Day Trip on the Wisconsin River

If you’re interested in coming out on the river for a kayak trip or a canoe trip, we can help! You’ve got 10 miles of sandbars to choose from and the river is often several hundred yards wide or more.  And if true solitude is your thing, take a day off of work in the middle of the week.  Whether it’s just two of you, twenty friends, or two hundred boy scouts, there’s room for you and we’d be happy to get you on the water.

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 for both canoes and kayaks 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.

What happens now?

  • Confirm your Arena trip

    Now that you’ve got a pretty good idea of what to expect for the Arena day trip, you’ll want to confirm this option with your group. Due to the distance between boat landings, this is the only day trip option we’re able to offer.

  • Decide on a shuttle departure

    Find a departure time from Spring Green that works best for you.  Shuttles to Arena leave at 8am (Saturday only), 10am, and 12pm. To ensure there is enough time to finish the trip before 6pm, we do not run day trip shuttles after 12pm.  Groups of 6 or more may want to drop off passengers and gear on the way out for convenience and faster shuttles (see: driver only shuttles).

  • Reserve your boats

    At this point, you’re ready to reserve your canoes and kayaks.  We take our reservations through an automated online booking system.  To reserve online, select your trip date and see exactly what’s available. We require reservations at least 36 hours in advance (a Saturday departure typically needs to be booked by 11:59pm Thursday) so don’t wait until the last minute.

  • On the day of your reservation…

    Plan to arrive at the Peck’s Landing (Hwy 23@WI River) canoe launch at least 15 minutes before your shuttle departure.  Your vehicle will remain here and everything will be loaded onto the shuttle if you haven’t already dropped off gear and passengers upriver at Arena.  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). We are serious about leaving on time. After being dropped off at your start point upstream (Arena boat landing), your rentals and gear will be unloaded and you’ll begin your trip downstream back to your vehicle. You’ve got the full day 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’re back. The only requirement is that you need to be off the water by 6pm.  You’ll leave our equipment at the landing where we come through regularly throughout the day to pick it up. If you still have more questions, check our Frequently Asked Questions page.