Canoe Camping on the St. Croix and Namekagon Rivers

The sun is already breaching beyond the horizon, and the trip is to be taken in a gear-laden stuffed kayak, that is gently slipping away into the morning mist. The canoe trip has loads of thoughts lingering within as the journey covers the first miles. The first encounter is with deer heads drinking from the river’s edge, jumping fish and stirring turtles. Beavers are present too, and later in the evening, they retire to their places.

The prattle among colleagues mixes with the chirping of birds and chatter of chipmunks, the whistling pines, and wind rustling through the coniferous trees, and this defines the love for Wisconsin. How immaculate its rivers flow, the closeness of these places and numerous miles hiking trails tracing between farmlands and highway.

Prior trips entail the numerous sandbar camping trips narrowed to the last 92-miles of River Wisconsin, remote Turtle Flambeau Flowage island camping and a bridge at Kickapoo river making our last scenery of the first out.

The journey commences with the paddling on Namekagon River, an entirely national protected waterway. The best option is starting lower the dam, a rather intimate place. Through the next 31 miles, it gives its title to join St. Croix. Besides three bridges, the human world is visible through 5 undeveloped landings. No single soul is visible until Mississippi where a fisherman is encountered. The evening of day one is already here, and planning is not really essential here as things may take longer than planned. Precisely, on day one, we are six hours behind schedule.

Sunset is here, and soft currents assist the boats to the campsites. The battle with mosquitoes is on as the campsite is set; the events of the night take place as sleep buries the day’s events.



The schedule is planned for 10-15 miles on a normal day as per the rangers advice, but the 2 m.p.h gives the added advantage making the successful completion of remaining 29 miles on Namekagon and additional 6 on St, Croix. For the first time in a full day, the crew paddles 35 miles. In the next day, the crew makes 25, and only make a stopover outside water to have lunch. Consequently, this is after covering 14 miles and landing at the west Grantsburg, Highway 70.

The activity reaches the final day, and the best alternative route is selected. The highlights of this day are Kettle River Slough, and the experience at Rapids landing, a good ecstatic place with amazing campsites.

Finally, the side channel contributed to the aesthetic value of the whole trip, again the open higher water can be accessed on foot.

Plan a paddling trip on the St. Croix

The National Parks Service has made available downloadable maps online for anyone who wants to take this camping and canoeing trip, that will aid you to navigate the river. Campsites and distances along the river are clearly marked on the map to make it easier for you to paddle your way along.

Early in the camping and canoeing season or during high rain on the Namekagon, there are very nice river currents for paddling. So, why don’t you plan, load up your gear, and look forward to a great canoe camping trip as you drive off and watch your garage door close behind you in your rearview mirror?


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