Paddling at U of W Madison?

Anyone paddled the lake beside University of Wisconsin at Madison? I’m being nominated for a degree program there, and, if accepted will be heading to Madison sometime in August. Outfitters near campus? Campus boats available for student use? It’s a distance learning program, so I would only have to spend a week there for a sort of orientation.

Call and talk to some of the folks there. They can help.

shouldn’t you
be doing your homework instead?

Has plenty of good paddling. There are two big outfitters in town - Rutabaga on the south side, and The Paddlin shop, which is closer to the campus. ( or

Easier still, the UW has a club called “Hoofers”, and you should be able to rent all kinds of outdoor gear from them. You can check them out at:

Click on their “Outing Club” link, and you’ll find canoe and kayak info. They have sailboat and kayaks available in the back of the Memorial Union (at least they used to).

Have fun! It’s a great school, a beautiful campus, and a really fun town for outdoor activities! The lake next to campus is actually one lake in a chain of five. Lots to explore!


From my daughter, a recent UW grad:

“It’s called Hoofers, and the website is Also, there are canooes available for renting just right at the Memorial Union, and it’s quite cheap. You may have to have a Union Membership, but you can get guest passes as well. That’s all I’ve got for now!”

Hope you enjoy your time there.

cYa, Jim

Thank You!
Thank you all for the information. That Hoofers club looks excellent. Makes me want to turn career student and relocate to Madison. Except maybe the water up there freezes in winter?

Again, Thnaks,


Hard Water
Yes the water “up here” freezes, although this year it was much later than usual.

Madison really rocks as a city. I live 50 miles east and my son lives in Madison so I’m there several times a year. Madison is routinely named one of the best places to live in the country.

As noted by other posters you’ll have no problems renting a yak in Madison.

Good luck

The lakes don’t freeze anymore, the last few years!

Madison is good for paddling (not as good as Lake Superior, but that’s 5 hours away). Lakes Mendota, Wingra, Monona, and Waubesa surround the city, and they’re all connected by rivers and locks, so you can paddle from to another for days. The Wisconsin River is an hour away, and it’s one of the great paddling rivers in the midwest, with over 100 miles of wild flowing river (you can camp on all the islands for free because it’s a state recreation area). Lake Michigan is just over an hour away.

Hoofers is a good paddling club, and Mad City Paddlers goes on good trips too:

Have fun! From campus, you can paddle almost anywhere without leaving your boat, and Picnic Point is a nice break after class.

I was just standing on Mendota last week
I sure hope it was frozen. Otherwise I’ll have to start a new church.

With a few hours of lessons (mandatory) you can join the Hoofers Outing Club for less than $50/yr and use all the touring, WW and trick boats you want for minimal fees.

They take a lot of weekend trips as well.

Can’t speak for the Paddlin’ Shop, but Rutabaga is one of my all time favorite stores. Great place.

Be sure to check out Great Dane, Capitol, New Glarus and Huber breweries. If you are moving to Wisconsin, you better like beer.

Wisconsin Beer. Yum. Smuggled a sampler 12 pack of New Glarus brews back to CA in my suitcase when I went home at Christmas. mmmmm…

Why do beer distribution regulations have to suck so much?