Tuesday, May 15, 2018

My top favorite online resources for kayaking and canoeing in Wisconsin

Wisconsin has a maze of rivers, creeks, streams, and a countless number of inland lakes. 

From the Loew Lake Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest to the clear waters of Hartman Creek State Park, all are just begging to be explored by kayak, canoe, or even stand-up paddleboard. Here are a few of my favorite resources I use when scouting-out a paddling adventure.

1. The Wisconsin DNR's "Water Trails in Wisconsin" website  which provides valuable information for both all the state parks, forests, recreation and natural areas you can go kayaking in, but also few of the designated state water trails, like the 523-mile Lake Michigan State Water Trail that weaves up the east coast of Lake Michigan, stopping at various state park properties all the way north up and around the Door peninsula and ending near Marinette on the Wisconsin/Michigan UP border. Check out the GIS map of it.

2. Our state's Department of Tourism website, TravelWisconsin.com has a super helpful water activities guide to kayaking, canoeing and SUPing (stand-up paddleboarding) that's also picture-heavy, which comes in handy when planning out trips.

3. Miles Paddled is an awesome, awesome blog site dedicated strictly to all-things paddling throughout Wisconsin. Read summaries of his trips along the water with detailed personal accounts filled with vivid writing, great photographs, interactive maps, and pretty much everything you need logistics wise to plan an outing with your kayak or canoe. Each post lists crucial facts like where you put-in and take-out, skill level, class (rapids type 1, 2, 3, etc.), water depth and more. I'd highly recommend starting here.

4. WisconsinRiverTrips.com is another valuable and reliable source to go to. Look at it as almost a TripAdvisor-type website for places to kayak in our lovely cheese and beer filled state. It's simple to read and navigate, with a growing list of places to paddle. Bright, detailed photos and HD videos from in the kayak or canoe, and plenty of solid information about everything you can expect when on the water: notable wildlife, hazards, shuttle options, and an interactive Google map with certain waypoints. The website also lists additional reference books you can purchase, and a library of sound tips related to buying a kayaking, navigating, and even how to take quality photos by adjusting your camera's many settings.