Top 10 SE Wisconsin waters

We re going this weekend to Wisconsin and would like to get recommendations regarding some great lakes or rivers near Milwaukee. Please any suggestions would be welcome.

The Fox
Nice clear river - access below Phantom Lake near Muckguanigo (Sp?). I missed the chance to paddle it last Sunday but have waded/fished it. Any river that supports (endangered in WI.) starhead topminnows is a good river. :slight_smile:

Some rivers for you…
First, if you can get a copy of Mike Svob’s “Paddling Southern Wisconsin” your planning will be easier. Here are a couple of nearby favorites of ours: The Milwaukee River is a surprisingly nice piece of water. Go to and check out the link for the Milwaukee River Water Trail. The put-in at Lincoln Park, just south of Silver Spring Drive, will allow you to paddle the 6-7 miles right into downtown (after a well-marked portage around the Estabrook Dam and Falls.) There is even an easy take out at a brew pub right downtown. If you’d like, you can keep going right into Lake Michigan. About 20-30 miles northwest there is plenty of paddling on the various branches of the Milwaukee. We’re partial to the 8 miles from Newburg to Waubeka in the North Branch. Another favorite is the Ocononmowoc River, right out of downtown Ocononomowoc to a take out at North Side Drive. I’d guess that’s a little over 10 miles. In addition to the Riverkeeper site, you might try This is the site for the River Alliance of Wisconsin. While they are primarily an advocacy and environmental action group (and a really effective one, with more than 3000 members), they have a number of blogs and trip descriptions that might help you out. Paddle on!

To add to that
Two great stretches on the rivers mentioned above are the Oconomowoc River, from the put in on Highway Q just east of Highway E North to Lowe Lake and back (about 3 miles each way) and the Milwaukee River in Mequon is very nice.

I generally put in at Villa Grove Park next to the Mequon Country Club (Freistadt Rd). You can paddle down to the dam at Thiensville and/or up river quite a ways.

These both have very little current to deal with and are quite scenic.

I can think of …
… at least one pretty darn Great Lake near Milwaukee :slight_smile:

As for inland lakes, there is a large chain of lakes about 30 minutes west of Milw. on I-94, near Delafield, WI. I’ve only paddled Upper and Lower Lakes Nemahbin, so cannot comment on the rest, but it was quite nice, with very clean, clear waters.

I also suggest you check out the recommended paddling places at the Southern Wisconsin Paddlers’ site:

Good Luck!


Mukwonago river
The river you are talking about is the Mukwonago River, which feeds into the Fox River. The Mukwonago River is shallow and clear with many endangered species present. There is also a new launch site off of Holz Pkwy.