Day Trip on the Wisconsin River

Canoeing the Wisconsin RiverIf you're interested in coming out on the river for a full day to get on the sandbars and have a little fun, we can help!

Arena to Spring Green

  • 10 river miles, ~3.5 hours of nonstop paddling
  • Typically done as a full day (4+ hours on the river)
  • Highest concentration of sandbars


Arena to Spring Green is our regular day trip section and there's good reason for it.  This 10 mile stretch of river has one of the highest concentration of sandbars on the riverway and only a few houses to detract from the natural beauty of the area.  Even on the busiest weekends, there is plenty of distance between you and anyone else on the water. Combined with the easy finish at Spring Green where your car is waiting for you, it's easily the most recommended day trip option.

Average paddlers (and Wisconsin Canoe staff) typically travel 3-4 mph when paddling at a steady pace.  This gives a rough estimate of 3 to 4 hours of paddle time.  This estimate can be stretched the length of the day by floating along with the river watching for turtles, bald eagles, and other animals or stretching your legs on sandbars, playing games, grilling out, etc.  Our only requirement is that you're off the water by 6pm (though if you're having an extremely good time, we won't hold it against you if you're a few minutes late).

Just a fair warning: Don't plan on taking any less than 4 hours out on the water.  While it is not difficult to finish this trip in 3 hours, it is not meant to be done so quickly and it won't be all that pleasant if you're paddling nonstop to stay on schedule.  If you're just looking for a taste of the river and only want to be out for an hour or two, we encourage you to check with WI Riverside Resort in Spring Green; they offer a shorter, hour long day trip that may be more to your liking.

This trip is also commonly done as a very social overnight option (read: more party, less paddle).

One last helpful hint: It's not uncommon for a strong head wind to pick up later in the afternoon so do most of your paddling early on if you can so you're not fighting more wind than you have to at the end of the day.

If this day trip sounds like what you're looking for, here's what you should do:

  1. Decide on a shuttle departure - Find a departure time from Spring Green that works best for you.  Shuttles to Arena leave at 8am, 10am, or 12pm.   Groups of 6 or more are encouraged to drop off passengers and gear first.
  2. Reserve your boats - At this point, you're ready to rent your canoes and kayaks.  We take our reservations through an automated online booking system.  To reserve online, select the date for your trip.  Choose 'Book Now' to adjust how many boats you will need.  Adjusting the number of boats will give you the exact rental rate after group discounts.  We require reservations to be made about 36 hours in advance (the system cuts off at 11:59pm Thursday for a Saturday departure) so don't wait until the last minute to confirm your trip.
  3. Provide your information - When checking out, we'll ask for an email address to send trip details and confirmation.  We'll also ask for a cell number that will only be used to contact you on the day of your reservation if conditions change unexpectedly.  You will need to choose your trip and associated shuttle departure.  If you have any questions, clarifications, or are bringing small children or pets, please leave this information in the 'notes' section. After your payment is completed, you'll receive an emailed booking confirmation with all of the details of your trip as well as a reminder a few days before departure.
  4. On the day of your reservation - Plan to arrive at the Peck's Landing (Hwy 23@WI River) canoe launch at least 15-20 minutes before your shuttle departure.  Your vehicle will remain here and everything will be loaded onto the shuttle.  Shuttles leave exactly when scheduled (earlier if everyone with a reservation arrives early) and will not wait for stragglers (stragglers will be put on the next available shuttle and be responsible for the $2.50/rivermile shuttle fee).  After arriving at your launch point, your rentals and gear will be unloaded and you'll begin your trip downstream back to your vehicle. 
  5. Enjoy the day! - You've got the full length of your rental period to stop at sandbars, play in the river, etc.  Because your vehicle is waiting at the end, you'll be able to pack up and leave as soon as you arrive, there is no set time you'll need to finish (though we ask that you're off the water by 6pm).  You'll check out with a text message/phone call and leave our equipment at the landing where we come through regularly throughout the day to pick it up.

If you still have more quesitons, check our Frequently Asked Questions page.