Yahara River
★ ★ ★

Yahara River V

By on June 13, 2013

Veteran’s Memorial Park to Windsor Road
☆ ☆ ☆

A surprisingly scenic and riffly stretch of clean, clear water in an otherwise developed area. While a short trip, this portion of the Yahara is protected and has great landings thanks to volunteer efforts. However, there is one section where a landowner is less than friendly.

Date:
May 25, 2013

Class Difficulty:
Riffles (One Easy Class I Drop)

Gauge:
Windsor: ht/ft: 1.20 | cfs: 30

Recommended Levels:
This level is too low for comfortable paddling. Instead, we recommend a minimum of 2’ on the Windsor gauge. Anything lower than 2’ and you will be scraping quite a bit.

Put-In:
Veteran’s Memorial Park, North Main Street, Deforest, Wisconsin
Take-Out:
Windsor Road

Time: Put in at 1:30p. Out at 4:30p.
Total Time: 3h
Miles Paddled: 5.25

Wildlife: Not one, not two but three owls and all in the same tree! A couple blue herons and turtles too.
Time worth driving to: 1 hour

A friend of mine scouted the upper waters of the Yahara a couple months ago but truth be told, I paid him little attention. It’s not that I don’t like the Yahara, I’ve had many a fine paddle on it, including my very first time in a kayak on a river (circa September 2008). But I have found myself having more of a “lower Yahara” state of mind. Ordinarily, the Yahara conjures too many congestions with too many people, usually in power or pontoon boats and usually in the Madison environs blubbering along from one lake to another.

Typically, for me, paddling is so much about escape and at least an illusory conceit of solitude. To my credit, on paper the Deforest area does not in any sense inspire escape or solitude. There’s development and people-stuff all over the place. However, to my friend’s credit, this stretch of the river is surprisingly picturesque and intimate at times, notwithstanding all the development.

For kicks and giggles, take a look at the map of this trip and compare the difference between the “Map” view and the “Satellite” view. You will notice that the entire stretch of the Yahara here is like a green sleeve (cue the music!) protected on each side as an urban environmental corridor. To be sure, it’s no wilderness and you’re seldom far from earshot or eyesight of backyards or cul-de-sacs. But it is a commendable effort in “greening” a developed community and giving the residents therein a place if not to escape from the rush of the everything else, than at least a temporary and well-deserved respite.

What we liked:
The width of the river at the beginning of the trip is nearly such that it could be brooked with a good running start (Note to self: look up origin of the phrase “jump the brook”). It’s like this for the first mile, during which you will paddle past unexpected quaintness at many turns, whether manifested as pretty trees or open fields. Needless to say, a scrappy creek boat would be better than a longer touring one.

This beginning section will be the slowest moving of the trip but there is a respectable gradient otherwise and you will find many laughing riffles welcoming you along the way. And if you like passing under bridges (and really, what’s not to like?) this short trip offers them up in abundance. Most of the bridges are part of the Upper Yahara River Trail, a pedestrian/bicycle path that wends around the river and it provides a delightful bike shuttle opportunity before or after the paddle.

There are no rapids on the trip but the current does rev itself to a quick clip at some points, which of course could be dangerous in higher water. There are a few very modest drops and only one or two choppy moments but nothing worrisome, just lively and fun! There are a few hills to course around, one of which has a very handsome exposed rock outcrop, which never fails to jazz me while paddling, particularly somewhere you’d never expect to come upon such geology hidden in plain sight.

What we didn’t like:
Before I get to the main point that will likely command more attention, I do want to say this first: this stretch of the Yahara will be runnable only in early spring or after a mighty hard rainfall. There was just barely enough water for us to enjoyably paddle this section. Had there been even another two inches of water this would have been a spectacular stretch but anything less than what is noted above would be inviting misery.

OK, now the main part. There comes a time in every paddler’s life when one happens upon a cranky property owner who apparently has no other passion or pastime in life than to bark at canoers and kayakers. Such is their prerogative, I suppose. Here’s what you may well expect to encounter, based on our experience.

