Difficulty I-II
Length 99.5 Miles
Gauge NAMEKAGON RIVER AT LEONARDS, WI
Flow Range 90 - 500 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 4 days ago ~ 128 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 04/01/2019 10:06 pm

River Description


The Namekagon was designated as one of the original 8 Wild and Scenic Rivers in 1968 as part of the St. Croix Wild and Scenic River. This major tributary of the St. Croix has been a recreational destination for more than a century and remains popular for day trips and multi-day journeys through Wisconsin's Northwoods. Trips begin as high up as the Namekagon Dam. The communities of Cable, Seeley, Hayward, and Trego are located along the river which largely follows Highway 63 and then Highway 77. Formal access points are provided every few miles at bridge crossings and parks along the river, some of which provide overnight camping. Despite the number of access points that make it easy to customize a trip to fit your skills and time avaialable, the river still retains its wild character. Along the river designated camp sites (small 8 person sites and large 16 person sites) serve river runners with fire rings and pit toilets. The available campsites can get full on summer weekends.
 
Most use open canoes for trips on the river and while much of the run is flatwater there are some easy class II rapids that require manuvering. The river is administered by the National Park Service which provides additional information on rules and regulations along with detailed maps and advice on how to enjoy your trip:
 
 
The main sections of the river include the following:
 
1) Namekagon Dam to Hayward Landing (33.4 miles)
 
Namekagon Dam to Cable Wayside (13.5 miles, class I)
The river here is narrow and shallow with stretches of rocky rapids. Water levels can be extremely low and impassable during dry conditions. From Phillipi Landing (river mile 88.6) to Cable Wayside (river mile 86.0) water levels tend to be slightly better. The first ten miles of this stretch are isolated; expect numerous beaver dams, strainers (downed trees), and three low bridges. 
 
Cable Wayside to Phipps Landing (11.5 miles, class I)
This section may be challenging during times of low water. Downstream from Cable Wayside (river mile 86.0) the river is calm, but shallow and rocky. It is usually possible to get a canoe under the low bridge at Leonard Schoolhouse Road (river mile 84.7), but there is also a portage to the right. A chute
at the old Pacwawong Dam site (river mile 82.2) can be canoed during high water or look for a portage to the right. Watch out for stainers. In several places there are many channels around islands. Downstream from Larsen Landing (river mile 77.8) the river is rocky with several small rapids.
 
Phipps Landing to Hayward Landing (8.4 miles, flatwater sections that includes a couple reservoirs)
As you enter Phipps Flowage (river mile 74.4), the river is slow with the channel becoming deep and wide. At the old Phipps Dam site (river mile 72.8), you can usually run the rapids or look for the sign to portage right. From Trout Run Landing (N72.0) to Hospital Road (river mile 69.8) you my encounter large groups of people on tubes. Hayward Lake (river mile 68.0) is large and open, making paddling difficult during a strong headwind. At the end of the lake, you must portage (on left) the dam. Be careful as the portage is sometimes slippery.
 
2) Hayward to Trego (28.8 miles)
 
Hayward Landing to Big Bend Landing (21.1 miles, class I/II)
After Hayward Landing (river mile 66.1) the river is rocky and narrow, with a few small rapids, but a few miles downstream the river becomes sandy and slow. Water levels are usually good. Just downstream from Stinnett Landing (river mile 57.7) the river narrows forming a chute. As you continue downstream the river quickens with many Class I rapids. Watch for the main channel, smaller channels may be shallow or blocked. Downstream of Springbrook Landing (river mile 49.9), the river is mostly calm with a few small riffles and rapids.
 
Big Bend Landing to Lakeside Road Landing (7.7 miles, class I)
After Big Bend Landing (river mile 45.0) the river widens, slows, becomes sandy, and is an easy paddle. Earl Park Landing (river mile 41.3) is a popular put-in spot for people on tubes on hot summer days. Downstream, the river becomes narrow, often breaking into channels with a few rapids.
 
3) Trego to St. Croix Riverside Landing (37.3 miles)
 
Lakeside Road Landing to County Road K Landing (5.7 miles, flatwater reservoir)
Shortly after the Lakeside Road Landing (river mile 37.3) the river passes under Highway 53 and then there are five miles of slow paddling through the Trego Flowage (river mile 36.5). Be aware of wakes from fast moving boats. Once through the flowage there will be a sign for the required portage (on right) around the Trego Dam (river mile 31.6). 
 
County Road K Landing to Howell Landing (14.3 miles, class I/II)
Many river trips on the Lower Namekagon begin here below the Trego Dam. Downstream of County Road K Landing (river mile 31.2) the river is narrow and contains riffles. Islands and sandbars are frequently encountered, however, water levels are usually good. After Whispering Pines Landing (river mile 21.3) the river widens and slows. 
 
