Red Cedar River Paddling

Red Cedar River Overview

Information written by Nick of Winding Rivers Canoeing

The Red Cedar River meanders through western Wisconsin for approximately 85 miles from Rice Lake until it reaches the Chippewa River. The Red Cedar is a great destination for both novice and experienced paddlers as it offers beautiful scenery as you twist and turn passing sandstone bluffs, unspoiled forests, and abundant wildlife.

The northern stretches of the Red Cedar are wide and shallow with many islands while south of Menomonie the river widens further and deepens until it reaches the Chippewa River. If you are paddling south of Tainter Lake it is best to paddle in spring due to the very high algae count that exists throughout the summer and fall. However, there is sufficient water all year to paddle the Red Cedar if you choose to do so. The Red Cedar has numerous boat landings making it easy to find a good section for you to paddle.

The Red Cedar is almost all flat water except for right below the dam in Menomonie where there are a few class I-II drops.. It is suitable for all paddle craft.

The following are the put ins/take outs south of the dam at Menomonie.

  • Riverside Park (Menomonie, WI)
  • Irvington Landing – About 3 miles from Riverside Park
  • Hwy 25 (Downsville, WI)  About 8-9 miles from Riverside Park
  • Dunnville Bottoms Boat Landing – About 15 miles from Riverside Park


Red Cedar River – Below the dam in Menomonie


Red Cedar River – In Menomonie looking south


About the Author

Nick is an ACA River Canoeing Instructor and the owner of Winding Rivers Canoeing. At Winding Rivers Canoeing Nick focuses on safe paddling practices and giving newcomers the skills to enjoy paddling on their own. Nick has paddled throughout North America and extensively in Wisconsin. He enjoys paddling whitewater but is happy whenever he can get out on the water and enjoy the serenity of our rivers.

2 thoughts on “Red Cedar River Paddling

  1. Thanks for the article. Some friends and I are interested in taking a canoe / kayak trip to Red Cedar River. We would ideally like to find some rapids to go through and perhaps bring our camper. Do you know of a good place we could go on the river. Thanks for your help!


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