Plover River
★ ★ ★

Plover River

By on May 27, 2013

Jordan Park to Iverson Park
☆ ☆ ☆

Characteristically similar to the Wisconsin River to which it flows, this popular section of the Plover is a relaxing and easy paddle for canoers and kayakers of all skill levels and is bookended by two great parks in Stevens Point.

May 19, 2013

Class Difficulty:


Recommended Levels:
Water levels are almost always reliable.

Jordan Park, South of Highway 66, Stevens Point, Wisconsin
Iverson Park, Main Street

Time: Put in at 11:50a. Out at 1:55p.
Total Time: 2h 5m
Miles Paddled: 7.75

Wildlife: Ducks and (lots and lots of) turtles.

What we liked:
My reason for wanting to paddle the Plover River was one of curiosity and stirring up old memories because the last time I paddled the Plover was the first time I ever paddled. This was the place of my first-ever canoe trip, over twenty years ago, a family trip with my younger sister and three other families and their kids. Although some parts of the trip are more vivid than others, it’s left a lasting memory and I really wanted to visit it again all these years later with my new perspective on paddling.

I had thought about this trip often but I didn’t even really know exactly where it was we paddled. After some simple investigation, I soon found out that it was the popular Jordan to Iverson section. I vividly remember the park that we took out at – it was busy, people were swimming and I remember it being really pretty. As it turns out, that was Iverson Park and it’s just as pretty as I remember.

It was also on this trip that one memory was made that trumped all others. My Dad, who isn’t the tradtional outdoorsmen-type, (but has on occasion had a flair for the dramatic) had enough frustration with portages and I guess nature in general, that when the banks of Iverson Park appeared, in a trip-defining (and ridiculous) act, he jumped out of the canoe and swam to shore, never being happier to be on land than at that moment. It was quite the spectacle and is obviously the memory that I (and I’m sure everyone with us) remember to this day.

It’s even funnier now knowing that it was only a two-hour paddle. By his reaction, you would’ve thought he had paddled eight hours or crossed the Atlantic or something.

The put-in at Jordan Park requires a (roughly) 75-foot hike down to the water from the parking lot. There is enough grass to drag your boat if you don’t feel like carrying it. It’s a pretty put-in flanked by a large metal bridge. Upstream from the put-in is a dam that carries water down a gigantic tube from Jordan Pond. There are a lot of fallen rocks to climb about and explore.

It wasn’t until I had hauled my boat down the path and set it in the water that I noticed a couple people putting in upstream by the dam and above some gentle rapids. I had seen the driveway on the north side of the river while shuttling but it looked like it was private. My post-paddle investigation revealed that it looked to be OK to put-in there since I didn’t see any Private or No Trespassing signs. In fact, there was even a garbage can there, indicating that it does get used. That is the only riffly area on the Plover and would be quite a nice entrance to the river for future trips.

This is a great canoe river and a beginner river for sure. The current was swift and there is potentionally a lot to get hung up on but it was all very manageable. There are a lot of down-trees but it’s one of those cases where even if it looks like there isn’t a clear path from a distance – there is. Just follow the current and they’ll open up before your eyes. It’s obvious that some care has been taken to cut blockages and I assume that the local outfitter, Nature Treks, located in a cabin at Iverson is responsible for keeping it clear which is great because there were no portages despite a lot of deadfall.

This stretch of the Plover is a solid two-hour paddle. There are no bridges or other obvious access points until the homestretch so once you’ve put-in, you’re going the distance.

The river feels surprising remote for being located so close to the city of Stevens Point and it’s quite clean, save for the occasional beer can. You’ll no doubt find some fellow paddlers along the way too. It’s not until way late in the paddle before you even hear traffic from the coming Highway 51.

One of the things I remember differently from paddling back in the day is the size of the river. I remember it being very small, almost creek-like which really isn’t the case (being so small myself at the time, you would have thought I would’ve remembered the opposite, but whatever). It’s of the wider variety, like the Yahara River.

Had I not already known that the Plover was a tributary of the Wisconsin, I’m pretty sure I would’ve guessed it. Its characteristics are very similar to its larger counterpart but on a smaller scale. The color of the water is a slight malty-red in the shallows and Lake Eerie-green in the deeper areas. The sandy bottom, grass banks and even the way the trees lay fallen in the river look familiar and much like the Wisconsin, you’ll often encounter huge random banks of sand cutting into the hillside. And though the river is generally shallow as it tapers toward the banks, just like the Wisconsin, it will suddenly get deep without warning.

Despite being near the city, the environs are rather wild, so I still expected to encounter a lot of wildlife but I saw very little variety. A total of one duck was tallied but there were turtles (the size of tires) galore. I literally lost count as they were everywhere.

