Eau Galle River
★ ★ ★

Eau Galle River

By on August 15, 2013

Spring Valley to 770th Avenue
☆ ☆ ☆

A real charmer of a river that works its way southeast to the Chippewa River, cutting through beautiful hill country and lush farmland, while offering crystal clear, fish-friendly and riffly water. A very thirsty river, this can and should only be paddled in spring or after sustained rainfall.

August 10, 2013

Class Difficulty:
Riffles (One easy Class I drop)

Spring Valley: ht/ft: 11.95 | cfs: 15

Recommended Levels:
These levels were too low. In fact, the Eau Galle is almost always too low to paddle (more a trout stream than paddling one). A minimum of 50 cvs would be required to run this without walking it but you’ll prudently want something more in the 50-100 cfs range.

Eau Galle Road bridge, Spring Valley, Wisconsin
770th Avenue bridge

Time: Put in at 4:00p. Out at 6:00p.
Total Time: 2h
Miles Paddled: 3.5

Wildlife: Green herons, blue herons, bald eagles, kingfishers, woodpeckers, deer and trout.
Time worth driving to: 1 hour

Sometimes it pays to just let the natural course of events do as it will and go with that flow. I had had an entirely different itinerary in my head for this day of paddling but a circus of circumstances made that infeasible. Because I was already camping at Highland Ridge park and by three in the afternoon my paddling options were growing dismally slim, I simply scoped out my atlas and looked for the nearest river.

This area of the state is rife with rivers. The Red Cedar and the Rush are both nearby, to say nothing of the almighty Chippewa but I didn’t have the time to drive too far or paddle too long. I had a campsite with two hungry friends to feed a good dinner to and not at 10pm! O happy day, then, to come upon the little Eau Galle River (which, just so we’re clear about this, is pronounced “oh golly”. I’m not kidding you and yes “Good Golly Miss Molly” was playing in my head the whole time). I did not know a single lick about this river, much less whether it could even be paddled so I thought it prudent just to explore a very short segment, hence the 3.5 mile length, arguably the perfect cocktail hour paddle!

What we liked:
It’s really, really pretty scenery. There are lush rolling hills everywhere, everywhere! And but for maybe three houses just downstream from the put-in, there is no development anywhere. You quickly dismiss those few houses too, as just downstream from them is a flash-in-the-pan sandstone rock outcrop that all but falls into the river, one of those hidden gems you can only see from the vantage of the river. I am a total sucker for sandstone, so it’s always welcome and adored when I come upon it. But this one was unusually remarkable. Sections of it looked like it was peeling off the way birch bark does. Kinda surreal.

Just before the sandstone (on river-right) there is an easy Class I drop just to spice things up. The water is crystal clear and riffly as heck. The Spring Valley to Elmwood section is mostly straight with gradual bends. (By contrast, the next section, from Elmwood to Lake Eau Galle, is much kinkier and twisty.) And much to my surprise, I did not encounter a single bit of deadfall or logjam obstruction. Probably because of the general straightaway of the river in this stretch but for a river not associated with paddling, it was a very welcome surprise (and relief).

Also, I experienced one of the coolest (and a little alarming) wildlife encounters of my life. In a very tapered portion, no more than 20’ wide, I happened upon an immature bald eagle oddly sitting atop a large rock in the middle of the river. Its wings were slightly spread, so I kept expecting it to light off and fly away. I snapped a quick picture before I missed my chance. I should have stuck around and offered it a drink because the stubborn little bugger wasn’t about to budge.

After hanging out for a couple minutes trying to be deferential, I decided just to get on with things and tried my failing best to nonchalantly butt-scoot my way around the shallower part of the river towards the large bird’s back, reckoning that crossing its path so close was not in my best interest (man, are those talons big!). I got within 8’ of the bird, close enough to clearly make out its dark black pupil and never once did it give me a second thought, barely even paying me much attention. In retrospect, I wish I had taken another picture from up so close. But I was genuinely wary that the thing might attack me at any moment or that this whole encounter was a ruse, a set-up such that the younger bird, distracting me, would make me an easier mark for its parent swooping up above.

What we didn’t like:
The water was WAY too low. In fact, I probably walked as much as I paddled. Butt-scooting goes only so far and gets old real quick. The good news is there is an official gauge for the Eau Galle and it lies just upstream of the put-in.

As I mentioned, I knew nothing about whether this river could be paddled in the first place. Most sensible people would contend that my timing is proof that it is not a paddling river (but instead a trout-fishing one). I would disagree though. My ability to paddle it isn’t proof that it can be paddled in general (because I really did do a whole lot of walking in the river dragging my boat behind me) but that it can be paddled in the right conditions. Lots of rivers are this way. But hit this in high(er) water and the experience ought to be sublime!

If we did this trip again:
If I am up in the area and the river is notably higher, I definitely will and I’ll make a full day of paddling it.

The river can be dissected into the following three segments/trips: Spring Valley to Elmwood is 11 miles, Elmwood to Eau Galle is 10 miles (or 13 miles if you paddle into the Lake Eau Galle impoundment up to the dam, just don’t go over the dam!) and Eau Galle to Chippewa River which is 8.8 miles.

Related Information:
Wikipedia: Eau Galle River


Photo Gallery:


August 9, 2013

August 16, 2013


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 Amazon.com.

Support Miles Paddled and visit our Spreadshirt shop!