Scouts-L Mail Archive for October of 1998: Re: Flambeau River--Wisconsin
Re: Flambeau River--Wisconsin
Turba, Thomas N
Thu, 29 Oct 1998 15:21:35 -0500
> Has anyone out there canoed this river? We're thinking of doing it
> summer but have heard that some sections are a little rough for
I've been canoeing on the Flambeau river about six or eight times. It's
been a while, so I don't really remember how many times, but it's always
I've taken Scouts on it at least three times. This has always been on
the north fork of the river in the Flambeau River State Forest. I would
not recommend you take Scouts on the south fork of the river unless they
are very experienced and it does not matter if they wreck your canoes.
For the Scouts, I've always made it a three or four day trip and cover
about 40 miles of river. We normally put in at Nine Mile Creek and
canoe to the Flambeau River Lodge. (If you don't like lake canoeing,
you can take out a few miles before the lodge, but have to climb up a
hill with the canoes.)
Starting from Nine Mile Creek, the river is very easy. There are just a
few rapids that they have to navigate. We camp the first night at a
river-only accessible camp site. You have to bring your own water.
The next day the rapids increase, but are still fairly easy. That night
we normally stay at a campsite that is just south of where highway W
crosses the river. There is a lodge at W where you can replenish water.
It is close enough that you can canoe upstream in the morning for a
fresh supply before you take off the next day.
The only disadvantage of staying at this campsite is that you are close
to the road and have road noise. If it's a Friday or Saturday night,
there is also noise from the lodge. There are campsites further down
the river that are more isolated, but there is no water.
The next day there are more rapids and they increase in difficulty. We
normally canoe to Cedar Rapids, which is the best set of rapids for that
day. There is a campsite on an island in the middle of the river at
this point. That is normally where we spend the night.
The boys love running and rerunning the rapids. If you are not going to
camp there, I recommend you portage your gear before running the rapids.
If you don't, it'll probably all be wet. There is an easy trail on the
left side of the river.
The last day we start off from the south end of the island (we have in
effect portaged our gear while camping). Again, there are lots of nice
rapids that are fairly easy. The highlight of the day is Beaver Dam
Rapids. It's a 4-foot ledge you canoe over. Needless to say, you
portage your gear at this point too.
You can portage your canoes too, but there are normally so many people
that love to run these rapids that someone would do it for you if you
wanted them to. The boys often drag their canoes back for a second run.
There are only two places where you can really get through the rapids
without swamping or get tossed out of the canoe. It's fun watching
people shoot the rapids, you'll probably spend a couple of hours there
You must know what you are doing at Beaver Dam and Cedar Rapids. You
have to get out and spot these rapids. You should also have someone
with a lifeline at Beaver Dam in case someone gets caught in the
backwash below the ledge. You can't swim out unless you swim
underwater. Four people have died at Beaver Dam. All were because they
were not following proper procedures.
I hope the last comments don't scare you off. It's really a nice river.
It builds up slowly giving the boys confidence. It's really a fun trip.
There are bears in the woods in this area, so you should be prepared to
put food up at night.
There are many places in the area where you can rent canoes. They
charge you a fixed amount plus extra depending on the number of dents
you put in the canoes. I always bring along a couple of heavy mallets
that I leave in my vehicle at the take out point to fix dents.
T. N. T.
Thomas N. (Tom) Turba
ASM Troop 297 (Among other things)