I am going camping for a week in Perrot State Park in Wisconsin. It is just north of LaCrosse. Does anyone know of any kayak launch sites? I want to paddle the Mississippi and Lacrosse Rivers.
There are many
First, check out p-net. Put your cursor on the "Go Paddling" button at the top of the page, and click "Launch Sites Map". Zoom-in to the part of the map that interests you.
On the LaCrosse River, one popular trip starts at either the dam for Neshonoc Lake, or a few miles downstream of there at Veterans Memorial Park, where Highay 16 crosses the river. The trip ends at Riverside Park in LaCrosse. I've never done the trip, but it's written up in guidebooks. As you can see from the map on P-net, there are other access points on this river too.
The most interesting paddling on the Mississippi, in my opinion, is in the backwaters. Consult any good online map and you'll see good opportunities for exploring miles of maze-like channels. Motorboat launch sites are very common, and you can't drive near the river without seeing signs pointing the way to them, but again, the P-net launch-site map is there for you.
The beauty of small boats is that you don't actually need a launch site. Any road bridge or similar non-private land is fair game. When it comes to smaller rivers, I only use developed launch sites about half the time.
Since you will be at Perot, I'll tell you that there are one or two backwater areas of the Mississippi very close to Perot that are on my to-do list. One is the Whitman Swamp, officially known as the Whitman Dam State Wildlife Area. It's just a few miles upstream of Fountain City, which is a very short drive from Perot Park. Merrick State Park is right on the edge of this area. The other place that might be interesting is the junction of the Black River with the upper end of Lake Onalaska on the Mississippi. The Black River once made its way all the way to Lacrosse before joining the Mississippi, but the dammed-up lake intercepted the Black River many miles upstream, and there are some interesting backwater channels there.
Thank you so much for all the info. I will definitely check out the P-net maps.
Here is a nice write up on a Trempeleau River trip in that area.
We are heading there mid July.