Turtle Creek
★ ★ ★ ★

Turtle Creek I

By on August 7, 2011

Sweet-Allyn Park to Dickop Street
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

This is our favorite kind of creek, one that paddles like a river. Flowing from Turtle Lake to the Rock River, this riffly run makes for a great day paddle as it twists and turns on its way to the city of Beloit.

Date:
August 6, 2011

Class Difficulty:
Class I

Gauge:
Clinton: ht/ft: 4.19 | cfs: 193

Recommended Levels:
This is a very recommendable level. Ideally, paddle this at above 200 cfs.

Put-In:
Sweet-Allyn Park, Shopiere, Wisconsin
Take-Out:
Dickop Street, South Beloit, Illinois

Time: Put in at 12:30p. Out at 3:15p.
Total Time: 2h 45m
Miles Paddled: 11.5

What we liked:
This is our favorite kind of creek, one that paddles like a river. Turtle Creek was one of the first trips we ever mapped out. After coming across the Wisconsin Paddles video some years back, we knew we had to check it out for ourselves and yet it took a couple years for us to get around to actually kayaking it. Although it was unfortunate that only one of us paddled it after a last minute cancellation.

Flowing from Turtle Lake to the Rock River, this creek has a lot to love. The put-in at Sweet-Allyn Park (love that name) is fantastic. The water is brown, clear in the shallows and moves from sandy to rocky bottom with the occasional tire tossed in for good measure (this paddle does cut through the heart of Beloit after all). You’ll see an occasional cup and busted inner tube now and then but it’s generally pretty clean. It should also be noted that it really is amazing that this creek winds through the city but you’re rarely reminded of that aspect. You’ll encounter the occasional sound of city noise, heavy machinery, highway noise and if you’re lucky, some smack-talking as you pass by a basketball court but it doesn’t detract from the paddle.

Most of the trip is spent gazing at the backyards of some amazing homes (I always find it strange how few people I see enjoying their beautiful backyards overlooking this beauty of a creek on such a hot day) but I was taken off guard by how much wildlife there was. I startled a couple deer, a couple large cranes startled me and the geese are plentiful. Ironically, I didn’t spot any turtles but I’m pretty sure they were there based on some of the quick sandbar-to-underwater-movement that I caught out of my peripherals. The take-out I chose is really convenient just upstream a bit from the confluence of the Rock River. It’s located behind the Papa John’s on Dickop Street. There are other take-out options but that last section is a ton of fun and is worth the extra time and distance.

The Turtle has a lot in common with Badfish Creek and the Yahara River. It’s very wide at the beginning much like the Yahara but it gets more interesting as the current and riffles increase downstream much like the Badfish. I’d break it down into 3 distinct sections. From Sweet-Allyn Park in Shopiere to Cranston Road, the creek is often wide and slow with a few little riffly sections. From Cranston to Millwaukee Road, the riffles increase with the curves of the creek. It was in that section that I finally came across others out enjoying the Turtle. I passed by a family paddling their canoe, some swimmers jumping from downed trees and some guys floating in tubes. The last section starts immediately after passing under the Milwaukee Road bridge. From there and all the way to the take-out, you’ll find a very pushy current with tons of riffles as you make your way. It’s a very fun section.

Safety is always first and foremost with the trips we plan. We like to keep them around class I or II at the most. One of the things we took note of in the Wisconsin Paddles video was the emphasis on a couple of dangerous bridges. The two that he’s referring to are the Colley Street bridge and the first train trestle immediately after that. When I paddled them, they were completely open but that’s not to say they couldn’t get clogged up and cause for concern but this is not exclusive to Turtle Creek. The water does move faster after Milwaukee Road and there is plenty of deadfall that can and does make its way to the bridges. Every bridge on every paddle should be scouted, especially if you hear moving water and portage when you question your ability to make it through.

What we didn’t like:
Having to go solo again meant another bike shuttle. This time I had a working bike but it’s still quite a journey. It took me somewhere around an hour to get from the take-out to the put-in by winding my way Northwest through Beloit. Maybe it was the heat, but I’ll try to avoid that again if possible. I did notice that Beloit-ians seem to love yard statues.

If we did this trip again:
Truth be told, the only reason I’m not giving this a five-star paddle is because shortening the front section would make this a perfect paddle. I like to keep day paddles around the 8-10 mile mark and this creek is way more fun near the end than the beginning. Who knows, I might change my mind on the next trip down the Turtle.

I would also like to explore more of the creek upstream, including the Tiffany Bridge which is one of the only hand-built 5-arch limestone bridges in the world not far from the put-in at Sweet-Allyn. There are also some class I opportunities further upstream based on the Riverfacts and American Whitewater sites (links below). Regardless, this is a paddle we’ll do again. It’s another one of our favorites of 2011.

