About Clearwater Dells Kayak Adventures
At Clearwater Dells, we are interested in sustainability and environmental respect, but are also highly interested in the mental peace that comes with experiencing what nature has to offer. Kayaking, being deemed a “quiet sport”, aligns quite well with our vision and goals. The Black River Falls area is one of the premiere paddling destinations in the state of Wisconsin.
Within the reach of Clearwater Dells, we have seven bodies of water that are considered desirable paddling waterways:
All of the creeks enter the Black River at various locations. This means that a paddle on a creek can be extended to continue down a portion of the Black River.
General area information can be found here: Area Kayaking & Canoeing Information while more specific information on each creek or river is available by clicking on each of the seven bodies listed above (provided by our good friends at Miles Paddled).
Each of these waterways (except for Robinson Creek) have one or more legs that can be classified as “beginner”, “intermediate” or “advanced” based on the rapid class rating and our perceived degree of difficulty. While we will stay away from any dangerous waters (Class III or greater), all trips do contain some level of risk. If you are a beginner, then just stick to those legs that offer the perfect waters to practice your beginner skills on. As your skill level increases, you can step up to the next level of difficulty. There is enough variety of waterways and legs to help a beginner gain experience and confidence on the proper waterway, and then continually increase their skill level and confidence as they move onto more advanced waterways and legs.
We are not out to create expert whitewater paddlers. While some of the water we paddle will have whitewater on it with some Class I or II drops; and while some of the rapids are somewhat splashy…. well, we will kayak “white water”, but it is typically what your die-hard whitewater kayakers would call “too tame” for their liking. An example of true whitewater that would entertain the die-hards can be seen immediately below the Lake Arbutus Dam in Hatfield. That’s way too much whitewater for what we are trying to offer. Where there is some element of risk on the waters we are detailing, there is normally a method to portage around the more severe drops or obstacles, with “severe” being a relative term.
It should be noted here that there are always risks associated with paddling remote waters, some of which would be difficult for emergency personnel to access. While kayaking is a fun sport, it is also very dangerous. You must be aware of this and constantly paying attention to your surroundings and potential dangerous spots in creeks and rivers that can turn your getaway into tragedy. Safety must come first. Please review these dangers here: Kayaking Safety and Dangers
If you are interested in kayaking, but do not one one or do not want to bring yours along, Clearwater Dells has up to 3 kayaks, helmets, paddles and life preservers available for rent while on your camping trip (you will have to transport kayaks to & from waterways). You can rent this equipment when making your reservations on HIPCAMP (link needs to be created)
And finally, ALWAYS respect private land owners’ rights and do not trespass on their land. If there is a side creek you want to investigate within private land, just insure your side-water-hike has your feet in the water at all times. I will tell you from experience that there are some of these short side-hikes that should not be missed, and we will attempt to point them out in our descriptions of the waterways, legs and trips.
Most landowners support and welcome paddlers because they know the mindset of most paddlers is to respect and protect the environment around them. I have seen instances of downed trees crossing the body of water, and a property owner will mow a portage path in order to support the paddlers. Others, including many supporters of the Friends of the Black River, will paddle these waters, cutting up any downed trees or limbs that would be obstructions to paddlers. As such we want to be sure we treat their lands with the proper respect. When we all work together, these waters are available for us to all enjoy.
The rules of trespassing and waterway rights are as follows:
“If your feet are wet, you are not trespassing. As soon as you step on dry land in any form, you are trespassing. As a property owner, I own to the center of the waterway. If you are on my side of the center line of the waterway and you are standing (or floating) in water, you are not trespassing on my land even though I own to the middle of that waterway. If you climb on one of my boulders, your feet have left the water and you are trespassing on my property. On state land, if you exit the water, you are not trespassing because the state owns that land that is open to the public.”