Anyone ever day paddle the Bark River WI (south central)? Would like to take out in or near Fort Atkinson. Looking for “normal” water levels as in enough to float a canoe.
Paddling the Bark
It is a fine little river, with nice migratory birds come late March early April (saw pelicans last year). There is a nice put in at County N at the little “Burnt Village County Park.” From there it is about 6 miles to the Rock and less than a mile downstream to the takeout river right, just past the bridge. The Bark is particularly useful in hot/drought years because it is strongly spring fed, so it keeps its flow and cool temperature. It is a wonderful family paddle, very placid. You can also put in further east, towards Oconomowoc. Mike Svob does a good write up in his “Paddling Southern Wisconsin” book; if you don’t have it, get one at Rutabaga (or Canoecopia) asap. In Fort Atkinson, be sure to visit Kim Grunow’s Rock River Canoe Company (only a block from the takeout) where they specialize in helping folks build cedar strip canoes and kayaks. Some beautiful boats there!
I too paddle the Bark, but I do so much nearer to Oconomowoc. Fun little river, runs through several lakes where I paddle it. During dry summers, the river can get too shallow to paddle in this area. It’s wider and deeper in the area that the original poster mentioned.
Picked up a copy of Paddling Southern WI. The Bark looks like it will be on our list of places to paddle. Sounds pretty nice for this area. We usually paddle the Sugar River north of Brodhead but it can get pretty low in certain stretches at times. We are only 15 minutes from put in at the Sugar though. The Bark sounds similar only with more water.
Iv’e paddled the bark many times
I have found it is best to launch from Princes Point on D just a few miles outside of Whitewater. You will be paddling with the current towards Fort Atkinson and the Rock River. You can pull out earlier at N which I would guess to be a little farther than half way to the Rock. If you paddled all the way to the Rock River you paddle south going under a bridge and on the right hand side you will see a public boat launch where you can pull out. There is one fork on the river where the Whitewater branches off. Stay to the right. The Whitewater river is very narrow and full of snags or strainers.I have never had a problem with the water level on the Bark heading south. If you plan to paddle north from Princes Point plan on hitting a few snags and lower water levels in some spots.
About how long timewise is it from Princes Point to Fort? Leisurely paddling speed in canoe.
The last time I paddled to the Rock
It took about three and a half hours. Depending on when you go it might take more or less depending on the current. I will be paddling there as soon as the ice is gone so I can give you a more accurate time.
It will be strange indeed not having to contend with ice/snow after this winter. I checked on the Sugar River yesterday and it was flowing freely but fairly high water.
I have been spending all my free time cross country skiing. I really haven’t noticed if the Bark is open yet. Though I did notice that the Fox was open all this winter. Including those days it was sub zero.
First time on the Bark
I am a beginner when it comes to kayaking. I have been out a few times on the lake since the ice came off. Will I have any trouble putting in at Princess Point and making the run to Fort Atkinson? I have been on the water and canoeing all of my life. Anything I should know about before I make plans to do this with another inexperienced friend?