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Paddling the Flambeau

Paddling season has arrived in the land of four rivers and it's the perfect time to launch a canoe or kayak adventure. Rusk County has wild and unforgettable paddling on the Jump, Thornapple and Chippewa Rivers, but the river that offers the biggest range of paddling experiences is arguably the Flambeau. From family-friendly stretches to challenging rapids, this river has it all. Here's a quick guide to paddling these waters.

About the Flambeau

This iconic river is the original Northwoods highway, serving Native Americans, French fur traders, early settlers and loggers. As legend goes, it was named the Flambeau by early French explorers who saw Native Americans fishing at night with torches, or "flambeau." Later, the river helped float logs to market from large logging operations. After so many centuries, the scenery remains virtually unchanged, giving paddlers, anglers and boaters an authentic wilderness paddling experience. It provides 41 miles of paddling through the heart of Rusk County. Here are four stretches of the Flambeau to explore this summer:

Flambeau River - Big Falls Dam to Ladysmith

If you're looking for a quiet and relaxing escape, look no further. If you paddle this entire stretch of river, it'll take about seven hours, from Big Falls Dam to Ladysmith. But the river is also great for people who don't want to spend all day on the water - there are plenty of good shorter paddling options. Learn more.

Flambeau River - Hervas Camp to Big Falls

Thrill seekers: we have just the spot for you. This stretch of river is for those who love rapids. It includes four exhilarating pitches of the Cedar Rapids, followed by Beaver Dam Rapids, which begins with a hazardous drop that should be portaged. Beyond Beaver Dam Rapids is a small section of whitewater known as Pine Islands Rapids, followed by two miles of swift water.  Learn more.

Flambeau River - Ladysmith to Thornapple Dam

Paddlers looking for a convenient, easy paddle will find it on this stretch of the river. Put in at Memorial Park and take in view of Ladysmith, as well as some nice fishing.  Learn more.

Flambeau River - Thornapple Dam to Chippewa River 

New paddlers, or those who simply want to explore a scenic stretch of river, will find it here. Launch your boat at the Thornapple Dam and enjoy miles of peaceful paddling - there are few rapids but they are small.  Learn more.