Turtle Creek II
Sweet-Allyn Park to Dickop Street
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
With almost identical water levels as the first time we paddled the Turtle, we had a very familiar run down this creek that flows through the city of Beloit, Wisconsin.
July 13, 2013
Clinton: ht/ft: 4.18 | cfs: 205
This is a very recommendable level. Ideally, paddle this at above 200 cfs.
Sweet-Allyn Park, Shopiere, Wisconsin
Dickop Street, South Beloit, Illinois
Time: Put in at 11:00a. Out at 2:30p.
Total Time: 3h 30m
Miles Paddled: 11.5
Wildlife: Turtles(!), two blue heron, two deer, ducks, geese, one fish and three cows.
What we liked:
It’s been two years since last visiting Turtle Creek and I’ve been itching to get back, especially at different water levels. Ironically, however, nearly every aspect felt similar since the water level and flow were almost exactly identical to the last time I paddled it (even lower by the end of the paddle).
We had actually tried to paddle this same section two weeks earlier but at the last moment, it wasn’t meant to be. In fact, I was at the put-in ready to go before something came up and my friend couldn’t make it. The creek at that time was swollen and double the normal depth and flow than it normally is so it was probably a good thing that we cancelled that trip (and probably a good thing that I didn’t have my bike with me to tempt a bike-shuttle and paddle in those conditions). This picture shows the water at the put-in a couple weeks ago, it’s barely recognizable.
So two weeks later, after some dry weather (finally), we made it back.
The put-in at Sweet-Allyn Park is fantastic with easy water access, facilities and lots of parking. We chatted with some friendly locals there, specifically a man who suggested putting in up at Carver’s Rock to extend the paddle three to four miles (it’s actually closer to 6.75 more miles which would make for quite a long day trip). That section has been on my radar, especially because I want to see the beloved Tiffany Stone Arch bridge (check out this amazing shot of it too) and because of the mild whitewater opportunities but we had already done our shuttle so we kept with the original plan.
The turtle is an easy paddle, navigable by canoe or kayak, with lots of riffles but it does historically clog from tree debris. There are a couple bridges to scout where the debris gathers (the East Colley Road bridge and the train trestle right after it) as indicated by the first and second pinpoint on map and as referenced in the Wisconsin Paddles video, So, of course, we proceeded with caution since I had just witnessed the creek at flood stage. We did have to portage twice, once at that train trestle.
This creek is much wider than most and could easily be categorized as a river (although there really is nothing that distinguishes a river from a creek). The water is generally a muddy brown but it seemed a little muddier and opaque than the last trip, which was surely due to the excess rain that stirred things up a bit. The creek bottom is rocky with a mix of sand and of course, mud.
The paddle itself was almost exactly how I remembered it. From the put-in to Cranston road, it’s generally flat water and slow going without too much excitement. Cranston Road to Milwaukee Road is a little more exciting with a few riffles. Milwaukee Road to State Line road is the most exciting with a stronger, twistier current and many more riffles. From there until the take-out, it gets more evident that you’re in the city.
The one astonishing thing that was different this time around was that we finally saw a turtle! Not just one but a few turtles, as well as a couple blue heron, two deer, ducks, geese, one giant fish (which looked like a carp) and three cows (not in the water but behind a farmers fence, thank-you-very-much).
The environment is a mix of tree-covered canopy and tree-lined banks to stretches where you’ll be flanked by manicured lawns and decorated homes along the way. It’s a surprisingly peaceful paddle despite the fact that you’re paddling through Downtown Beloit. It’s not until near the take-out after the Highway 51 bridge does that really become apparent (a lot more city noise).
The take-out is unique in that it’s flanked by a couple train trestles (just beyond the one to the West is your entrance to the Rock River). It’s a convenient access point, even if it does feel a little sketchy since it’s not in the most developed part of Beloit (South Beloit).
With the water levels we paddled this at, this is definitely a three-hour paddle. We took two fifteen-minute breaks which extended it a bit.
What we didn’t like:
The excess garbage lining the shores was more evident this time around. We’d need a separate canoe or kayak to collect it all.
If we did this trip again:
These are great levels and conditions to paddle Turtle Creek but I hope to catch it with a little more water next time (but not double the depth and flow that was raging two weeks earlier).
All in all, the weather was awesome and it was great to revisit this stretch again. I’ll probably check out the upstream section the next time I visit.
Turtle Creek Overview: Turtle Creek Paddle Guide
Turtle Creek I: 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
Video: Wisconsin Paddles
We did a car shuttle this time around. I bike-shuttled the first trip which is quite a long ride through Downtown Beloit, the burbs, farm country and finally to Shopiere.
Miles Paddled Video: