Brunet Island State Park is one of those special little northern Wisconsin gems. Located on the Chippewa River, the park sits between two dams on the Cornell Flowage where the river is slower and flatter, offering more of a quietwater paddling experience. Along with the lagoons, channels, and islands within and around the park, there’s much more to explore on the flowage itself. The main appeal, however, is being able to paddle right up to one of the many campsites on the northern end of the island. A scenic setting with great wildlife and hiking too, Brunet is a wonderful and easy paddle-camp option.
Paddling Style: Flatwater Paddling
Best Suited For: Canoes + Kayaks
Camping Location: Riverside
Availability: Reservable Designated Campground Sites
Paddle-in: No | Walk-in: Yes
Camping Fee: Yes | Camping Permit: No
There are two campgrounds that overlook two lagoons within the park. Paddle-campers will want to choose the North Campground. While there is a designated place to moor your boat at the South Campground, many of the 45 sites at the North Campground allow for mooring them right up to your campsite or near direct access to the water. The South Campground offers electricity at 24 sites, but the North Campground is all non-electric, which is kind nice because it does reduce any noise from generators, etc. It should be notably quieter and far more appealing for quietwater paddle-camp adventurers.
Paddling Brunet Island State Park:
Brunet Island sits within the five-mile(ish) stretch between the Cornell and Holcombe dams. Surrounding the island are many channels, undeveloped islands, and quiet lagoons that quietwater paddlers will love. Other adventures include a three-mile paddle north to Holcombe dam where there’s a picnic-perfect public island managed by the Bureau of Land Management to visit. Or you could choose to paddle up Fisher River alongside the Jean Brunet Woods State Natural Area for a there-and-back daytrip diversion. Do note that water levels are impacted by dam releases which can change the experience, in particular, the southern end of the flowage which can be bumpy in low water.
Cornell Canoe & Kayak