This photo needs editing.
Difficulty I-II
Length 4.45 Miles
Gauge N/A
Flow Range
Reach Info Last Updated 07/12/2019 1:52 pm

River Description

Southwest Wisconsin (the area around La Crosse, in the counties of La Crosse, Vernon and Monroe) is commonly called "The Coulee Region". Erosion has divided the area into narrow ridges and steep-sided valleys called coulees,  from the French verb "couler," meaning to flow.

With all its rolling terrain, any boater with any imagination who has driven through or looked at it on topographic maps would have to surmise "There MUST be some good whitewater here!" Unfortunately, there are serious downsides of all that steep coulee terrain. By its nature, it fractures the watersheds into such small subdivisions that where there is gradient, there is not generally much drainage area. By the time there is decent drainage area, you are in the 'bottom lands' where there is not much gradient. Being such smaller drainages, they have very little flow most of the year, thus are likely to have much overhanging or encroaching shrubbery, deadfall, and snags.

All that said, the Bad Axe is one drainage which (beyond its suggestive and colorful name) appears to have some promise. The gradient appears to be spread quite evenly, and (without encountering any significant bedrock or narrows) the result is mostly 'swiftwater' with few true whitewater features. Doing a 'flyover' (via satellite views) suggests this section is fairly 'open' (I.E., not running through too much wooded area), so deadfall and snags may not be as much a problem as otherwise might be expected for such a small watershed area.

Rapid Descriptions

Drainage Area: 28.7 square miles

Class - N/A Mile - 0
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
Drainage just below CTH.Y and the dam is ~28.7 square miles. By our listed take-out, it has increased to 57.4 square miles (exactly double!).

A video of a trip which used different start and end points, but should be generally quite representative of this run is available on YouTube:


No Gage

Gage Descriptions

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports






Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1213290 07/12/19 Rob updated name
1213289 07/12/19 Rob n/a