Discover a paddler’s paradise in the heart of Northcentral Wisconsin!

Paddle, hike, bike, fish and sightsee at the Outdoor Recreation Capital of Wisconsin!

The Great Pinery Heritage Waterway is a navigable water trail located in Northcentral Wisconsin. Situated on the Wisconsin river and its tributaries, the trail spans several counties and is 108 mi long.

The Great Pinery Heritage Waterway winds through scenic forests, urban landscapes and historic sites, inviting paddlers to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the Great Pinery, learn about the native inhabitants and European settlers who once navigated these waters, and enjoy local attractions, food and happenings.

With mild temperatures throughout the season, the Great Pinery Heritage Waterway is a pleasant paddle for recreational and pro paddlers alike. Several water trail segments offer diverse paddling experiences and you are sure to find one that will appeal to you and your group. Plentiful landings, clear signage, and good reception make for a stress-free trip.

Be Safe! Plan your trip in advance.

Download the Guide to the Pinery, view maps and resources, and access trip planning tools. Sign up for your Passport to the Pinery to get free swag when you complete the trail.

Paddle confidently with interactive signage.

The Great Pinery Heritage Waterway features interactive signage at each landing. Scan QR codes to get the latest water conditions, discover local history, learn how to spot common wildlife, and more!

A great paddling destination for everyone

The gently flowing waters and mild currents of the Wisconsin River make it a perfect destination for paddlers of all skill levels. Kayaks and canoes can be seen throughout the miles of river. Making your way along the riverbanks is how many visitors enjoy all our area has to offer – fishing, birdwatching, or just relaxing as the river moves you along. For those with a stronger sense of adventure, Posey Rapids are Class I rapids with smooth water, light riffles and gentle curves. If you’re looking for a little more adrenaline as you maneuver through the water, the swift water and open passages of the Bill Cross Class II Rapids are waiting for you to put in and paddle away.

A great paddling destination for everyone

The gently flowing waters and mild currents of the Wisconsin River make it a perfect destination for paddlers of all skill levels. Kayaks and canoes can be seen throughout the miles of river. Making your way along the riverbanks is how many visitors enjoy all our area has to offer – fishing, birdwatching, or just relaxing as the river moves you along. For those with a stronger sense of adventure, Posey Rapids are Class I rapids with smooth water, light riffles and gentle curves. If you’re looking for a little more adrenaline as you maneuver through the water, the swift water and open passages of the Bill Cross Class II Rapids are waiting for you to put in and paddle away.

Watch the forest, river and sky

come to life.

At the Great Pinery, the land, water and skies are filled with wildlife. As one sits quietly along the edge of the river, Bald Eagles, Osprey and great Blue Herons can be seen and heard throughout the day. The Wood Ducks, Sandhill Cranes and Kingfisher are among the sights waiting for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts from around the world. The river and surrounding lakes are home to Perch, Walleye, Northern Pike, and Muskies. Catfish and Bullheads hug the bottom of rivers and streams, and all are waiting to challenge even the most seasoned anglers. If that isn’t enough, the woods are a rich habitat for Deer, Bear, Rabbits and Squirrels, even Otters frolic on the banks of the river, playing and swimming around, entertaining those who are lucky enough to see them in their natural habitat.

Paddle and walk in the footsteps of history

Central Wisconsin has a rich and storied history that dates back to the native Ojibwa cultures who first settled the area, and the French Explorers who traveled these woods in the 17th century. The Turtle Rock segment of the infamous Ice Age hiking trail is named for the legendary site where the Ojibwas would leave offerings to the gods as they portaged between Grandmother and Grandfather Falls. In the 1800s, the area was filled with a burgeoning lumber industry that first carved our trails through the woods and leveraged the waters of the Wisconsin river. Historic sites along the water trail and on land are the perfect destination for those who love to explore the stories and artifacts of days past.

Paddle and walk in the footsteps of history

Central Wisconsin has a rich and storied history that dates back to the native Ojibwa cultures who first settled the area, and the French Explorers who traveled these woods in the 17th century. The Turtle Rock segment of the infamous Ice Age hiking trail is named for the legendary site where the Ojibwas would leave offerings to the gods as they portaged between Grandmother and Grandfather Falls. In the 1800s, the area was filled with a burgeoning lumber industry that first carved our trails through the woods and leveraged the waters of the Wisconsin river. Historic sites along the water trail and on land are the perfect destination for those who love to explore the stories and artifacts of days past.

Unplug and sleep under the stars

The parks and camping sites of Northcentral Wisconsin are the perfect place to get away from technology and closer to nature. Enjoy rustic campsites with great views of the woods and waterways. Sleep under the stars and wake up to a new adventure every day as your tent or RV will be close to hundreds of miles of hiking trails, several boat launches, put-ins for kayaks and canoes and ample opportunity to cast a line. Enjoy everything the natural beauty of central Wisconsin has to offer.

Unplug and sleep under the stars

The parks and camping sites of Northcentral Wisconsin are the perfect place to get away from technology and closer to nature. Enjoy rustic campsites with great views of the woods and waterways. Sleep under the stars and wake up to a new adventure every day as your tent or RV will be close to hundreds of miles of hiking trails, several boat launches, put-ins for kayaks and canoes and ample opportunity to cast a line. Enjoy everything the natural beauty of central Wisconsin has to offer.

Spend your weekend or vacation where the fish are always biting

The Great Pinery Heritage Waterway is home to a wide variety of gamefish that make everyday a new and exciting time for anglers of all ages. Whether you want a relaxing day trolling for walleye and panfish, or are looking for the action and adventure of landing a muskie, northern pike or big bass, the waters of the Great Pinery have everything you need. From the Wisconsin River to lakes and streams, you have ample opportunity to find the perfect spot and start working on landing your next trophy.

Pick up your Adventure Passport before you get in the water

Or order it online ahead of time…

Collect stamps at local restaurants, bars and shops to get freebies, coupons and bragging rights! Make it a competition or add it to your bucket list. Can you collect them all?

Find your next outdoor adventure at The Pinery!

Take time to reconnect with Mother Nature and unplug from the hustle and bustle of daily life. The Great Pinery is the perfect place to pack a lunch, grab a walking stick and take off for a day in the woods. With hundreds of miles of trails that range from easy to moderate intensity, the dense forests of central Wisconsin deliver a hiking experience like no other. Filled with a wide variety of birds and animals and a gently sloping terrain, it is a peaceful getaway for individuals, couples, families and friends. From the rugged beauty of the Ice Age trail, to dramatic Turkey Vulture and Quarry trails on Rib Mountain, to a unique experience of the Eau Claire Dells, Wausau area hikes will not disappoint!

This water trail is made possible by generous donations from local organizations and community members. Learn More →

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