Oak Island Park Landing to Rothschild Dam

Enjoy an 8.3-mile paddle from Oak Island Park Landing to Rothschild Dam along the Great Pinery Heritage Waterway. This easy segment offers a semi-urban paddling experience that will take you approximately 4 1/2 hours to complete. Throughout this segment of the water trail you should have a good internet connection, but of course we hope that you’ll take this time to reconnect with the great outdoors at the Great Pinery!

Oak Island Park Landing to Rothschild Dam

Enjoy an 8.3-mile paddle from Oak Island Park Landing to Rothschild Dam along the Great Pinery Heritage Waterway. This easy segment offers a semi-urban paddling experience that will take you approximately 4 1/2 hours to complete. Throughout this segment of the water trail you should have a good internet connection, but of course we hope that you’ll take this time to reconnect with the great outdoors at the Great Pinery!

Segment vitals

Segment information:
Start: Oak Island Park Landing
44.953182, -89.629095

End: Rothschild Dam
44.894410, -89.626397
Miles: N/A
Segment length: 8.3 miles

Time required: 4 1/2 hours
Segment difficulty: Easy
Skill level: N/A
Water level: N/A
Gradient: N/A
Trail Type: Semi-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

Wausau Downtown Airport

Rib Mountain State Park

Rothschild Dam Portage

Trip description

The Oak Island Park segment is 8.3-miles in length with most of the trail located on Lake Wausau. The trail starts at the Oak Island Park Landing at Mile Marker 167.4. Within 100 feet of the landing, you paddle under a historical bridge that once graced the Wisconsin River at a different location and moved here in 1913 after the Great Flood of 1912, where the river crested at over 20 feet and millions of board feet of lumber along with railroad cars, bridges, dams and building were swept away by the river’s thundering waters caused by a record rainfall and dam collapse upstream.

At Mile Marker 165, just past the Thomas Street Bridge, one paddles past a Frank Lloyd Wright House on a small bluff on the left bank. This was the last home that Wright built but did not see it completed due to his death. One enters Lake Wausau at this point which is a boaters’ paradise being an urban lake that is 1,851 acres in size and the third largest in Marathon County. The lake is dotted with Islands and soughs and is four miles in length from the Rothschild Dam to the WPS Dam.

Two adjoining trails make their confluence at Lake Wausau, the Lower Big Rib Water Trail that starts its journey at Marathon City 17-miles to the west and the Lower Eau Claire River Water Trail that approaches the Wisconsin River from the Northeast. Both trails offer the paddler additional opportunities and enjoyment on a variety of water. Lake Wausau has numerous landings along its banks; 17 parks, with one being a paddle park; restaurants, a historical airport, and a up north feel in that over 60% of its banks are wooded.

It is important to hug the left bank as one paddles south staying away from the powerboaters, skiers and pontoon boats that frequent the lake.

The take-out is at Mile Marker 173 just north of the Rothschild Dam portage, located a short distance on the right bank when one paddles under the U.S. Highway bridge, Mile Marker 172.8.

Landings

Oak Island Landing

Escape to Oak Island Park Landing! Immerse yourself in nature, enjoy a picnic by the water, or let the kids have a blast on the playground. It’s the perfect place for a day of outdoor fun! And if you stop by on a Saturday you will catch the local farmers market to enjoy local produce, bakery items, honey, meat, and more.

Coordinates: 44.953182 N, -89.629095 W

Parking: Yes

Memorial Park Landing

Coordinates: 44.939845 N, -89.631902 W

Parking: Yes

D.C. Everest Park

Explore the wonders of D.C. Everest Park Landing! Unwind with a picnic or embark on a fishing adventure. This landing also allows the disabled an easily accessible dock to accommodate them and their love for kayaking and canoeing. This is the perfect area to bird watch and find many unique migratory waterfowl and resident birds.

