Trails of the great pinery heritage waterway

The Great Pinery Heritage Waterway™ is an overarching water trail that consists of three rivers located in Northcentral Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin River Trail is 108 miles in length starting at the Hat Rapids Dam in Oneida County and ending in Portage County at the Lake DuBay Dam. Portions of the trail hold scenic wonders as it flows over rapids and rock outcropping, through primeval pine and hardwood forest, and along the Ice Age Trail.

The Lower Big Rib River Water Trail starts its 16-mile journey in Marathon City at Riverside Park as it flows fast to join the Wisconsin River at Bluegill Bay Park on Lake Wausau.

The Lower Eau Claire River Water Trail starts its journey at the Yellow Banks Park Landing in Weston and ends its scenic journey at the historic Brooks and Ross Dam (Drott Street Landing) in Schofield.

Float your day away on Northcentral Wisconsin’s water trails

The Wisconsin River is the largest waterway in the area and is often filled with recreational boaters, water-skiers, kayakers and canoes. However, it is not the only source of water-bound adventure. Marathon County is bursting with navigable waterways that flow off the beaten path and provide quiet days of floating and paddling. It is easy to avoid the crowds and enjoy the natural beauty as you wind your way along the many rivers and streams that lay waiting for explorers. Look to the Spirit River, the New Wood River, the Copper River, the Prairie River, the Pine River, the Rib River or the Eau Claire River for peaceful treks, beautiful scenery and quiet places to stop and take in all that nature has to offer.

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TRAILS IN LINCOLN COUNTY

Lincoln County has a long logging history with large areas owned by the logging industry that have now become recreational areas for everyone to enjoy. Camp out and hike at Council Grounds State Park and then hit Lake Alexandria or the Wisconsin River from their landings.

Camp New Wood County Park is another great place to camp or hike at, but this park also has playgrounds and accessible landings on the Wisconsin River.

If you are looking for a place to just spend your day at, Riverside Park has many things you can do to entertain all of your friends and family. There is a volleyball court, disc golf course, horseshoe pit, and a playground on the 22 acres of neighborhood park along the Wisconsin River.

Hat Rapids Dam to Kings Dam

Trailhead coordinates/address: 45.570942, -89.480465
Segment difficulty: Moderate
Segment length: 16 miles
Trail type: Scenic

Kings Dam to Tomahawk Dam

Trailhead coordinates/address: 45.482935, -89.679529
N10096 Kings Rd, Tomahawk, WI 54487
Segment difficulty: Easy
Segment length: 7.5 miles
Trail Type: Urban

Tomahawk Dam to Camp New Wood County Park

Trailhead coordinates/address: 45.442632, -89.728703
C7R9+FQ Bradley, Wisconsin
Segment difficulty: Moderate
Segment length: 15 miles
Trail Type: Scenic

Camp New Wood County Park to Alexander Dam

Trailhead coordinates/address: 45.287797, -89.792781
N4781 State Rd 107, Merrill, WI 54452
Segment difficulty: Moderate
Segment length: 9.6 miles
Trail Type: Scenic

Alexander Dam to Riverside Park Landing

Trailhead coordinates/address: 45.186830, -89.752708
56PW+PWM Merrill, Wisconsin
Segment difficulty: Easy
Segment length: 5.9 miles
Trail Type: Urban

Riverside Park Landing to Brokaw Mill Landing

Trailhead coordinates/address: 45.175744, -89.675105
58GF+7XR Merrill, Wisconsin
Segment difficulty: Easy
Segment length: 15 miles
Trail Type: Scenic

TRAILS IN MARATHON COUNTY

Founded in 1850 Marathon County has a rich history with the wilderness that surrounds it. There are 16 county parks and many more local parks to visit with friends and family. Not every park has all the amenities you may be looking for but there are plenty that have what you want.

Scholfield Park is just a 10-minute drive from downtown Wausau. This is another picnic-friendly park with a great playground for kids to play on and landings to launch you into your next adventure.

Riverlife Park was recently built in downtown Wausau and is a picnic-friendly area where your kids can play on the playground after you eat. They also have a ADA accessible landing so anyone can pull up their kayaks. From Riverlife Park, you can walk to the bustling 400 Block where you can find interesting shops, many restaurants & bars – and a few popular selfie spots.

Oak Island Park is another picnic-friendly park with a playground that is close to downtown.

