Popple, Wisconsin, US
|Usual Difficulty||I-II (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||7 fpm|
|Max Gradient||10 fpm|
Above Cedar and NT Rapids the river is more intimate thus single-tree deadfalls and major “tanglewood” blockages are more likely. There are 13 sets of mostly low-gradient, rocky rapids (I-II) above NT Rapids (6 of 13 from MacArthur Pine to Hwy 139, 5 of 13 from New 139 to Twin River Rd, and 5 of 13 (plus NT Rapids) from Twin River Rd. to Newald Tower Rd). Between rapids the river is generally deep and floatable. Whitewater adventures are available with higher flows (probably over 3-400 cfs measured at the USGS station 25 miles downriver) but the remoteness, narrowness, and the tendency for river-wide deadfalls makes for an increasing level of risk or struggle the farther upriver one starts. Shuttle distances are not prohibitively long and gravel roads are usually acceptable for a bike-back option.
Twin River Rd to Newald Tower Rd is 5.8 miles of river and a shuttle distance of 6.7 miles. For several years there has been a growing obstruction between the 4th and 5th drops (of 8) in Holmes Rapids that requires a short but snarly drag-around on the right. The reward of this section is always NT Rapids.
Hwy 139 to Twin River Rd. is 7.1 miles of river and a shuttle distance of 5.1 miles. Half of the length of river in this stretch is through marshland. There is a massive tanglewood obstruction in the middle of McDougal Rapids that requires a 1,800 foot (river-left) portage, mostly through upland forests.
MacArthur Pine Rd. to Hwy 139 is 4.6 to 7.0 miles of river and a shuttle distance of 10-11 miles depending on where you take out. There is much potential for seriously dangerous strainers, down trees and challenging rapids. Ratings on the unnamed rapids are only a guess of what they might rate with adequate flows. This stretch has a massive beaver dam and a couple of smaller ones. Between Old 139 and the current Hwy 139 the river becomes braided and rocky, as it goes through a dense alder thicket that is not worth trying. End the trip in the town of Popple River at Old Hwy 139 or portage downriver to Hwy 139.
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|0.0||Drainage area: ~36.8 sq.mi.||N/A|
|0.2||Unnamed Rapids 1||I|
|0.4||Unnamed Rapids 2||II|
|1.0||Unnamed Rapids 3||II|
|2.7||Very Large Beaver Dam||N/A|
|3.1||Unnamed Rapids 4||II|
|4.2||Unnamed Rapids 5||II|
|4.3||Unnamed Rapids 6||II+|
|4.5||Old Hwy 139 Recommended Takeout||N/A|
|4.5||Start of barely penetrable Alder thicket||N/A|
|6.9||Hwy 139 Bridge||N/A|
|7.0||Landing (on left just after Hwy 139)||N/A|
|12.3||Camp Dock Rapids||II|
|13.0||Permanent Log Pile in McDougal Rapids||N/A|
|14.9||Twin Rivers Rd. Landing||N/A|
|15.5||Burnt Dam Rapids||II|
|15.7||Log Pile Across Burnt Dam Rapids||N/A|
|17.4||Old Podunk Dam Site||N/A|
|19.4||Suspension Bridge, Big Horn Hunting Club||N/A|
At the uppermost listed put-in, drainage area (as calculated by USGS StreamStats 4.0 beta software) is 36.8 square miles. This is roughly 1/4 the drainage at the gauge (Popple River, near Fence), thus flows here could be roughly 1/4th the gauge reading. Expect the gauge to lag flows up here on both rise and fall.
480 feet long
1,250 feet long
1/2 mile long
711 feet long
420 feet long
698 feet long
Earlier guides mention Railroad Rapids downriver from Old Hwy 139 but my experience is that from Old 139 to the old railway bridge (now rails to trails) is a long tangle of alders that requires more dragging of your boat than floating. I would recommend taking out at Old 139 and continueing from the Putin near Hwy 139
Hard going, with much dragging of your boat continues for much of the next 1.23 miles. No rapids exist between the end of the alder thicket and the Hwy 139 putin.
The parking lot for the landing is not directly off of Hwy 139 . It is off of National Forest Rd 2161, 130 feet east of Hwy 139. To get to this landing take the trail for 180 feet out of the back of the parking lot towards the river.
162 feet long
248 feet long. A long-hike(2.3 miles), emergency exit could be made from the camp dock (45.761476, -88.642352 on right after this rapids. The trail leads to a camp then then another camp then to Jaquet Rd. and Forest Rd 2162. Turn right on 2162 and keep walking to town of Newald if necessary.
300 feet long
Rapids are 1,963 feet long. There is at least one major log pile requiring a 1,800 foot portage (on left) without trail, mostly through upland forest
Rapids are a long, tight stretch (2,138 feet) of 8 separate rocky runs. Between the 4th and 5th run the river has been blocked by deadfalls for several years. Portage around the blockage is on the right, without trail, and is wading, and picking your way through a slightly flowing swamp/rocky land area.
Carry around is a no-trail, 50-foot bushwhack on right
At high water swifts or rapids may delvelop here in constrictions left by leftover embankments from the dam (actually the embankment is an esker from the last glacier)
Above and below this bridge, the river is prone to deadfalls of large Silver Maple Trees which may block passage at some flows but the current is generally not swift
332 feet long
1,121 feet long. Ends at takeout on right just past NT bridge