Chippewa River - Wisconsin

Date: July 28, 2021; Length: 4.5 miles; Duration: 1 hours 30 min

Put In: Moon's Landing

Parking area with a landing making for an easy put in on the left side of the river.

Takeout: Scoles Landing (Highway 8)

Parking area with a labeled landing making for an easy takeout on the left channel and side of the river.

Paddling Experience = 4/5

For such a flat stretch of river, it still had a solid current and riffles occurring here and there. The water was plenty deep and wide enough to not have any concerns over scraping or portaging. The main concern became the weather, with rain and thunderstorms popping up even in the short time paddling.

Natural Scenery = 5/5

The river was surrounded by forest, with only a handful of scattered houses and one railroad bridge in this stretch. Even with the darkening clouds, the natural scenery was a pleasing one.

Accessibility = 5/5

Both my put in and takeout were well equipped and accommodated with parking areas and landings that were labeled for easy convenient access.

Gradient & Water Level

Gradient: ~1 foot per mile. Pretty solid current for how flat it actually is.
Experience Paddling at this Water Level: The water level was good. It was plenty deep enough to not be a concern but also no where near flooded.

Gauge Information

Here is information on stream gauge readings around the date of this paddle (Note: located shortly after the Thornapple River enters and just before this trip's takeout.):

  • USGS Number = 05356500
  • Discharge Rate = 3100 CFS
  • Gauge Height = 4.5 ft

Overall Experience

Planning: The Chippewa River is a long, wide, and fairly flat river in northwestern Wisconsin that flows southwest before entering the Mississippi River.  Mike Svob has 11 trips and about 110 miles of the Chippewa outlined in his books Paddling Northern Wisconsin and Paddling Southern Wisconsin.  I used his fourth trip in Paddling Northern Wisconsin to plan for my own paddling, with a shortened 4.5 mile section from Moon’s landing to Scoles landing.

Paddling: The river had a surprisingly solid current for how wide and deep it was.  Riffles also occasionally occurred.  I paddled some and floated a bit, letting the river do some work as well.

Observations: The river is dark brown with decent clarity in shallow water.  It had a good amount of islands, with forests for banks the whole time.  There were also a handful of houses, but scattered and without much change in the landscape.  The only bridge was for a railroad and came shortly before my takeout at Scoles landing.  No other paddlers or people off the water were in sight and the same went for wildlife in none, albeit in the hour and a half I was out there.

Reflecting: This wasn’t an overly exciting river trip, but a pleasant one for the water’s current and enough depth, with natural surroundings and nice access options.  I enjoyed my brief time out on the water.  So if you’re seeking out a quiet and calm paddling experience, this section of the Chippewa and I’m sure more sections up or downstream will give you that.