A smidge more than midway through the trip you will have to reconcile the most obtrusive of deadfall blockages (Note: there are several in this 5-mile segment). Because I am stubborn and strong-willed and paddle mostly in a 9-foot crossover boat, I was able to forcibly propel/scoot my way over most of the obstructions. And as always, we did a fair amount of hand-sawing and trunk-tossing to better clear some of these clogged spots. But there’s one that requires a full-on chainsaw crew, which of course happens to be right beside the backyard of a curmudgeon shockingly quick on the draw to yell at us. He never threatened us (with what he would’ve, I don’t know) but considering that the law is on our side here but he was a real stick in the mud.

As often is the case in such confrontations, logic and fact-based argument do not prevail. Fortunately, we were a party of three, our ages ranging from 36 to 52, all of us well-meaning stewards of the land who’d sooner hug than cut down a tree. I still don’t know what his bugaboo was. All we were trying to do was a) paddle a public stream and then b) portage around an obstruction because circumstances required doing so.

Here is a short list of what we were not about but maybe he thought we were: picnicking on the 2-foot-wide muddy bank strewn with poison ivy; camping out that night in the crops; breaking out the boombox blaring Miranda Lambert while littering a case-full of Coors Light cans all over the place; or busting out a little impromptu foosball tourney.

All we wanted/had to do was portage over a fallen tree! Because his property line extended on both sides of the river I can only deduce that he felt that he owned the river…? Or that the moment we stepped foot onto dry land (when in the mud, I use the term “dry land” loosely) in order to portage we were trespassing. He advised us to take out and portage further upstream, actually pointing to some tree I could not possibly account for (anymore than someone pointing to a star at night and asking “see that one there?” Um, no… because there are thousands that look just like it!) and then walk through a field with our boats entow. Which of course begs asking the question, wouldn’t we then be trespassing on someone else’s land, in this case flagrantly trespassing now since we’d be cutting through woods or fields? But we placated in order to make nice and just be on our way again, which I must say is probably the best course of action to take, logic or ego aside.

But so we’re clear on this point, here is the law:

Public, navigable waterways in Wisconsin are defined as “lakes, rivers, and streams [that] have a bottom (bed) and side (bank), and enough water to float any boat, skiff, or canoe of the shallowest draft on a reoccurring basis. Occasionally, barriers such as wood or plant debris may impede actual navigation but waters are public even when multiple portages are required to get around obstructions. A waterway does not need to be regularly used for recreational or other general purposes, but is a public waterway based on its capacity to be navigable and public.” (Source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources). Additional info here.

Bam!

If we did this trip again:
I will indeed, but only with more water.

***************
Related Information:
Yahara River Overview: Yahara River Paddle Guide
Yahara River I: Stebbensville Road to Murwin County Park
Yahara River II: Stebbensville Road to County Road H, Rock River
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
Yahara River VII: Veteran’s Memorial Park to Windsor Road
Yahara River VIII: Lake Kegonsa to Stoughton
Yahara River IX: Stoughton to Stebbinsville Road
Yahara River X: Mud Lake to Lake Kegonsa
Yahara River XI: Windsor to Highway 113
Miles Paddled Video: Yahara River III: Stebbensville Road to Murwin County Park
Miles Paddled Video: Yahara River VI: Stebbensville Road to County Road H
General: Village of DeForest
Good People: Friends of the Yahara River
Guide: Paddling Southern Wisconsin
Guide: Yahara Waterways Trail Guide
Map: Yahara Borders Trail
Map: Upper Yahara River Trails
Overview: Wisconsin Guides
Wikipedia: Yahara River

Map:


Shuttle Information:

4.2 miles, mostly on a dedicated pedestrian/bike path that hugs the river. 2.6 miles on the main road, whether by bicycle or car.

Photo Gallery:

 

TAGS
RELATED POSTS
Door Creek
Door Creek

April 20, 2017

Cedar Creek
Cedar Creek

March 31, 2017

Mullet River
Mullet River

November 27, 2016

Onion River
Onion River II

November 26, 2016

Milwaukee River
Milwaukee River VII

November 25, 2016

Ashippun River
Ashippun River

November 12, 2016

Milwaukee River: East Branch
Milwaukee River: East Branch III

November 9, 2016

Bois Brule River
Bois Brule River V

October 20, 2016

Rock River
Rock River IV

August 22, 2016

  • There are always a few people like that, probably get that way from previous bad experiences. Or they are just naturally crabby people. Not much you can do about it. Luckily there are more that are friendly and helpful.

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!