Kings Dam to Tomahawk Dam

Kayak the Great Pinery Heritage Waterway from Kings Dam to Tomahawk Dam. This 7.5-mile urban water trail segment offers an easy paddle, guiding you through Lincoln County’s fascinating history. Discover scenic urban landscapes along the way. While out on the water you’ll have good internet connection through the whole segment. Relax on the water and pull up on the landing to take a break and enjoy a meal at a local restaurant.

 

Kings dam was constructed upstream of Tomahawk between 1909 and 1910 by Tomahawk pulp and paper interests on a section of the river that was used as a ford across a short section of rapids called Pine Creek Rapids or Kings Rapids. Albert King, for whom the dam was named, and other members of his family ran what was widely known as King’s Station on the trail between Jenny (what would become Merrill) and Lac Vieux Desert near where the present dam is situated.

Before 1909, when construction on the dam started, this section of the river was used to sort logs. A boom works, called the “upper divide,” was built, which featured nine massive piers. On the shore there was a boom shanty, where the work crews were fed.

The portage around the dam is on the right bank, a bit roughed in spots with a length of around five hundred feet. So, a strong back is an asset!

Kings Dam to Tomahawk Dam

Kayak the Great Pinery Heritage Waterway from Kings Dam to Tomahawk Dam. This 7.5-mile urban water trail segment offers an easy paddle, guiding you through Lincoln County’s fascinating history. Discover scenic urban landscapes along the way. While out on the water you’ll have good internet connection through the whole segment. Relax on the water and pull up on the landing to take a break and enjoy a meal at a local restaurant.

Kings dam was constructed upstream of Tomahawk between 1909 and 1910 by Tomahawk pulp and paper interests on a section of the river that was used as a ford across a short section of rapids called Pine Creek Rapids or Kings Rapids. Albert King, for whom the dam was named, and other members of his family ran what was widely known as King’s Station on the trail between Jenny (what would become Merrill) and Lac Vieux Desert near where the present dam is situated.

Before 1909, when construction on the dam started, this section of the river was used to sort logs. A boom works, called the “upper divide,” was built, which featured nine massive piers. On the shore there was a boom shanty, where the work crews were fed.

The portage around the dam is on the right bank, a bit roughed in spots with a length of around five hundred feet. So, a strong back is an asset!

Segment vitals

Segment information:
Start: King’s Dam
45.482935, -89.679529

End: Tomahawk Dam
45.443570, -89.728225
Miles: 106.5 to 114
Segment length: 7.5

Time required: 3 -1/2 hrs
Segment difficulty: Easy
Skill level: Novice
Water level: Good
Gradient: x.x feet/mile
Trail Type: Urban

Internet: Good

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

Kings Dam Portage

Tomahawk Dam Portage

Trestle Bridge on Hiawatha Trail

Lake Mohawksin

SARA & Bradley Park

Trip description

The put-in is located below Kings Dam on the right bank. Limited parking exists if your plans call for leaving your car at this portage.

A short paddle down river and you come to the U.S. 51 bridge at Mile Marker 107.5. A bridge has crossed the Wisconsin at this spot since 1889 and you enter Lake Mohawksin. Powerboat and pontoon traffic picks up steadily as one paddles across this flowage. It is best to follow the map as close as one can, keeping distance between the motor boats and your paddle craft.

At Mile Marker 109.5, Memorial park is located on your left as you come under the 4th Street Bridge. This is a great spot to stop if you would like to grab a quick bite at one of the restaurants that hug the shore or a Dairy Queen.

You pass under a historical railroad bridge at Mile Marker 110 that is the trailhead for the Hiawatha State Bike Trail that starts in the heart of Tomahawk. Adjacent to the bridge is SARA Park offering full amenities to the paddler along with limited camping.

A gem of a city park is located at Mile Marker 112. Bradley Park is rich in history and is a natural wonder in the heart of the city offering that “Up North” feel. Camping is also available along with some spectacular trails that parallel the river if you want to stretch your legs before continuing your journey on the “Great Pinery”.

The original dam that formed Lake Mohawksin was built in 1888-1889 at the staggering cost of $250,000. The flowage it created covers four square miles and extends up river seven miles. At the time it was built, it was the largest on the river; in fact, the dam and boomworks were the second largest in the United States at the time.

As you skirt along the right bank you come to Mile Marker 114 and the Tomahawk Dam that provides power to one of the largest paper mills on the river, Packaging Corporation of America, a key supplier to boxes that have that familiar smile on them!

Landings

Kings Dam Portage

The portage is on the right side of the bank facing downstream.