The take-out at Iverson is great. I chose the beach but you could really take-out anyplace. The parking, however, isn’t ideal. You’ll have to plan your take-out based on comfort and figure out how far you want to drag your boat. I chose the beach so I could paddle under some bridges (and I’m a beach guy). I ended up dragging my boat a ways but put my flashers on in one of the closer No Parking areas to load up.

As mentioned, Iverson Park, the one I often thought of, is one of oldest and largest parks in Stevens Point and it’s remarkable. It’s clear a lot of planning and labor went into manicuring the river to the benefit of the city. Upon it’s entrance under Main Street, the river splits into different directions with rip-rap lining the walls and it winds through the park in different directions under a variety of beautiful stone and metal bridges. In one direction it creates the swimming area (which is also where the beach is located that I took out) on its way to McDill Pond and eventually, about a mile downstream, the Wisconsin River.

Point has really embraced the river where it meets the city, making it a beautiful destination (it reminded me of how the property owners have manicured their properties surrounding the Crystal River in Rural, WI). This is the park I remember so clearly but have never visited before or since. For a city park, it’s a gem.

Also, I noticed (stone or tile) letters embedded in the hillside of the park entrance declaring “City of Wonderful Water”. For being born in Point, I never heard the moniker “City of Wonderful Water” so I had to look that one up. I assumed it was phrase that just never caught on.

It turns out it their tap water was declared “Best in the Nation” one year. I would also like to think that it’s Point’s location, surrounded by beautiful lakes, creeks, the Plover and of course, the Wisconsin River that flows right through it. Iverson park is just one example of their love for the water and I actually thought that was a fitting declaration of the area, it is pretty wonderful.

What we didn’t like:
I can’t think of a single thing. I really enjoyed this paddle.

If we did this trip again:
This was really a paddle down memory lane for me. Taking what I know of rivers and creeks and comparing it to my memory of this river, Iverson and of course, my Dad making that historic jump in the river made this a really interesting and special paddle for me.

It wasn’t quite like tracing the wake of Lewis and Clark but it was cool to relate my knowledge of creeks and rivers to a canoe trip I did as a kid over two decades ago and it sure was fun. And just like my first paddle, I recommend this for first-time paddlers to make some memories of their own.

This section probably deserves more of a three-and-a-half star rating instead of three but since we don’t half-star paddles, I’ll leave it there. It’s really a great entry-level paddle by canoe or kayak.

Related Information:
General: Wisconsin Travel Best Bets
Guide: Paddling Central Wisconsin
Guide: Paddling Southern Wisconsin
Outfitter: Nature Treks
Wikipedia: Plover River


Shuttle Information:

The bike shuttle was easy. There is a very short stretch up the hill on Highway 10 but from there is it’s a flat ride through some neighborhoods and then a couple elbows through a more rural setting. I considered and really wanted to take the Green Circle Trail route which is another option but you spend more time on Highway 66 which wasn’t appealing to me.

Miles Paddled Video:

Photo Gallery:

  • We read this commentary about the trip down the Plover River and decided to try it yesterday (August 16, 2015). It is not like it is described here anymore. It started out beautiful but quickly turned into a challenge with all the trees down in the water. We had to portage 3 times in the muck on the side of the river, which has contained blastomycosis in the past so I'm a little concerned. My husband and I are in pretty good shape, but it was a challenge at times and there were canoes full of families with children that we passed that I am a little worried didn't get out of there before dark. It took us an hour longer than stated on here to get through it all and we were really pushing it at the end to get done and get home. I was told by someone that the DNR was in charge of cleaning up the river and wasn't doing it. They won't let others do it since there are rules as to what you can and can't do, such as not letting the cut up wood lay on the side of the river, or not letting the logs float downstream, etc. Just thought I'd warn anyone wanting to try this trip that the experience is a bit different right now than the person writing this had. You might want to call Nature Treks to find out the condition before making the trip.

  • Hey Shelley,

    Thanks for the update. That's really too bad. I'm surprised it's not being kept up – especially with Nature Treks right there. Sounds like there's an opportunity being missed here! Thanks again – sorry to hear it was such a trudge. Such is the life of ever-changing rivers and creeks.


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

Say Hello or Contribute

Ahnapee River

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 III
    4.7.17 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Highway 83 to Delafield Road

    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 III
    5.6.17 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    Trow Lake Dam to Halls Creek Landing

    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

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

Piscasaw Creek (IL)

Platte River

Plover River

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

Prairie River

    Prairie River II
    5.27.17 | ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
    County Road C to Stange’s Park

    Prairie River I
    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 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

Support Miles Paddled and visit our Spreadshirt shop!