***************
Related Information:
Turtle Creek Overview: Turtle Creek Paddle Guide
Turtle Creek II: Sweet-Allyn Park to Dickop Street
Turtle Creek III: O’Riley Road to Sweet-Allyn Park
Turtle Creek IV: Springs Park to School Section Road
Turtle Creek V: School Section Road to O’Riley Road
Turtle Creek VI: Fairfield to Sweet-Allyn Park
Good People: Friends of Turtle Creek
Overview: Riverfacts
Video: Wisconsin Paddles

Map:


Miles Paddled Video:

 

Photo Gallery:

TAGS
RELATED POSTS
Milwaukee River
Milwaukee River VIII

April 13, 2017

Black Earth Creek
Black Earth Creek V

April 7, 2017

Lake Mendota Governor's Island
Lake Mendota: Governor’s Island

December 16, 2016

La Crosse River
La Crosse River III

December 9, 2016

Black River
Black River III

December 2, 2016

Mirror Lake
Mirror Lake II

November 20, 2016

Mill Creek
Mill Creek (Portage)

November 13, 2016

Montello River
Montello River

November 11, 2016

Galena River
Galena/Fever River IV

November 11, 2016

  • If you do this again and go further upstream…depth becomes an issue…we have found anywhere north of Sweet Allyn is just brutal because the water gets so shallow. I have seen the bridges clog up at times, but there is usually a path.

  • Thanks for the info Neil. We'd like to do this again this year and we were talking about heading further up but if it's low we'll be sure to skip it. Really appreciate the heads up!

  • 2013-08-01 There is a small amount of off-road parking and access at the northern end of the Rte 14 bridge. There is also a put-in with parking on the north side of the creek, and a small road sign, just east of the O'Riley road bridge. It does appear shallow in spots, down to Rte 140, and I imagine there might be some issues with downed trees, etc. but, with boat shoes, or beach shoes, it should be do-able, and more interesting. I haven't checked out local camping near Sweet Allyn park, but this might make a nice two day trip. There may be some possible camping along the creek itself, perhaps an island? Looks like fun. Thanks for the photos and comments. As Ever, Orin in Boone County, IL

MILES TO DATE:

2312.25
HELLO
Miles Paddled documents canoe and kayak trips on rivers and creeks throughout Wisconsin.

Say Hello or Contribute
PADDLE REPORTS

Apple River (IL)

    Apple River
    4.20.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    East Canyon Road to South Apple River Road

Ashippun River

    Ashippun River
    9.27.16 | ☆ ☆ ☆
    Ashippun Lake to Ski Slide Road

Badfish Creek

Baraboo River

Bark River

    Bark River II
    4.15.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆
    Merton to Highway 83

    Bark River I
    7.15.10 | ☆ ☆
    Burnt Village County Park to Fort Atkinson

Beaver Dam River

Big Bureau Creek (IL)

    Big Bureau Creek
    6.17.16 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Red Covered Bridge Park to County Road 1150

Big Rib River

    Big Rib River
    5.10.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Goodrich to County Road A

Billings Creek

    Billings Creek
    8.13.16 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    County Road F to Landing 10

Black Earth Creek

Black River

Black River: East Fork

Bois Brule River

Boundary Waters (MN)

Cannon River (MN)

    Cannon River
    5.31.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Faribault to Dundas

Carroll Creek (IL)

    Carroll Creek II
    6.21.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Point Rock Park to Jacobstown Road

    Carroll Creek I
    4.26.13 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Point Rock Park to Jacobstown Road

Catfish Creek (IA)

    Catfish Creek
    5.7.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Mines of Spain to Massey Marina Park

Cedar Creek

    Cedar Creek
    9.28.16 | ☆ ☆ ☆
    County Road M to Cedarburg

Coon Fork Creek

Covel Creek (IL)

    Covel Creek
    6.18.16 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    East 18th Road to Highway 71

Crawfish River

Crawfish River: North Branch

Crystal River

Dell Creek

    Dell Creek
    3.15.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆
    South Avenue to Dellwood

Door Creek

    Door Creek
    4.1.17 | ☆ ☆ ☆
    Femrite Drive to Fish Camp County Park

Duck Creek

    Duck Creek
    3.23.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆
    County Road G to Duck Creek Road

Eau Claire River

Eau Galle River

Embarrass River

Flambeau River: North Fork

Fox River

    Fox River II
    4.30.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    County Road O to Endeavor

    Fox River I
    5.14.14 | ☆ ☆
    Swan Lake to Portage Canal

Fox River (IL)

Galena/Fever River

Grand River

Grant River

    Grant River IV
    4.24.16 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    County Road U to Chaffie Hollow Road

    Grant River III
    4.23.16 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Short Cut Road to County Road U

    Grant River II
    11.21.12 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    County Road U to Chaffie Hollow Road

    Grant River I
    5.23.09 | ☆ ☆ ☆
    Short Cut Road to County Road U

Halls Creek

    Halls Creek II
    8.9.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Garage Road to Halls Creek Landing

    Halls Creek I
    6.28.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Trow Lake Dam to Halls Creek Landing

Honey Creek

Jump River

    Jump River
    8.30.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Luke’s Heights Lane to Big Falls County Park

