Removal of three dams has restored this stretch (formerly known as the "Baraboo Rapids") to free-flowing.
Generally gentle gravel-bed rapids in a wide, shallow riverbed may provide some local entertainment at the right flows. Specifically, the best rips (that I'm aware of) occur:
(1) at the put-in (within sight right upstream of Hwy.12),
(2) at the former "Oak Street Dam" site, where some minor playable waves form up, and
(3) near the Circus World Museum.
All may be viable as individual park-and-play sites, or the full reach may be enjoyed as a pleasant swiftwater 'splishy-splash' run for local novice boaters. (At the levels I have looked here, I have not seen anything which would appear to merit very far a drive for serious whitewater play boaters, but ....)
There is a very scenic longer reach upstream of the described reach which would make a pleasant flatwater float trip. This has been detailed in published canoe guidebooks.
Fun fact: Boat thru Circus World Museum property!
Since most of what lies downstream (to the listed take-out) is lesser gradient, many may prefer to take out here.
Concur with Varun's comments. Add that at 375 cfs it's still a fun run of minor rapids with a better rapid at the Ash/Walnut bridge but I wouldn't want to go at levels too much lower than that.
Ran it today at 1300 CFS was at probably the upper limit of good flows. Have run it a bunch of times last year at flows ranging from 400-100 CFS. ~800 CFS is when the river gains are honest whitewater character. So best flows are 800-1300 CFS. Lower level is ~ 300-400 CFS.
Also, there is an alternate take out point at the Circus parking spot which avoids the boring flatwater section after the circus world. Here is the Google Maps link from for the directions from the Put in to the Take out. https://www.google.com/maps/dir/43.47122,-89.7696146/43.4650912,-email@example.com,-89.7671307,14z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m4!4m3!1m0!1m0!3e0
Minimum listed is very tentative. (I have not boated this reach, but have seen it at a few different water levels.) If you have knowledge and experience boating this reach, please suggest boatable levels via the 'Add a Comment' button which should appear in the "Comments" tab page.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.
Canoeing on the Baraboo
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
Log into the American Whitewater website and you can contribute to river descriptions,
flow and access tips, and maps associated with runs you've done. You can even add new
runs to the inventory!