Wolf River
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Wolf River III

By on October 17, 2015

Lily to Hollister
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

A magnificent trip that offers the best of northwoods paddling: virtually zero development, pristine water, lots of pines, a rugged landscape and lots of rapids. This is the beginning of the Wolf River’s best.

Date:
September 6, 2015

Class Difficulty:
Class I-II

Gradient:
12′ per mile

Gauge:
Langlade: ht/ft: 7.78 | cfs: 280

Recommended Levels:
While these levels were identical to our trip the day before from Pearson to Lily, there was significantly less scraping on this trip than the previous (even though the gradient is greater in this section). Based on that, we’d say this is the minimum recommended level for this trip. That said, you’d still do better at 300-350 cfs without losing water clarity.

Put-In:
Highway 52, Lily, Wisconsin
Take-Out:
West Hollister Road, Hollister, Wisconsin (aka “Wolf River Township”)

Time: Put in at 12:10p. Out at 3:45p.
Total Time: 3h 35m
Miles Paddled: 6.5

Wildlife: Great blue herons, bald eagles, plovers and a pileated woodpecker.
Time worth driving to: 1-2 hours

After a bit of a grumpy paddle the day before on the preceeding stretch of the Wolf due to frustratingly low levels that required walking and created tip-overs, our otherwise intrepid group was apprehensive of an even longer day of lackluster kayaking. Our hope was to go all the way down to Langlade for a total of 14.7 miles but we hedged our bets by leaving a car at the Hollister access point (6.5 miles) just in case the paddling was more frustrating than fun due to scraping or capsizing (as mentioned above, there was minimal scraping and no one capsized this time around).

The paddling did take forever, however. How it took us 3.5 hours to paddle only 6.5 miles is still beyond my understanding. True, we did have 9 total paddlers and paddling in a group does always take longer than when paddling alone, particularly when portaging three kayaks around one complicated series of ledges (and of course, someone always breaks out the Frisbee). Still though, this was a long time to go a short distance. But the point wasn’t the quantity of miles paddled but rather its quality… (see how I just did that?!)

On this section, the boulders seemed bigger and thus easier to discern before running into them, plus the water was less shallow. This stretch is also is prettier than upstream. Even though this isn’t within the 24-mile section designated in the register of National Wild and Scenic Rivers, it’s awfully easy on the eyes all the same. Hills appear in the backdrop here and there, rising above swaths of lush forest together with clusters of boulders as big as VW-bugs, occasional grassy banks and attractive islands that split the river into various channels to make the overall experience even more intimate.

The only technically challenging whitewater comes about three miles below the put-in, at the Little Slough Gundy Rapids, a solid Class II that is rocky and composed of a couple different-angled ledges (about half a mile before this is Big Slough Gundy Rapids, also rated Class II but not as dramatic or difficult).

The impressively meticulous Wisconsin Trail Guide describes this trip as “a fun and scenic run for novice whitewater paddlers with enough rapids to keep it interesting.” I pretty much agree with this, although Little Slough Gundy Rapids is a little on the frisky side for novice level. What is “novice” anyway? Class I? Class II-curious? All the other rapids on this trip can be handled by just about anybody, at least at these water levels. Two paddlers in our group had never encountered rapids before this weekend, while a third has been getting into light whitewater only in the last couple months. All three portaged Little Slough Gundy (love that name, by the way!) but paddled the rest with panache and aplomb. Either way, you’ll definitely want to get out and scout Little Slough Gundy and decide for yourself.

Otherwise, the rapids are all Class I and just good, clean fun. That said, at the Hollister take-out is the beginning of a different rapids called Burnt Point. You can definitely run the upper portion of the rapids, which require some adequate reading and maneuvering and then take-out river-left where a short trail through some pines leads back to the parking area. Or you can just take-out river-left above the rapids and enjoy the view.

What we liked:
The lack of development, the layout of the landscape, the smoother paddling and more challenging rapids – in every sense this trip was more enjoyed by all in the group than the upstream trip the day before.

What we didn’t like:
River-wise, there was nothing whatsoever to dislike about this trip! The only complaint (and I say this very lightly) is how long it took to cover a short distance. I was hoping to make it all the way down to Langlade but that’ll have to wait for another time (for more on the Hollister-to-Langlade section, see our former report).

Of course, Mother Nature also had a say in how our day on the Wolf ended. When we reached the Hollister take-out to take inventory of who was moving on and who was taking-out from our wolf pack, the clouds grew instantly dark. Luckily, one of us had a bar of smartphone access to check the weather radar, and lo and behold, we were at the edge of a large storm. Almost instantly, it started raining, putting an end to any further discussion of moving downstream. In fact, from that point on, it didn’t let up until the following morning. We spent the rest of the evening holed-up in a bar near our campsite at Ada Lake in the Nicolet Forest but despite the name of said tavern, we hit a Windfall of anything but hospitality. But that’s a whole other story…

Lastly, there was an unexpected lack of mentionable wildlife but that probably had to do with the size of our (animated) group.

If we did this trip again:
We’d definitely do this again! Next time we’ll just start earlier and lollygag less to make it down to Langlade.

***************
Related Information:
Wolf River I: Lily to Langlade
Wolf River II: County Road A to Lily
Article: Whitewater 101
General: American Whitewater
General: Riverfacts
Guide: Paddling Northern Wisconsin
Guide: Wisconsin Trail Guide
Outfitter: Bear Paw Resort
Wikipedia: Wolf River

Map:


Shuttle Information:

6.6 miles road and 6.8 by bike via the Wolf River State Trail (note: this is not ideal for road bike tires).

Miles Paddled Video:


Photo Gallery:

TAGS
RELATED POSTS
MILES TO DATE:

2374.50
HELLO
Miles Paddled documents canoe and kayak trips on rivers and creeks throughout Wisconsin.

Say Hello or Contribute
PADDLE REPORTS

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 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!