I’ll be in the Dells, work related, next week. Where could I put in for a late afternoon paddle? 18 foot sea kayak, no white water please. Must put in and take out in same place, so no fast currents. Next Wednesday any locals like to join me?
Not sure of the road name, but right in the heart of Tourist hell is the seperation of upper and lower Dells. You will see a power station and large dam.
You can put in there at a boat launch and paddle downstream on the lower dells. A short mile down you will see what is left of Lake Dalton that drained and took a few homes with it last year. I assume by now it has been repaired and is being refilled. Might still see parts of houses in the water.
I was there the week it happened and the water was high and current a tad strong. Getting back to the launch you will need to ferry the currnet from the dam, but it was not that hard.
It was very worth it.
Try this trip:
Put in on the back channel of Blackhawk Island. Go upstream to the main channel, and once you get there, keep going upstream as far as you like (about a mile or so upstream the river opens up into a big lake, because this whole area is dammed-up). When you've gone as far as you want to, go back downstream, but this time stay to the left and take the main channel around Blackhawk Island. On the downstream side of Blackhawk Island the river gets a lot wider again, and there's a big sandbar on your right. That's the tail of Blackhawk Island, so go around the back side of that, follow the back channel upstream (the current is very slow in the back channel) to your original launch site.
Points of Interest
All of the area around Blackhawk Island is sandstone cliffs, with pines on the sunny side and hemlocks on the shady side - it has a very northwoodsy look.
A short distance upstream of Blackhawk Island, on your right as you go upstream, is a tiny canyon with an entrance you could easily overlook. It's worth going in to get a partial glimpse of what the Dells would be like if they had never built that dam (several of these little canyons were lost forever, and the ones that are left are only partly visible and now filling with sand).
Near the downstream end of Blackhawk Island on the right side of the main channel, is a carving on the cliff put there by a guy who either piloted lumber rafts through the Dells or was an early exploiter of tourists, I'm not sure which. Try to imagine how he carved his name there when the water was 20 feet lower than it is now!
How to Get There
Take Highway 12 & 16 northwest out of town. At the first main road you come to, turn right. That should be Highway N. Go north and northwest on Highway N until the back channel of the river is right alongside the road, and you are there (total driving distance on Hwy N is less than 2 miles).
did the doctor say? (about this plan)HMMM
Guideboatguy recommends a good day paddle on the Upper Dells. Here’s a route map: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=2736503
Looks like about 6.5 miles roundtrip, and I’ve included a little sidetrip into Witches Gulch, a nice spot for a break.
The upper section of this route, and the trip down thru the Narrows, is some of the most beautiful and authentic Dells scenery, with a few side gulches to explore. Be careful, though, of motorboat traffic, esp. in the narrow sections, as you’ll get some wakes and chop.
Because you’re starting out paddling UPstream, if you get tired, it’s a simple matter to turn around and drift/paddle back DOWN to the car.
The wintertime shots here are from this area:
Devil’s Lake is not too far from the Dells - one exit South, maybe? Nice place to paddle.
Mirror Lake State Park is also nice - I haven’t paddled there, but it looked nice enough.
upper dells or devils lake
I just posted a bunch of pictures from the upper dells http://www.kayakquixotica.com/little-photo-galleries/wisconsin-dells/
For Devil’s Lake visit http://www.devilslakewisconsin.com. This is a nice place to paddle but the lake is only about 3.6 miles around so don’t plan on doing distance…