Difficulty I-II(III)
Length 2.9 Miles
Flow Range 2.63 - 5.00 FT
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago ~ 2.38 [FT]
Reach Info Last Updated 04/02/2019 12:41 am

River Description

The most significant rapids is about 200 yards long and features considerably more gradient and difficulty than the rest of the run. A substantial hole midway through, followed by shallow rock (right) and a bend with a large tree/snag (left) made this a portage for most of us at the high water level.

UPDATE October 23, 2005. A group of UW Hoofers ran this stretch at probably the bare minimum (see Put-in picture). There are several minor rapids from each/any of the listed acceess points (put-ins) and the most significant rapids mentioned above. At the minimal level, this significant rapid was a steep boulder garden that resembled a pinball course, emphasis on pin. We were able to make our way through due to the low flows. Intermediate flows may make this drop ugly, if not a mandatory portage.

This run makes a great companion run for the near-by Pine River (Lincoln Co.).

Rapid Descriptions

Hwy.G (Alternate Put-in)

Class - N/A Mile - -2.65
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

For a slightly longer trip, you could put in at Hwy.G.

This adds mostly just swift-flowing water, with relatively little actual rapids.

CTH.J (painted gauge)

Class - N/A Mile - -0.61
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

We used to list this as the put-in. However, we have reports that "No Trespassing" signs have peen posted. Since there are other reasonable access points, we recommend avoiding potential hassle of using this location. That said, there is mention of a gauge painted at this bridge, so you may wish to stop to take note of the level (since the gauge we are using is only a reference, on a different river, which may or may not correlate to levels/flows here).

Drainage area: ~49.3 sq.mi.

Class - N/A Mile - 0
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Drainage area at CTH.G is about 41.7 square miles (as calculated by USGS StreamStats 4.0 Beta software).
At CTH.J it has increased to 48.7 square miles.
At 97th Street it is 49.3 square miles.
At our take-out it is 58.6 sq.mi. (an increase of 20% from our listed put-in).

Our reference gauge (Prairie at Merrill) has drainage of 184 square  miles, so flow on this run *could* be 0.2266 times (or a bit under 1/4th) that gauge reading.

Trappe River Dells

Class - III+ Mile - 1.25

The only significant drop on this river, and it can be quite a doozy. With any reasonably boatable flow, you will probably want to scout, and many will be likely to portage! (Low-water, maybe just class II-II+, higher water class III possibly pushing very nearly class IV-.) The river drops 20' in a relatively short distance, through a fairly complex boulder-bed and bedrock drop.

Some maps may show this area as "Trappe River Dells County Park". From a Marathon County brochure:

"Trappe River Dells Park – Located in the Town of Texas, this undeveloped park consists of 80 acres of woods. It is not accessible from other  public lands or roads. The County has no current plans to develop the woods into a functioning park. Rather, it will remain as a passive open space."


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bryan foster
7 years ago

A paddled at 4.86' on the reference gauge. There is a visual gauge on the north side of the bridge support on J. It read 4.2 ft. The nice grassy put in now has a no trespassing sign, you can also put in on N. 97th st to cut the length of the run more. The Main section was similar to that described at 5.05' in the other comment. Is best to scout unless you are familiar with the rock and hole locations or are good at read and run. This is a long and tough stretch of class III water, but so much fun.

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bryan foster
9 years ago

Went down at 5.05' *; We did this last year at 4.21' and the main rapid was a class II. Now with the extra water the rapid turned into a succession of drops and holes and a definite class III. The main drop is the one pictured in most of the photos as the rock on river right was under water and so is the one just toward the center, which if not hit correctly will send you off course and perhaps into a swim:) I would recommend putting in at CTH J instead of G since there is a nice grassy put in on the upstream river right side and you don't miss anything except some swift current. By the way, I love catching this river. So if you are planning on paddling it let me know.

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12 years ago

Just did This stretch today with a medium to high water level. Fun Riffles the whole way leading up to the bolder garden that comes up on you fast. Was planning a portage but handled the drops well with short notice. Spray Skirt was worth its weight in gold today! Best Whitewater in this area. Make sure you have enough water.

Gage Descriptions

*Gauge listed is for the Prairie River. Correlation is not assured, but should provide a fair indicator of runnability.
Indicated minimum is an unverified guess, and correlates to 200cfs in the Prairie. Your input regarding runnable levels would be appreciated. Please use the 'comments' button which should appear below for all logged-in registered users of this site.

Visual guage is the best. I have paddled/hiked with my boat when the gauge was reading "running" and I have paddled it successfully when the gauge was reading too low. See picture for minimum level.

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






Andrew Lovering

Asst Professor


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1198482 10/27/10 Rob Swap put-in/alt.put-in; add rapids/photo.
1211672 04/02/19 Rob updated image position
1207530 05/12/17 Rob reset put-in
1193216 12/30/05 Andrew Lovering