Lower Eau Claire River Trail

Enjoy a scenic paddle from Yellow Banks Park to Drott Street Landing along the Great Pinery Heritage Waterway.

Lower Eau Claire River Trail

Enjoy a scenic paddle from Yellow Banks Park to Drott Street Landing along the Great Pinery Heritage Waterway.

Segment vitals

Segment information:
Start: Yellow Banks Park
44.928070, -89.574417

End: Drott Street Landing
44.916515, -89.609702
Miles: 0 to 6
Segment length: 6 miles

Time required: N/A
Segment difficulty: N/A
Skill level: N/A
Water level:  N/A
Gradient:  N/A
Trail Type: Urban

Internet: N/A

Check out the live data

Flow rates

Flow rates play a crucial role in determining the conditions of rivers for canoeing, kayaking, and paddling activities. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced enthusiast, being informed about flow rates is essential for a safe and enjoyable experience on the water.

Landmarks

Schofield Dam Portage/Brooks and Ross Dam

Trip description

The Lower Eau Claire River Water Trail starts its 14-mile journey meandering through Weston and flows through boulder fields and scenic landscapes before entering Lake Wausau just west of the historic Brooks and Ross Dam, joining the Great Pinery Heritage Waterway after a short portage.

The Eau Claire is a gaged river in that its flow can change dramatically by more than a foot within a short timeframe based on the duration of rain on the upper portions of the river. Gauge information can be found at the USGS Website: USGs Gauge @ Kelly, Hwy SS Bridge. During late summer the river’s shallowness can be trying and we recommend moving your put-in to the landing at Ross Avenue, Mile Marker 7.4 and paddling to the takeout at Drott Street Landing or the short portage to Lake Wausau.

The trail passes by historical bridges, flowing through the Eau Claire River Conservancy giving the trail an “everglade” like feeling as one paddles around cattails and reeds before exiting at the Drott Street Landing where once stood one of the first sawmills in the Northwoods and having the claim to fame of cutting one of the largest and oldest white pines in the state, germinating in or around 1500.

The trail starts at Mile Maker 0, at the Clubhouse Road Landing on the south side of the bridge. The north bank is heavily wooded with mixed forest while the south shore is a bit more urban. This is an easy paddle with riffles, shallows, boulder gardens and an occasional down tree so take your time and enjoy the challenges.

At Mile Marker 3.9, the County Highway J Landing is on the southeast side of the bridge. The section below the landing is marked with many small marshy islands, boulders, riffles, and wooded banks which is surprising in that this is an urban water trail. Be prepared to walk and toll your paddle craft in the shallow sections, which at times seem many. The Eau Claire River Hiking Trail is located on the south side of the river which is a joy to walk throughout the seasons. One will see eagles, kingfishers, otter, beaver, and deer.

At Mile Marker 7.4, The Ross Avenue Landing offers the paddler a particularly pretty part of the river as it flows pass small islands, forested banks, and through a boy scout camp. Sandy Creek joins the river a bit upstream from the Camp Phillips Bridge from the north. Its cool waters will surprise a paddler when dipping their hand in the confluence noticing a marked change in temperature.

Yellow Banks Park, Mile Marker 10.1 is a great put-in for a short trip. Almost immediately, you encounter Camp Del O’Claire girl scout camp, then in session, the YMCA’s Camp Sturtevant Day Camp. A short distance downstream you come to the first railroad bridge to cross the river as the railroad snaked from Green Bay to Wausau in the 1870s. The bridge’s footings can still be seen as you paddle over and around them. A highlight of the trip is glancing the Great Blue Heron locked in a steely pose ready for that next big fish. Adjoining the “Big Bird” is the delightful, “Inn at the River B&B” where Dan and Margaret will spoil you with northern Wisconsin hospitality.

As you paddle downstream, you may notice the remnants of the original flood or splash dams that moved the winter cut of White Pine on the spring freshet to sawmills downstream. You now enter the Eau Claire Flowage and Conservancy which offers a respite within an urban area abounding with bird and aquatic life.

The Drott Street Landing, next to the historic Brooks and Ross Dam, at Mile Marker 13.6 offers restrooms, a shelter, and a dock/launch that will keep your feet dry as you call it a day.

Landings

Yellow Banks Park

Coordinates: 44.928070, -89.574417

Parking: Yes

Drott Street Landing & Schofield Dam Portage – (Brooks and Ross Dam)

Schofield Dam Portage (if coming from Portage Eau Claire River To Wisconsin River / Lake Wausau):

Mileage Marker: 6
The portage is on the left side of the bank facing downstream.

Portage takeout:
Launch Coordinates D°M’S”: 44°54’59.5″N 89°36’34.9″W
Launch Coordinates Degrees: 44.916515, -89.609702

Portage put-in:
Launch Coordinates D°M’S”: 44°54’58.8″N 89°36’36.2″W
Launch Coordinates Degrees: 44.916331, -89.610061

Coordinates: 444.916331, -89.610061

Parking: Yes

History

Wisconsin River's Name

The Wisconsin River’s name has a rich history and varied interpretations, reflecting its significant role in the region’s geography and culture. The river, originating in Lac Vieux Desert in northern Wisconsin near the Michigan border, flows southward through central Wisconsin, passing Rhinelander, Wausau, Stevens Point, Wisconsin Rapids, and the scenic Wisconsin Dells.