Howell Landing to the confluence (16.9 miles, class I/II)
Howell Landing (river mile 16.9) is a park with a big open field and plenty of space for groups (on busy weekends you will likely encounter several groups here). Many groups will just car camp here for a weekend and do day trips on different sections. Downstream of Howell Landing the river is somewhat rocky until you pass Highway 77, then it becomes sandy. Fritz Landing (river mile 13.7) can be hard to see. Watch for a small island and use the left channel if taking out here. The river widens after McDowell Bridge Landing (river mile 11.2). After Namekagon Trail Landing (river mile 4.8) the river becomes rockier with riffles and there are several Class I rapids before the confluence. The St. Croix River has a rocky bottom and is shallow, making it challenging during low water conditions. There are more rapids as you approach Riverside Landing (St. Croix River Mile 131.7) which is approximately 4 miles downstream of the Namekagon confluence with the St. Croix.

Rapid Descriptions

County Road M Landing

Class - N/A Mile - -92.6
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Cap Creek Landing

Class - N/A Mile - -91.9
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Phillipi Bridge Landing

Class - N/A Mile - -88.5
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Cable Wayside and Landing

Class - N/A Mile - -86
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Gage Location

Class - N/A Mile - -84.7
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
Drainage area 126 square miles, Gage elevation: 1,275'.

Pacwawong Flowage Landing

Class - N/A Mile - -82.5
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Thompson Bridge Landing

Class - N/A Mile - -82.2
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Larsen Landing

Class - N/A Mile - -77.8
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Phipps Landing

Class - N/A Mile - -74.5
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Trout Run Landing

Class - N/A Mile - -72
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Eagles Landing

Class - N/A Mile - -70
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Last access point before slackwater of Hayward Resevoir.

Hayward Landing

Class - N/A Mile - -66.1
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Access point downstream of Hayward Dam.

West River Landing

Class - N/A Mile - -58.3
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Stinnett Landing

Class - N/A Mile - -57.7
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Groat Landing

Class - N/A Mile - -55
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

North Springbrook Landing

Class - N/A Mile - -52.5
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Springbrook Landing

Class - N/A Mile - -49.9
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Big Bend Landing

Class - N/A Mile - -45
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Earl Park Landing

Class - N/A Mile - -41.3
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Lakeside Road Landing and Visitor Center

Class - N/A Mile - -37.3
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

River access on river right where the slackwater of Trego Reservoir begins and Namekagon River Visitor Center on river left.

Trego Town Park Landing

Class - N/A Mile - -36.8
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

This is the access point at the upstream end of Trego Reservoir.

County Road K Landing

Class - N/A Mile - -31.2

Put-in immediately downstream of Trego Dam. From this point down to the St. Croix the river is free-flowing with no more dams.

Whispering Pines Landing

Class - N/A Mile - -21.3

Howell Landing

Class - N/A Mile - -16.9

Howell Landing and West Howell Landing are on river right and river left respectively and both provide camping for large groups (expect multiple groups on busy weekends).

Fritz Landing

Class - N/A Mile - -13.7

McDowell Bridge Landing

Class - N/A Mile - -11.2

Namekagon Trail Landing

Class - N/A Mile - -4.8

Riverside Landing (St. Croix)

Class - N/A Mile - 0
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Standard take-out for runs on the lower Namekagon is Riverside Landing which is approximately 4 miles dowstream of the point where the Namekagon joins the St. Croix.

Comments

Gage Descriptions

'Minimum Recommended Flow' is currently set at the '10% flow' (170 cfs). River is certain to be paddleable at levels lower than this, but areas of rapids may become scrapey.
'Maximum Recommended Flow' is currently set solely to indicate levels 'above the norm' (500 cfs). River is certain to be paddleable at levels higher than this, but may be a bit 'pushy' for beginner/novice whitewater paddlers.

Using USGS gage data for period from 1996-03-01 through 2009-04-05:
Drainage area at gauge: 126 square miles
10% flow = 170 cfs
Maximum daily mean flow (2001.04.24) 856 cfs
Minimum Daily Mean Flow (2007.08.18) 33 cfs

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.

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Thomas O'Keefe

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Matt Muir

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1208560 12/08/17 Thomas O'Keefe photos added
1208559 12/08/17 Thomas O'Keefe additional description added for entire river, access points mapped
1208562 12/08/17 Thomas O'Keefe gage edits
1211626 04/01/19 Thomas O'Keefe updated image position
1192096 04/06/09 n/a n/a