Canoeing the Bois Brule
Whether you are in the mood for a peaceful float with the family or the challenge of an exciting ride through whitewater, the Brule River can fulfill your dream.
This unique river varies from a meandering stream in a conifer bog to a tumbling, churning torrent falling madly toward Lake Superior. This spring-fed river lies in a small watershed and thus the level remains relatively constant. The total elevation drop of the river is 418 feet, with 328 feet of that drop in the last 19 miles. There are ten designated canoe landings on state land on the Brule River. In order to protect and preserve the shorelines of the river, all watercraft launching and landing on state lands are restricted to these ten sites. Two of those sites are at the two state forest campgrounds, Bois Brule and Copper Range, and are designed for use by canoeists who are camping at those campgrounds.
The most popular canoe trip on the Brule begins at Stone’s Bridge canoe landing. This trip starts out on pretty flat water winding through cedar, spruce, and balsam bog forests. After about 1 1/2 hours, the perceptive canoeist will notice subtle changes in the surroundings. The river bottom will brighten up from silt to clean gravel, and river current will increase noticeably. The river traveler will soon pass through the first of the privately owned estates and lodges along this stretch of river. After a few easy rapids, the canoeist will come upon a narrow chute where the river scurries out of a small placid lake. From there to Big Lake, a widening in the river occurs and there are a few more exciting runs. After Big Lake, it takes approximately one hour to arrive at Winneboujou canoe landing. Another popular take out on this section of river is to continue on from Winneboujou to the Highway 2 landing.
The avid whitewater canoeist or kayaker will be interested in getting right into the action by starting at Pine Tree landing. This trip takes the paddler through nearly continuous stretches of ledges and rapids before arriving at the Highway 13 landing. Before embarking on this trip, newcomers should scout the river from Highway FF bridge and/or Mays Ledges angler access. During times of high water, increased caution is urged before considering this section of river. For more information about paddling on the Brule, click on Bois Brule River.
Stone’s Bridge to Winneboujou: Approximately 4.0 hours
Stone’s Bridge to Bois Brule Picnic/Canoe Landing : Approximately 4.75 hours
Winneboujou to Bois Brule Picnic Area/Canoe Landing: Approximately .75 hours
Winneboujou to Hwy 2: Approximately 1.25 hours
Hwy 2 to Pine Tree Canoe Landing: Approximately 4.0 hours
Pine Tree Canoe Landing to Hwy 13: Approximately 5.0 hours
Hwy 13 to Mouth of the Brule: Approximately 4.0 hours
Enjoying the Brule
There is a mix of public and private land along the Brule River. Most of the land along the upper river is privately owned. We urge anglers and canoeists enjoying the river to be aware of the riparian ownership, to be familiar with the current Wisconsin stream access law, and to respect the rights of private landowners. Details of the current stream access law can be found by clicking on Wisconsin Stream Access Law.
The Wisconsin DNR has created the following video providing some useful tip about how to canoe the Brule in a responsible manner. Click on Canoeing the Brule.