top of page

About Clearwater Dells Kayak Adventures

CWD Kayak Adventures - Overall Map.png

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, and we would be remiss if we did not have kayaking as a core offering of our products and services.

Within the reach of Clearwater Dells, we have seven bodies of water that are considered desirable paddling waterways:

  • Hall’s Creek

  • Black River – South of Lake Arbutus

  • Morrison Creek

  • Wedges Creek

  • Black River – North of Lake Arbutus

  • Black River – East of Lake Arbutus

  • Robinson Creek

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. This can occur where Hall’s Creek

and Morrison Creek enter the Black River – South of Lake Arbutus, or where Wedges Creek enters the Black River – North of Lake Arbutus.


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. However, we have attempted to classify these in a manner that the novice paddler can feel comfortable that they will not find themselves in a situation that may be beyond their capabilities. In other words, 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.  This area of Wisconsin is so great for this very reason: 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.

Terms to be familiar with:

  • Waterway: This will always reflect the creek or river name that a given trip or leg will start in and refers to the seven waterways bulleted above; “Hall’s Creek” is a “waterway”

  • Leg: This will always reflect a fixed stretch of a “waterway” between a specific put-in location and its nearest take-out location; “Garage Road to Clearwater Dells” is a “leg” of the “waterway” of Hall’s Creek

  • Trip: This will consist of one or more “legs” of a “waterway(s)”; “Garage Road to the Hall’s Creek Canoe Landing” is a “trip” consisting of two “legs” (Garage Road to Clearwater Dells, and Clearwater Dells to the Hall’s Creek Canoe Landing at the Black River)

  • “Leave no trace”: Refers to the concept that we aim to always follow: explore where you can, but leave no trace that you were there exploring; this means absolutely no littering or damage of any natural entities… respect the land and water and leave it as you found it

  • Portage: Walk yourself and your kayak around an obstacle or risk

  • Point-of-reference terms:

    • River-Left: “It” will be to the left as you are facing downstream

    • River-Right: “It” will be to the right as you are facing downstream

    • Downstream: “It” will be downstream from the object being referenced

    • Upstream: “It” will be upstream from the object being referenced

      • Example: “Take-Out is upstream, river-left of the County Road E Bridge” means you will get out before the County Road E Bridge on the left-hand side as you come upon the County Road E Bridge


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. We will cover some of these risks here {create link to a new page).

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 centerline 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.”

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.

bottom of page