☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
This very short trip down the muddy waters of the Baraboo offers a little excitement with its countless riffles and brisk current as it passes through its historic downtown and legendary museum grounds.
May 23, 2013
Riffles + Class I
Baraboo: ht/ft: 8.76 | cfs: 473
We definitely recommend this level but for an ideal run, we recommend a minimum of 350 cfs for this section of the Baraboo (more riffles, waves and fun).
Haskins Park, Baraboo, Wisconsin
Boat Landing, Highway 113, Baraboo, Wisconsin
Time: Put in at 11:50a. Out at 12:55p.
Total Time: 1h 5m
Miles Paddled: 4.5
Wildlife: Three deer, ducks and geese.
What we liked:
Forgoing the North Freedom to Haskins section due to it's generally flatwater and muddy existence, we've learned to appreciate the fun part of the Baraboo by paddling this section every so often. This is a great (and quite literally) little paddle, being a short 4.25 miles. With bike shuttle, it can be conquered in an hour-and-a-half.
It's been over three years since we last did this trip but it was very similar paddle to that last one. The water was high and flowing at a swift rate so the dramatic Class I drop just before the Walnut Street bridge was kicked down a bit. Very manageable for even slightly-experienced paddlers.
The put-in at Haskins Park offers many options, although watch out for geese droppings, they're everywhere. And the banks are muddy.
I don't remember the water being so riffly last time but from the put-in to just past the Circus World Museum, there are yards and yards of riffly sections to greet you. After the museum, the riffles are less but it's still quite pretty.
As mentioned, the Class I drop wasn't anything too dramatic. It's always affected by the high water. In lower water, it's a little more fun but all-in-all, this was a great riffly trip.
For being so short and flowing through the city, I didn't expect to see much wildlife but I spotted two deer on a bank and one in the crevice of the really pretty island just after Circus World Museum as well as ducks and geese. Also, I'm not sure if a black squirrel exists because I either spotted one or the little guy just went swimming.
The take-out is excellent offering lots of parking but again, muddy.
I really love this trip and the historic city of Baraboo. Paddling through the Circus World Museum is always a highlight where you're just as much of an attraction being a canoer or kayaker as is the museum itself. Of course, a stop at Monks for a post-ride beer is always in order after the trip and is a perfect finish to a great day.
What we didn't like:
There really wasn't much, except maybe the excessive geese droppings? Also, as mentioned, one of my favorite parts is paddling between Circus World. There wasn't any circus music playing from the grounds like past paddles. It always adds to the experience even if it's not for our benefit.
If we did this trip again:
This is a great little paddle. If you have a few hours, it's a wonderful way to spend a couple hours and a great excuse to visit the beautiful Baraboo area. I'll be back.
Baraboo River Overview: Baraboo River Paddling Guide
Baraboo River I: Village Park to Highway 113
Baraboo River II: Haskins Park to Highway 113
Baraboo River III: Union Center to Wonewoc
Baraboo River V: Haskins Park to Highway 33
Baraboo River VI: La Valle to Reedsburg
General: American Whitewater
Guide: Paddling Southern Wisconsin
Overview: Hunt Fish Camp
Overview: Wisconsin Guides
Video: Wisconsin Paddles: The Baraboo
Wikipedia: Baraboo River
View Baraboo River in a larger map
The bike shuttle is a simple little jaunt. There is a short time spent on Highway 113 without much bike path access but once in the city, you can ride the sidewalk alongside Circus World to a trail that cuts through the city alongside the beautiful river. It ends on Second Avenue and then it's a matter of Shel Silverstein-ing it back and forth as the sidewalks end and switch back-and-forth all the way to Haskins.
Miles Paddled Video:
The put-in at Haskins.
Shaw Street bridge.
Ochsner Park bridge.
Second Avenue bridge.
Broadway Street bridge.
Right before the Class I (river-left).
Walnut Street bridge.
Circus World Museum bridge ahead.
Manchester Street bridge.
Highway 113 bridge.
The Take-Out at Highway 113.