Yahara River I
Stebbensville Road to Murwin County Park
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
The Yahara River’s proximity to Madison, not far from Edgerton, isn’t the only reason this section is popular for canoers and kayakers. It’s a relaxing paddle on an often swift current in very clean water, making for a delightful day trip.
Fulton: ht/ft: n/a | cfs: 400 (approx)
We recommend this level. It’s generally best to target 330-500 cfs on the Fulton gauge.
West Stebbensville Road, Stebbensville, Wisconsin
Murwin County Park, Fulton, Wisconsin
Time: Put in at 11:00a. Out at 5:00p.
Total Time: 6h
Miles Paddled: 6
What we liked:
The Yahara river starts in northern Dane County and meanders it’s way south, connecting all the lakes in the Madison area. It’s about 60 miles long but this section is just the last few miles before its confluence with the Rock River.
The Yahara’s proximity to Madison, not far from Edgerton, isn’t the only reason this section is popular for canoers and kayakers. It’s a relaxing paddle on a swift current in very clean water. There is nothing too exciting in the way of rapids but you’ll find some riffles here and there. There are also plenty of places to beach your boat and relax, making this the “lazy river” of kayaking.
The put-in at Stebbensville Dam is a short hike down a well-worn path. There isn’t a lot of parking (with only the shoulders accessible) but it wasn’t a problem. The take-out at Murwin County Park (just one of the many options to take-out) is a great little park with plenty of places to picnic on the banks of the Yahara.
Of course, you could continue a few more miles downstream to the Rock River where there are also multiple access points (although some are muddier than others).
Let it be known that this paddle takes nowhere near the six hours it took us. In fact, this section should only take about two hours even in low water.
The reason it took us six hours is because we decided to have a beer every bridge (we decided to nurse hangovers by kayaking). And ironically, if you take-out at Murwin County Park, you have the perfect 6-pack booze cruise (not that we condone such behavior).
What we didn’t like:
We ran out of beer and lost a dear foot soldier (as indicated on the map).
If we did this trip again:
We’ll do this paddle every year, multiple times, guaranteed.
Yahara River Overview: Yahara River Paddle Guide
Yahara River II: Stebbensville Road to County Road H
Yahara River III: Stebbensville Road to Murwin County Park
Yahara River IV: Murwin County Park to Janesville
Yahara River VI: Stebbensville Road to County Road H
Miles Paddled Video: Yahara River III: Stebbensville Road to Murwin County Park
Miles Paddled Video: Yahara River VI: Stebbensville Road to County Road H
Good People: Friends of the Yahara River
Guide: Yahara Waterways Trail Guide
Wikipedia: Yahara River