Kickapoo River

Kickapoo River: West Fork

Kinnickinnic River

Kishwaukee River (IL)

Koshkonong Creek

La Crosse River

Lake Columbia

Lake Mendota

Lake Michigan

Lake Superior

Lake Waubesa

Lemonweir River

Little Platte River

Little Wolf River

Maunesha River

Mecan River

Mill Creek

Milwaukee River

Milwaukee River: East Branch

Mink River

Mirror Lake

    Mirror Lake II
    10.17.16 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Mirror Lake State Park to Lake Delton

    Mirror Lake I
    5.24.08 | ☆ ☆ ☆
    Mirror Lake State Park to Lake Delton

Montello River

    Montello River
    11.8.16-11.10.16 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Harrisville to 11th Road

Mormon Creek

    Mormon Creek
    8.3.14 | ☆ ☆
    Mormon Coulee Park to Goose Island County Park

Morrison Creek

    Morrison Creek
    9.19.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Cemetery Road to Morrison Landing

Mukwonago River

Mullet River

    Mullet River
    10.20.16 | ☆ ☆ ☆
    Plymouth to County Road M

Namekagon River

    Namekagon River
    7.16-7.19.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    County Road K to Riverside

Neenah Creek

Nippersink Creek (IL)

Oconomowoc River

Old Pearl River (LA)

    Old Pearl River
    4.3.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Crawford Landing Road to Indian Village Road

Onion River

    Onion River II
    10.11.16 | ☆ ☆ ☆
    County Road A to County Road V

    Onion River I
    9.23.16 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    County Road V to Sheboygan Falls

Pecatonica River

Pecatonica River: East Branch

Peshekee River (MI)

Peshtigo River

    Peshtigo River
    9.2.12 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Burnt Bridge to Goodman Park

Pigeon River

    Pigeon River
    12.5.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    County Road J to Lake Michigan

Pine River

Platte River

Plover River

    Plover River
    5.19.13 | ☆ ☆ ☆
    Jordan Park to Iverson Park

Prairie River

    Prairie River
    11.17.12 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Haymeadow Creek to Prairie Road

Puchyan River

    Puchyan River
    04.19.15 | ☆ ☆
    County Road J to Huckleberry Road

Red River

    Red River
    12.9.12 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Gresham to County Road A

Red Cedar River

Robinson Creek

    Robinson Creek
    7.8.12 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Old County Road I to Kelly Road

Rock Creek

    Rock Creek
    3.26.16 | ☆ ☆ ☆
    Lake Mills to Millford

Rock River

Root River

    Root River
    8.2.13 | ☆ ☆
    5 Mile Road to Horlick Dam

Root River: South Branch (MN)

Rubicon River

Seeley Creek

    Seeley Creek
    5.4.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆
    Seeley Lake to Hatchery Road

Six Mile Creek

    Six Mile Creek
    6.7.14 | ☆
    Waunakee Village Park to South Woodland Drive

Spring Creek

    Spring Creek
    4.20.13 | ☆ ☆ ☆
    Fair Street to County Road V

St. Croix River

Starkweather Creek

Sugar River

Token Creek

    Token Creek III
    5.22.11 | ☆
    Token Creek County Park to Cherokee Park

    Token Creek II
    8.22.09 | ☆ ☆
    Token Creek County Park to Cherokee Park

    Token Creek I
    5.2.09 | ☆ ☆ ☆
    Token Creek County Park to Cherokee Park

Tomorrow River

    Tomorrow River
    7.4.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Rolling Hills Road to Amherst

Trappe River

    Trappe River
    8.2.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    County Road WW to Wisconsin River Road

Trempealeau River

Turtle Creek

Upper Iowa River (IA)

    Upper Iowa River
    5.24.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Chimney Rock Road to Bluffton Road

Waupaca River

    Waupaca River V
    10.24.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Amherst to Durrant Road

    Waupaca River IV
    4.12.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    County Highway Q to Brainards Bridge Park

    Waupaca River III
    9.22.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆
    County Highway DD to County Highway Q

    Waupaca River II
    7.7.12 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    County Highway Q to Brainards Bridge Park

    Waupaca River I
    7.9.11 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    County Highway Q to Brainards Bridge Park

Wausau Whitewater Park

Wedges Creek

    Wedges Creek
    9.20.11 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Middle Road to Black River Lodge Resort

White River

Wisconsin River

Wolf River

Yahara River

Yellow Creek (IL)

    Yellow Creek
    4.19.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Bolton Road to Krape Park

Yellow River

Yellow River (IA)

    Yellow River II
    5.6.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Old Sixteen Road to Highway 76

    Yellow River I
    5.5.14 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Highway X16 to Old Sixteen Road

Zumbro River (MN)

    Zumbro River
    6.1.15 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Zumbro Falls to Millville
Support the Cause
Timothy's guidebook is out! Order on Amazon.com.



Support Miles Paddled and visit our Spreadshirt shop!