Coordinates: 44.937718 N, -89.638879 W

Accessible dock: Yes

Parking: Yes

Rookery Park

Coordinates: 44.937007, -89.655286

Parking: Yes

Gulliver’s Landing

Coordinates: 44.937826, -89.657691

Accessible dock: Yes

Parking: Yes

Bluegill Bay Park

Escape to the beauty of Bluegill Bay Park Landing! Enjoy a fishing trip, watch the birds near the lake, or let the kids have a memorable playtime at the playground. It’s a picturesque escape for outdoor enthusiasts while also being conveniently close to the shopping center in Rib Mountain!

Coordinates: 44.926437 N, -89.639969 W

Parking: Yes

Radtke Park

Coordinates: 44.919428 N, -89.621347 W

Parking: Yes

Rothschild Dam Portage

Start your paddling journey at Rothschild Dam Portage! Located in picturesque Rothschild, this portage offers a gateway to thrilling water adventures. Launch your kayak or canoe and navigate the tranquil waters of the Wisconsin River. Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature as you explore scenic trails and encounter wildlife along the way.

Mileage Marker: 166

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

Portage takeout:
Launch Coordinates D°M’S”: 44°53’39.9″N 89°37’35.0″W
Launch Coordinates Degrees: 44.894410, -89.626397

Portage put-in:
Launch Coordinates D°M’S”: 44°53’30.5″N 89°37’47.1″W
Launch Coordinates Degrees: 44.891808, -89.629751

Coordinates: 44.894410 N, -89.626397 W

Parking: Yes

Kort Street Park

Coordinates: 44.901340 N, -89.618179 W

Accessible dock: Yes

Parking: Yes

History

A hill becomes a mountain

The defining landmark for this region has long been Rib Mountain. The four-mile-long ridge of ancient quartzite towers 600 feet over the surrounding landscape (1,942 feet above sea level) and dates back some 1.7 billion years. But people have not always agreed that it should be called a “mountain.”

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Alexander Airport takes off

The 1920s were an exciting time for aviation. In less than 20 years, planes had gone from flimsy contraptions capable only of brief hops of a few hundred feet to sleek, powerful machines capable of cross-country flights and beyond. The small but progressive town of Wausau wanted to be part of the excitement in the air.

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History of Marathon Corporation

The dam located here at Rothschild was completed in 1910, after a year of construction and several years of planning by the Rothschild Water Power Company. A paper mill was also finished in 1910 […], and the newly formed Marathon Paper Company soon took over running the dam and its six turbines that provided the power for its entirely electrically-driven mill.

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Wausau’s islands become parks

Since the founding of Wausau in the late 1830s, the islands here have been central to the development of the community. The islands that were the first home to these settlers in the 1840s continued to be the place where the all-important lumber industry operated. Many of Wausau’s islands inherited names from the lumber companies that operated there.

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Wausau expands south

Wausau’s southeast side, formed along the Wisconsin River’s curve, was recognized for its fertile land in the 1860s, attracting settlers. Despite its distance from the city center, it was chosen in the late 1800s by Marathon County for various health institutions and care facilities.

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Waterfowl & shorebird migration

Lake Wausau is a great place for viewing waterfowl migration, especially during the spring when the variety of loons, grebes, ducks and more are most abundant. April to early May is prime time for viewing this variety of birds as they migrate through our area to their breeding grounds farther away.

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History of Rothschild Park

Rothschild Park, initially named “Pine Park,” has served as a central community hub since June 10, 1908, drawing about 2,100 visitors who accessed it via the trolley line. With scenic pathways leading to the water, labeled flora, picnic areas, electric lighting, and a baseball diamond.

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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

Oak Island Park

Memorial Park

Three "M" Park

Rookery Park

Nueske's at Gulliver's Landing

D.C. Everest Park

Rib Mountain State Park

Bluegill Bay Park

Radtke Park

Grace Park

Kort Street Park

Sconni's Alehouse & Eatery

Wausau Country Club

Liberty Park Disc Golf Course

Doepke Recreation Area

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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