13 Best Paddles of 2013

13 Best Paddles of 2013We logged a serious amount of trips and miles this year so we thought it was worthwhile to look back on the season. Here, in no particular order, are 13 of our favorite canoe and kayak paddles from 2013.

1: Kinnickinnic River

River Falls to County Road F
River Falls, Wisconsin
August 11, 2013

A true wilderness river experience with zero development the entire way (and only one bridge, at the take-out) with crystal clear, riffly water, occasional easy rapids, spectacular cliffs, lush greenery and a gorge section toward the end, the “Kinni” is the real deal. The only problem? Lots of paddlers.

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Kinnickinnic River. . . . .

2: Little Platte River

Old Lancaster Road to County Road O
Platteville, Wisconsin
July 6, 2013

Combine the best of the Grant and Platte rivers and this is it – a little river with towering bluffs, cliffs, riffles, rapids, boulders, spectacular wildlife the entire trip and little development or roads nearby – what more can one ask for?

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Little Platte River

. . . . .

3: Milwaukee River

Estabrook Park to Discovery World
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
July 20, 2013

Beginning with an exhilarating three-foot-high ledge, followed by super-fun (and safe) Class I rapids, minnowy riffles and nothing but protected green space surrounding you, to the unique experience of urban paddling through downtown Milwaukee and its iconic “cream city” architecture towering above, to finishing with a mile of sea kayaking on Lake Michigan with splashy, billowy waves rollicking you this way and that, for sheer diversity, this trip can’t be beat.

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Milwaukee River

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4: Carroll Creek (Illinois)

Point Rock Park to Jacobstown Road
Mt. Carrol, Illinois
April 26, 2013

Take the stunning cliffs and curves of the Kickapoo River, the clear water and swiftness of Badfish Creek, the length, riffles and intimacy of Robinson Creek and you’ve got the best of all paddles, Carroll Creek.

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Carroll Creek

. . . . .

5: Pine River (Richland County)

Rockbridge to Richland Center
Rockbridge, Wisconsin
April 7, 2013

Paddle through a huge irregular rock formation, then wind along through the rolling hills of Richland County as you find one exposed rock outcropping after another.

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Pine River

. . . . .

6: Pecatonica River: East Branch

Hollandale to Blanchardville
Hollandale, Wisconsin
November 19, 2013

An exhilarating trip on a skinny river that sneaks its way around one bluff and then another, many of them topped with pine-crowned cliffs, pockmarked boulders and gorgeous sandstone. When not so dramatic, there are oak savannas and tallgrass prairies to take in, while below, the current on the river plugs away quite nicely with occasional riffles.

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Sister Bay to Garret Bay
Sister Bay, Wisconsin
September 29, 2013

An absolute gem of a sea kayaking experience on crystal-clear jade green waters, enormous bluffs with excellent rock formations, beautiful vistas and even a visible shipwreck right at the takeout, this trip will be enjoyed by beginner or experienced paddler alike.

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Lyndon Station to Wisconsin Dells
Lyndon Station, Wisconsin
October 13, 2013

Gorgeous sandstone bluffs, huge rock walls, labyrinthine islands, slot canyons, nooks, crannies, caves and tourist kitsch; this paddle just about has it all.

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Wisconsin River

. . . . .

9: Platte River

Platte Road to Big Platte Road
Harrison, Wisconsin
November 10, 2013

This segment, the crème de la crème of the Platte, is second to none with riffles and small rapids the entire stretch, sweeping bluff vistas and great rock outcroppings in the beautiful Driftless area of Wisconsin. You will not be bored nor disappointed.

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Haskins Park to Highway 113
Baraboo, Wisconsin
May 23, 2013

This very short trip down the muddy waters of the Baraboo offers a little excitement with its countless riffles and brisk current as it passes through its historic downtown and legendary museum grounds.

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Baraboo River

. . . . .

11: Embarrass River: South Branch

Highway 45 to County Road M
Shawano County, Wisconsin
August 25, 2013

A short and challenging but not totally intimidating segment of good whitewater in central Wisconsin, located between Waupaca and Stevens Point. This trip can be run twice or be done together with other whitewater sections of the main branch of the river nearby. Water level is everything on a segment like this. Too low, you will be scraping everywhere. Too high, the rapids could be quite nasty.

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Port Washington to Grafton
Port Washington, Wisconsin
October 20, 2013

Take one part jade green water, one perfect launching site, innumerable cool dunes, plus one hike-in gorge and you have the makings of one very fun sea kayaking paddle.

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Lake Michigan Port Washington

. . . . .

13: Black River

Black River Falls to Melrose
Black River Falls, Wisconsin
August 31-September 2, 2013

A taste of North Country in west central Wisconsin and only two hours away from either Madison or Wausau, this trip on the Black River offers endless miles of sandbars and islands, perfect for canoe or kayak camping. The highlights however, are the cliffs and box canyons to explore by foot.

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Black River
Related Reading:
Milespaddled.com’s 14 Best Paddles of 2014
Milespaddled.com’s 15 Best Paddles of 2015
Milespaddled.com’s 16 Best Paddles of 2016
Milespaddled.com’s 17 Best Paddles of 2017
Milespaddled.com’s 10 Best Paddles of 2018
Milespaddled.com’s 19 Best Paddles of 2019
Milespaddled.com’s 20 Best Paddles of 2020

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