What is the Wisconsin River like?
The Wisconsin is a slow, meandering river with plenty of sandy beaches and sandbars. It is perfect for beginners or families with children that want a relaxing ride without having prior canoe knowledge or skill. The river is about 4-5 feet deep on average; however, there are spots that are much deeper and also some spots that are much shallower. Because the Wisconsin drains 1/3rd of the state, the river will always be runnable. For more resources, check out these links.
Is there cell phone coverage in case of emergency?
Yes, most (but not all) of the river has cell phone coverage IF you have a carrier on the CDMA network (i.e. Verizon, US Cellular). Currently, US Cellular has 3g/4g coverage on 90% of the area we cover.
GSM carriers like AT&T will have trouble (though they've been getting better since 2011). If your carrier runs on GSM, text messages are typically the most reliable way to get through to someone.
Can I bring my own canoe or kayak?
Absolutely! We will transport personal canoes and kayaks for a fee. This fee includes transportation for all people and gear from Spring Green to Arena, Mazomanie, or Prairie Du Sac. More details on "Transport Only" here.
Are we allowed to bring food and beverages?
It’s arguably not a real canoe trip if you can’t have a beer while watching the sunset from your private island. Yes, food and beverages (including alcohol) are perfectly acceptable, BUT NO GLASS whatsoever (bottles, pickle jars, etc.). This is strictly enforced by the WI DNR and is punishable by a fine of up to $739. They will ask to check your coolers.
Are campfires allowed?
Yes, you are allowed to build fires on the islands. After the first week of June, wood becomes scarce on most of the popular camping spots so you'll want to purchase wood ahead of time. Because we're in a quarantine zone, state law requires firewood to be purchased within 25 miles of where it will be burned.
Are we allowed to bring coolers?
Yes, there is plenty of space for your coolers just make sure they aren't more than 33" wide.
Are we allowed to bring pets on the river trips?
Yes, pets are welcome to on the river though be aware that your pets will be riding in crowded vans to the river put-in and must get along with other people and possibly other pets. Once pets are out on the river, they do not need to be leashed. In fact, leashes should not be used while in a canoe in case the boat capsizes.
What is the maximum number of people that you can put in a canoe?
We recommend no more than 2 adults and 1 child up to 90 pounds however you are welcome to squeeze as many people in as you'd like so long as you remain under the stated weight capacity. (More than 3 adults will be nearly impossible). In some cases, 2 adults and 2 very small children (5 years old or less) have fit in one canoe. There is an additional $10 fee if a 3rd adult is put into a canoe.
What is your refund policy?
You can find our refund policy here.
Keep in mind our philosophy is that there is no such thing as poor weather, only poor preparation. However, we will issue a full refund if thunderstorms are in the area and are expected to continue throughout the day.
Are there bathrooms along the river?
There are portable bathrooms at Prairie Du Sac, Mazomanie, Arena, and Spring Green. Your next option is to pick a sand bar with a lot of trees and leaves.
Do we need to make a reservation?
Reservations are required at least 24 hours in advance however we typically sell out July and August weekends up to a month in advance. Keep this in mind when planning your trip.
Do I have to put down a deposit?
Yes, we require full payment at the time of reservation in order to minimize paperwork and wait times on the day of your arrival. Please see our full refund policy for more details.
What does our rental include?
Your rental includes a canoe or kayak, life jacket for each person, paddles for each person, and transportation upriver.
How long does the trip last?
Anywhere from 3 hours to 7 days depending on how long you’d like to go. The typical trip lasts 3-8 hours over 1-2 days of paddling. Arena to Spring Green - 3 hours (1 day); Prairie Du Sac to Spring Green - 8 hours (2/3 days)
What time do we need to be finished?
Since you're paddling back to your car, there is no specific finish time. We only ask (okay, this is more of a requirement) that you be off the water by 6pm. If you're not ready to be done, there is usually a large sandbar attached to the landing where you'll finish. You can return the canoes by 6pm and head back out to the beach.
Can we start our trip anytime?
We have scheduled shuttle runs upriver leaving at 8am, 10am, 12pm, and 2pm. You will have to start your trip on one of these shuttles unless special arrangements have been made.
How long does high water last?
Generally speaking, the more water there is, the faster it will drain. Expect most heavy rainfalls to make their way through the river system in 4-6 days.
Why is your phone support so terrible?
We kept careful track of our interactions with phone customers and email customers last year. It turns out that the majority of customers on the phone are asking questions that have been answered in numerous places already and have 1) clearly not bothered to spend a few minutes on the website, and 2) are more than 4x as likely to cancel their reservations for non-weather related reasons. Basically, phone customers (most, not all) are far and away our worst customers. Instead, we focus on answering emails (even at 1 o'clock in the morning) where our time is better spent.
That said, there are certainly people that need to get a hold of us that have a legitimate need to talk to someone. In the case that we're aren't able to answer the phone (which is often - on shuttle runs, preparing canoes for the day, cleaning up at the end of the day, etc.) all voicemails are automatically forwarded to all staff cell phones at all hours of the day (even at 1 o'clock in the morning). This means we can see that you have an urgent need (like a missed shuttle or need help on the river) and someone will be able to return your call as soon as we're able. It should also help explain why we dislike frivolous phone calls.
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