Mileage Marker 104

Portage Length: 500 feet

Takeout coordinates:
Launch Coordinates D°M’S”: 45°28’58.6″N 89°40’46.3″W
Launch Coordinates Degrees: 45.482935, -89.679529

Put-in coordinates:
Launch Coordinates D°M’S”: 45°28’59.5″N 89°40’50.2″W
Launch Coordinates Degrees: 45.483207, -89.680615

Coordinates: 45.482935 N, -89.679529 W

Parking: Yes

Memorial Park Landing – Tomahawk

Coordinates: 45.476641 N, -89.726883 W

Parking: Yes

Bradley Park Landing

Start your kayak or canoe trip at Bradley Park Landing! Enjoy the lush greenery, relax in the shaded picnic areas, and let the kids unleash their energy at the playground. It’s the perfect spot for a family day out in the heart of Lincoln County.

Coordinates: 45.468887 N, -89.741612 W

Parking: Yes

SARA Park Landing

Fishing enthusiasts will enjoy spending their day at this park! SARA Park Landing in Lincoln County is a haven for anglers. Cast your line into the calm waters and enjoy one of the 10 primitive camping spots along the river.

Coordinates: 45.474702, -89.743595

Parking: Yes

Tomahawk Dam Portage

Visit the Tomahawk Dam Portage for great kayaking opportunities! Take in the tranquil beauty, connect with nature, and embark on a peaceful journey along the Wisconsin River.

The portage is on the left side of the bank facing downstream.

Mileage Marker 111

Portage Length: 300 feet

Takeout coordinates:
Launch Coordinates D°M’S”: 45°26’36.9″N 89°43’41.6″W
Launch Coordinates Degrees: 45.443570, -89.728225

Put-in coordinates:
Launch Coordinates D°M’S”: 45°26’33.5″N 89°43’43.3″W
Launch Coordinates Degrees: 45.442632 N, -89.728703 W

Coordinates: 45.443570 N, -89.728225 W

Parking: Yes

History

History of papermaking

Wisconsin’s paper industry has seen many changes over the past 170 years and continues to be a cornerstone of Wisconsin’s economy. Papermaking in Wisconsin began in Milwaukee on March 7, 1848. The paper was made of rags and used to publish the Milwaukee Sentinel & Gazette. Three months after the first papermaking began in Wisconsin, President Polk signed legislation to make Wisconsin a state.

Learn More

Historic Hiawatha Trail Bridge

This pony truss bridge is one of Tomahawk’s recognizable landmarks. It was constructed in 1894 by the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway as part of a rail line that served the paper mills of the area. Today it carries bicyclists and pedestrians traveling the Hiawatha trail across the Wisconsin River, heading North from SARA Park. Great photo location!

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.

Black-capped Chickadees

The Black-capped Chickadee is a common and charismatic bird in Wisconsin, thriving in a variety of habitats, including forests, parks, and suburban areas. Recognizable by their distinctive “chick-a-dee-dee-dee” call, they are year-round residents, resilient in the state’s diverse ecosystems.

Waterfowl

Wisconsin provides vital habitats for a diverse range of waterfowl species, including ducks, geese, and swans. From the wetlands to the lakes and rivers across the state, these waterfowl find ample breeding and resting grounds, contributing to the rich avian biodiversity of Wisconsin.

Downy Woodpeckers

Downy Woodpeckers are a common sight in Wisconsin, inhabiting various wooded areas, parks, and suburban backyards. Their adaptable nature and preference for mixed woodlands contribute to their widespread presence, making them a delightful visitor to birdwatchers across the state.

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.

Black-capped Chickadees

The Black-capped Chickadee is a common and charismatic bird in Wisconsin, thriving in a variety of habitats, including forests, parks, and suburban areas. Recognizable by their distinctive “chick-a-dee-dee-dee” call, they are year-round residents, resilient in the state’s diverse ecosystems.

Waterfowl

Wisconsin provides vital habitats for a diverse range of waterfowl species, including ducks, geese, and swans. From the wetlands to the lakes and rivers across the state, these waterfowl find ample breeding and resting grounds, contributing to the rich avian biodiversity of Wisconsin.

Downy Woodpeckers

Downy Woodpeckers are a common sight in Wisconsin, inhabiting various wooded areas, parks, and suburban backyards. Their adaptable nature and preference for mixed woodlands contribute to their widespread presence, making them a delightful visitor to birdwatchers across the state.

Nearby attractions and activities

Memorial Park

Bradley Park

SARA Park

Hiawatha Trail

Edgewater Country Club

Castaways Bar and Grill

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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