This photo needs editing.
Difficulty II-III(V+)
Length 4.6 Miles
Gauge N/A
Flow Range
Reach Info Last Updated 12/04/2017 12:15 am

River Description

This really should be viewed as two individual runs: the 'upper' from Little Manitou Falls to Interfalls Lake, and the 'lower' from below (Big) Manitou Falls to the railroad trestle off of Station Road.

DO NOT paddle the section immediately below dam (and Hwy.35) as this is the lead in to Big Manitou Falls (165', not included in gradient figures). Portage on park trails to base of falls (perhaps a quarter-mile, but likely requiring significant scouting/reconnoitering in order to determine where to descent and resume river travel). And, by the way, while numerous sites list the height of Manitou Falls as 165', that figure (best I can tell from topo maps) seems to represent total drop from about the highway bridge to the end of the falls sequence, thus does NOT appear to be the actual height of any (the tallest) single vertical plunge.

SO ... breaking it into two runs:

The 'upper' is somewhat less than a mile of gradient (0.93 mile at something near 110 FPM) before the roughly half-mile paddle-out on Interfalls Lake. OR ... if you do NOT run Little Manitou, but put in below it, the remainder is about 45 FPM before the half-mile paddle-out.

The 'lower' is is about 3 miles at about 49 FPM, rather 'front loaded', with mile-by-mile gradients being 63, 48, and 35 FPM.

Rapid Descriptions

Drainage: 75.3 sq.mi.

Class - N/A Mile - 0
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Just above Little Manitou Falls (our listed put-in), drainage area is about 75.3 square miles (as calculated by USGS StreamStats 4.0 Beta software).

Little Manitou Falls

Class - N/A Mile - 0.01
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Falls is split (at least at some flows) by rock in the middle. Just downstream there is a bit more gradient before things calm for a while.

Additional description and photos may be seen at Go Waterfalling.

Significant drop

Class - N/A Mile - 0.1
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Just a tenth of a mile downstream (just around the bend), there is another significant drop worth looking at. Downstream, boulderbed rapids continue for a bit before action subsides.

Hairpin Falls

Class - N/A Mile - 0.6
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Just after a hairpin left-hooking turn in the river (where there may be a foot-bridge flanking the river ... or not), a ledge combination appears. Downstream, boulderbed rapids continue for a bit before action subsides as you approach the backwaters of Interfalls Lake.

To shorten your flatwater, you will probably wish to paddle across toward the beach area where you should park your shuttle vehicle if you are doing just this upper section.

Big Manitou Falls (PORTAGE!)

Class - V Mile - 1.46
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

If planning/attempting to continue downstream, you will paddle to the dam to get out and portage down park trails to below Big Manitou Falls in Pattison State Park, finding your way into the gorge as best you can. (Highly recommended to scout as much of this gorge as possible before carrying a boat in to attempt any run!)

Additional description and photos may be seen at Go Waterfalling.

Rocky Gorge

Class - N/A Mile - 2.05
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Downstream of Big Manitou Falls you will be in a deep gorge. Marked on maps a good half-mile downstream, it apparently has an official name as "Rocky Gorge". Oddly, at least as of this writing, when you zoom in on the map, the river from here down is incorrectly labeled "Nemadji River" rather than "Black River"

Minor Rapids

Class - N/A Mile - 3.52
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As you round a left-hand bend, some minor ledges or rapids will appear, and (up on the right) you may see some homes on courts off the corner where S.Manitou Valley Road becomes E.Manitou Valley Road.

Old Iron Bridge

Class - N/A Mile - 3.675
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

(Unknown if private or public.)

Cul de sac

Class - N/A Mile - 3.94
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Unknown if public or private. Permission may have to be sought/obtained.


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Directions Description

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Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1204086 01/28/15 Rob minor edit (adding features/waypoints)
1207723 06/14/17 Rob rework to give data as two sections
1208538 12/04/17 Rob minor edit
1196664 11/22/09 Rob Fix/remove dead links.
1192544 05/05/09 Rob n/a