Milwaukee River Paddling

Milwaukee River
Lime Kiln Park to Theinsville Village Park (10 mile stretch)

Late Fall Paddling Milwaukee River. Photo by Abi Pufahl

  • Put in at asphalt canoe landing in Lime Kiln Park (river right). There is an old dam just upstream that is immediately followed by an island. The canoe landing is in the riffly right channel of this island.
  • After put-in there are rock formations on both sides for a while. For almost half a mile the river flows through a series of wooded islands where you must CAREFULLY choose the channels with the most water and least brush. The water is quite riffly here. After the islands, the river widens to about 80 feet, and riffles continue over sand-and-gravel bottom.
  • The current slackens and riffles become infrequent near the County T bridge. In the first left bend after T, Cedar Creek enters on the right. Cedar Creek used to have 5 dams and mills in the 1800s. The village of Cedarburg and its nearby covered bridge (the only original covered bridge left in the state) are quiet popular with tourists, shoppers, and history buffs.
  • Downstream, tall wooded bluffs appear on the right and large boulders are found along the shoreline. A long right bend leads to County C, where there is a series of pleasant riffles. After County C the river flattens and deepens and a sizable, wooded island is located where the river turns sharply to the right. Limestone is along the right shoreline periodically as the river approaches Highland Road bridge.
  • After Highland Road, the river is rather wide with cabins and docks along the sides for a while. Trees are still plentiful. In a big right bend, the river narrows and passes a couple of nature preserves, then a huge shallow bay on the left. Bending sharply left, the river widens again at a large island.
  • Just downstream from the island is the Mequon Villa Grove Park where you can use the river-right boat ramp for an alternate take-out point. (the park is off Freistadt Road)
  • After Villa Grove Park, the river widens again and houses are more frequent. Buoys and warning signs soon indicate approach of the Thiensville Dam. Just upstream from the dam is a rock wall alongside the village park. Take out is 75ft upstream right from the dam at a concrete boat ramp. There is a large parking lot attached.

For a shorter trip:

  • Put-in at Thiensville Village Park on the concrete boat launch.
  • Paddle upstream to Highland Road bridge, and then turn around and mosey on back to your put-in point for take out.  This would be a paddle of just under 8 miles.
  • This paddle will be done on May 7th by The FV Yakkers.


Milwaukee River Paddling Map

Milwaukee River Photos courtesy of Abi Pufahl

A flock of geese over the Milwaukee River.

Blue Heron wading along the shores of the Milwaukee River.

Late Fall paddle on the Milwaukee River.

Abi and Jason enjoying a day on the Milwaukee River.

Have you paddled on the Milwaukee River? Do you have any tips or memories you would like to share?

2 thoughts on “Milwaukee River Paddling

    • You are welcome Jane. Thank Abi for getting me the information. From Abi’s pictures the Milwaukee River looks very pretty. It should be a nice outing.


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