Learn More

Wildlife

Deer

Wisconsin boasts a robust deer population, with over one million whitetail deer inhabiting diverse landscapes ranging from forests to farmlands. These adaptable creatures are a common sight throughout the state, contributing to Wisconsin’s rich wildlife heritage.

Otter

Wisconsin hosts a growing population of river otters, especially in wetland habitats near lakes and rivers. Recognized for their playful behavior and sleek appearance, otters contribute to the state’s vibrant aquatic ecosystems.

Eagles

Wisconsin boasts a thriving bald eagle population, with over 1,600 breeding pairs. These majestic birds are commonly found near large bodies of water, including lakes and rivers, where they build their nests and contribute to the state’s rich wildlife heritage.

Walleyes

Walleye, a popular sportfish in Wisconsin, thrives in the state’s lakes and rivers, including the Wisconsin River. With a robust population and widespread distribution, anglers enjoy pursuing this prized species, making it a cornerstone of Wisconsin’s freshwater fisheries.

Beavers

Beavers are widespread throughout Wisconsin, especially in areas with abundant water bodies. Their population contributes to shaping ecosystems by creating wetland habitats and altering landscapes, showcasing the ecological importance of these industrious mammals in the state.

Black Bears

Wisconsin is home to a robust population of black bears, estimated at around 24,000. These adaptable mammals are found in a range of habitats, including forests and swamps, showcasing their ability to thrive in diverse ecosystems.

Wildlife

Deer

Wisconsin boasts a robust deer population, with over one million whitetail deer inhabiting diverse landscapes ranging from forests to farmlands. These adaptable creatures are a common sight throughout the state, contributing to Wisconsin’s rich wildlife heritage.

Otter

Wisconsin hosts a growing population of river otters, especially in wetland habitats near lakes and rivers. Recognized for their playful behavior and sleek appearance, otters contribute to the state’s vibrant aquatic ecosystems.

Eagles

Wisconsin boasts a thriving bald eagle population, with over 1,600 breeding pairs. These majestic birds are commonly found near large bodies of water, including lakes and rivers, where they build their nests and contribute to the state’s rich wildlife heritage.

Walleyes

Walleye, a popular sportfish in Wisconsin, thrives in the state’s lakes and rivers, including the Wisconsin River. With a robust population and widespread distribution, anglers enjoy pursuing this prized species, making it a cornerstone of Wisconsin’s freshwater fisheries.

Beavers

Beavers are widespread throughout Wisconsin, especially in areas with abundant water bodies. Their population contributes to shaping ecosystems by creating wetland habitats and altering landscapes, showcasing the ecological importance of these industrious mammals in the state.

Black Bears

Wisconsin is home to a robust population of black bears, estimated at around 24,000. These adaptable mammals are found in a range of habitats, including forests and swamps, showcasing their ability to thrive in diverse ecosystems.

Nearby attractions and activities

Inn at the River B&B

Sconni's Alehouse & Eatery

Log Cabin Restaurant

Tri-City Family Restaurant

Peoples Sports Complex

Greenwood Hills Country Club

Yellowbanks Disc Golf Course

Know Before You Go

Please review these important safety reminders before getting on the water.

Safe & Smart

Check the weather and water temperature before going paddling.

Wear a Lifejacket

Don’t be a statistic.

Know Your Limits

There are old paddlers and bold paddlers, but no old bold paddlers! Know your skill level.

Don’t Drink and Paddle

Water and booze don’t mix.

Have the Right Gear

Footwear, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, trail map, water, snacks, water tight bag for personal items and your cell phone, bilge pump, and first aid kit.

File a Float Plan

Communicate to family and friends your put-in and take-out, and when you are paddling.

Water Levels & Obstacles

Be aware of water levels, rapids, and dams before you get into the water.

In Case of Emergency Call 911

Remember your mile markers and landmarks.

Have a Map or App

Take a map or download an app to know where you are at on the water. 

No Glass on the Wisconsin River

It is illegal to have glass on the Wisconsin River. If you are caught, the DNR will fine you up to $749.

Know Before You Go

Please review these important safety reminders before getting on the water.

Safe & Smart

Check the weather and water temperature before going paddling.

Wear a Lifejacket

Don’t be a statistic.

Know Your Limits

There are old paddlers and bold paddlers, but no old bold paddlers! Know your skill level.

Don’t Drink and Paddle

Water and booze don’t mix.

Have the Right Gear

Footwear, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, trail map, water, snacks, water tight bag for personal items and your cell phone, bilge pump, and first aid kit.

File a Float Plan

Communicate to family and friends your put-in and take-out, and when you are paddling.

Water Levels & Obstacles

Be aware of water levels, rapids, and dams before you get into the water.

In Case of Emergency Call 911

Remember your mile markers and landmarks.

Have a Map or App

Take a map or download an app to know where you are at on the water. 

No Glass on the Wisconsin River

It is illegal to have glass on the Wisconsin River. If you are caught, the DNR will fine you up to $749.

Apps

We put together some recomended apps for anyone planning a trip out on the water.

Resources

Check out these resources to help you out when you are planning a trip out on the water.

Apps

We put together some recomended apps for anyone planning a trip out on the water.

Resources

Check out these resources to help you out when you are planning a trip out on the water.

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