Bois Brule River
★ ★ ★ ★

Bois Brule River II

By on September 30, 2016

Bois Brule Landing to Copper Range Landing
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

A fun, scenic trip that begins at one convenient state forest campground canoe launch and ends at another, with light rapids at each as well, this is probably the most ignored section of the Bois Brule River because it lacks the historic boathouses upstream or the whitewater and Lake Superior finish downstream, but it’s a perfectly splendid paddle in its own right.

September 6, 2016

Class Difficulty:
Class I

Brule: ht/ft: 1.92 | cfs: 195

Recommended Levels:
We recommend this level. Wisconsin Trail Guide provides a very useful chart that categorizes water levels for each section on the Brule. 125-200 is the lowest you’d be able to paddle (although, expect some scrapping at the low end).

Bois Brule Campground/Landing, Brule, Wisconsin
Copper Range Campground/Landing

Time: Put in at 12:20p. Out at 3:15p.
Total Time: 2h 55m
Miles Paddled: 10

Wildlife: Trout, blue-winged teals, deer, a bald eagle and several ravens.

The most popular section of the Bois Brule is followed by the least paddled section. Why? Probably for no other reason than the two middle children are bookended by two completely unique paddling opportunities that accommodate any skill level. And with the third middle child being such an overachiever with its whitewater attitude and all – it’s no wonder, this shy timid one, is last pick.

Indeed, this section is tame and flat(er) but that’s not neccesarily a bad thing. In fact, there’s an appeal in that to many.

What we liked:
The put-in at the Bois Brule campground landing is pretty much a paddler’s dream come true. You can drive right up to it, unload your gear, park nearby and it’s an effortless gravel lead-in to the water. The only caveat is your vehicle needs a state parks admission sticker (which is true for the take-out as well, at the other state forest campground). The setting here is as inviting as it gets: crystal clear water, tall woodsy banks, small boulders, swift current, the beckoning call of nearby rapids.

Once on the river, riffles and fun Class I rapids briskly whisk you past tall sandy banks lined by pine trees, an attractive stone wall, and then three bridges in succession 1.5 miles from the landing. The first and last are old railroad bridges, the middle is Highway 2 in the town of Brule. The latter of these is about 40’ tall and now part of an ATV trail.

After Highway 2 the river gets pretty kinky – in this sense meandering like it’s gone mad. For the next 7 miles it will bend every which way, which is good if you’re working on evening out your suntan, as you will face each cardinal direction several times. It’s bad if you’re in a hurry, however, as this is a fairly slow-going section of the river. There are no rapids in these 7 miles; it’s just one turn after another. There’s also a fair amount of strainers to maneuver around and duck under, which will slow one’s time. This section of the river is called “The Meadows,” where the predominant features are tall grasses and shrubs. (There are plenty of stretches with glorious pine-topped hills as well, some with very pretty eroded sand banks. It’s not all brushy!)

Eventually the current picks up again and will continue all the way to the take-out. These primarily are frisky riffles. The only notable rapid (still an easy Class I) is at the very end of this trip, about 40 yards upstream of the take-out, where the river makes a gorgeously sinuous S curve. This was a fun conclusion to a pretty trip.

Much of the Bois Brule is a renowned trout stream, but perhaps the single most popular section for anglers is this trip. To begin with, there are several deep holes already in the river itself, and of the popularized paddling trips on the river, this is the least visited. But if you’re in no particular hurry, whether you’re fishing or just floating, then this trip makes for a great lackadaisical day on the water.

What we didn’t like:
Considering how superlative the other segments of the Bois Brule River are, this one is the most “ordinary.” (Bear in mind, however, that “ordinary” in this sense is very relative. While it can be argued that this trip is the dullest section of the Bois Brule, it is still prettier and more interesting than many other rivers in the rest of the state. It’s just that the other trips on the Bois Brule are uniquely engaging in a way that this one isn’t, or at least isn’t as much.) The many meanders do get a bit tedious after some time, and less experienced paddlers probably would have some difficulties in the various strainers. We cleared out one that beforehand was just a wall of tree limbs and leaves with no passage whatsoever. None of the strainers was unsafe, but they could be considered a nuisance, especially in a canoe.

It wasn’t a particularly windy day when we paddled this, but the sound of the traffic along Highway 2 was constant for the first half of this trip – which is to say for 4-5 miles. In addition, you pass by a dozen or so houses on this trip, none the likes of the historic estates along the Stone’s Bridge to Winneboujou landings. Again, these are very minor “dislikes” in the grand scheme of things but for a river as vaunted as the Bois Brule, all of which is enclosed within 47,000 acres of state forest, these modern day distractions were a bit surprising.

We knew that this trip would be the slowest and least interesting section that all the Bois Brule has to offer, so our expectations were pretty low to begin with. But we had hoped that the oft-mentioned “Meadows” area would have been more alluring. It’s pretty, to be sure, but not really anything to go out of your way for.

One last word about the take-out. Like the Bois Brule Campground landing, the one at the Copper Range Campground extends directly from the river to a gravel lead-to. (We mention this because other official launches are not directly level with the water. Some have raised banks, a platform pier, or rocks – all easy for canoes but a little trickier for kayaks.) But unlike the first campground, the one at Copper Range is not as accessible once you’re off the water. For one, there’s a steep series of staircases leading up a hill to the campsites. For another, unless you’re already camping at one of those sites, there’s really no place to leave a vehicle here. We were camping at Copper Range, which is why used this canoe launch to end this trip (and to begin an earlier trip a couple days before).

But if you’re not camping at Copper Range, then it is advised to take out at the next access point, called Pine Tree Landing (also off County Road H), only half a mile downstream (plus you’ll be treated to a couple more light rapids along the way).

If we did this trip again:
Considering the allure of the other sections of the Bois Brule, returning to this one would be a tough sell. As we mentioned, it is very pretty in its own right – downright dazzling compared to the usual suspects in our own backyards in southern Wisconsin – but it’s definitely a B, whereas the other sections are all but flawless A’s. It’s a solid B, however. It would be interesting to see the landscape in spring, when carpeted in wildflowers, as well as autumn – even with the leaves fallen, the better to see the natural shape of the valley.

Related Information:
Bois Brule River I: Stone’s Bridge Landing to Bois Brule Landing
Bois Brule River III: Copper Range Landing to Highway 13
Bois Brule River IV: Highway 13 to Lake Superior
Bois Brule River V: Brule Glacial Spillway State Natural Area
Miles Paddled Video:
Bois Brule River I: Stone’s Bridge Landing to Bois Brule Landing
Miles Paddled Video:
 Bois Brule River III: Copper Range Landing to Highway 13
Miles Paddled Video:
 Bois Brule River IV: Highway 13 to Lake Superior
 Wisconsin DNR
Guide: Wisconsin Trail Guide
Guide: Paddling Northern Wisconsin by Mike Svob
Outfitter: Brule River Canoe
Overview: Midwest Weekends
Video: Morrall River Films
Wikipedia: Bois Brule River


Shuttle Information:
The shuttle is pretty much a straight shot, but keep in mind that County Road H has no shoulder for bicyclists and the road itself is pretty rough (though paved).

Photo Gallery:


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!