the Wisconsin River bridge.  Turn right on County Road X and go one mile to the park entrance.  Follow signs to boat landing.

  • Spring Lake Canoe Area - Pool 13

    Kayakers on Finger Lakes

    Spring Lake Canoe Area –Map Lower Pool 13

    Details:
    Canoe area no marked trail. No Public Access from October 1st to the end of the State waterfowl season.

    Directions:
    From Savanna, Illinois head south on Route 84 approximately 7 miles, parking at observation area.

  • Rock Creek Canoe Loop Trail - Pool 14

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    Rock Creek Canoe Loop-Map Upper Pool 14, Lower Pool 14

    Trail Details: 5.3 miles -Easy. This is a marked looped trail.

    Directions: From Camanche, Iowa take Hwy 67 south to Rock Creek County Park.

  • Lost Lake Canoe Loop Trail - Pool 14

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    Trail Map 

    Trail Details:  
    2.9 miles-Easy.
    This marked trail is part of the Rock Creek Canoe Trail.

    Directions: 
    From Camanche, Iowa take Hwy 67 south to Rock Creek County Park.

  • Wapsipinicon River Trail - Pool 14

    BlueherontrailTrail map
     

     Trail Details
    10 miles - experienced Canoers.  This is a one way marked trail trip.  Launch on Hwy 67 paddle down the Wapsipinicon River and head north on the Mississippi River into the Rock Creek Canoe Loop.

    Directions:  
    From Princeton, Iowa head north on Hwy 67.  There is an access to the Wapsipinicon River off of Hwy 67.

Last Updated: Sep 22, 2016
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