Bluegill Bay Park has everything you need for a great day outdoors on the waters from areas that are perfect for a cook out to landings to get out on the water to kayak or fish. And if you happen to forget something you can run to the nearby strip of stores for anything you’ll need from food to outdoor gear.

Downstream from Oak Island is the Memorial Park and D.C. Everest Park where you can picnic, swim, and enjoy the playground.

Lake Wausau abounds in parks that have something for every family member from just plain fun to bird watching – Rookery Park, Sunnyvale Park, Picnic Island, Kort Street Park, Radtke Park, River Street Park, and Jojo’s Jungle (an awesome park designed for children of all abilities in mind). If you’re looking to camp out you can do so at the Wisconsin River Forest Park or Marathon County Park in the heart of Wausau.

Brokaw Landing Mill to Gilbert Park Landing

Trailhead coordinates/address: 45.033575, -89.660277
28MQ+CW Brokaw, Wisconsin
Segment difficulty: Easy
Segment length: 5 miles
Trail Type: Scenic

Gilbert Park Landing to Oak Island Park Landing

Trailhead coordinates/address: 44.984179, -89.622004
3000 N 6th St, Wausau, WI 54403
Segment difficulty: Easy
Segment length: 2.7 miles
Trail Type: Urban

Oak Island Park Landing to Rothschild Dam

Trailhead coordinates/address: 44.953182, -89.629095
500 River Dr, Wausau, WI 54403
Segment difficulty: Easy
Segment length: 8.3 miles
Trail Type: Semi-urban

Rothschild Dam to Chuck’s Landing

Trailhead coordinates/address: 44.891808, -89.629751
115 Sunrise Dr, Wausau, WI 54401
Segment difficulty: Moderate
Segment length: 10.6 miles
Trail Type: Scenic

Chuck’s Landing to Lake DuBay Dam

Trailhead coordinates/address: 44.787115, -89.704946
299-101 Fremont St, Mosinee, WI 54455
Segment difficulty: Easy
Segment length: 14.5 miles
Trail Type: Scenic

Lower Big Rib River Water Trail

Trailhead coordinates/address: 44.933874, -89.843461
W5M4+HJ2 Marathon City, Wisconsin
Segment difficulty:
Segment length: 16 miles
Trail Type: Scenic

Lower Eau Claire River Trail

Trailhead coordinates/address: 44.928070, -89.574417
3903 Northwestern Ave, Wausau, WI 54403
Segment difficulty: 
Segment length: 6 miles
Trail Type: Urban

Whitewater River Streams

Looking for a heart-pumping experience? There are several features that may offer some difficulty as well such as a hole midway through and shallow rocks. One of the most difficult whitewater rafting in this area is offered by the Eau Claire River (class lV). It is 4.7 miles long with short stretches of rapids, intense zig-zag channels and drops that go through beautiful scenic dells.

Northcentral Wisconsin has whitewater streams for everyone – from Class ll to Class lV.

Pine River (class ll)

Pine River (class ll) offers a 2.2 miles of beautiful steep-walled section of the river. With a higher flow rate you can expect a few eddies and some fine surfing waves.

Prairie River (class ll-lll)

Prairie River (class ll-lll) is 2.7 miles of continuous ll-lll whitewater. Somewhat of a hidden gem it offers a gorgeous view of a gorge with rock formations and a creek-type feeling due to the narrowness of the river. You can also check out the remnants of an old wooden dam that has since been removed.

Trappe River (class lll)

Trappe River (class lll) is 2.7 miles of beautiful Wisconsin scenery and waters. There is about 200 yards of significant rapids that is more difficult than the rest of the run.

Internet

Whether you want to back up your photos, facetime a friend, or reach emergency services, access to the internet is important. Overall, along the trail you should find that you get good service but there are a few areas where you won’t be able to stay connected. At the Grandmother Dam Portage mile marker 118 in Lincoln County you may find that you will not have internet service until you get to Alexander Dam Portage mile marker 134 in Lincoln County. From Alexander Dam Portage, you will get poor service until you get to Ott’s Park Landing mile marker 137 in Lincoln County. Once you reach Ott’s Park Landing your internet coverage should be good for the rest of the trip.

Internet

Whether you want to back up your photos, facetime a friend, or reach emergency services, access to the internet is important. Overall, along the trail you should find that you get good service but there are a few areas where you won’t be able to stay connected. At the Grandmother Dam Portage mile marker 118 in Lincoln County you may find that you will not have internet service until you get to Alexander Dam Portage mile marker 134 in Lincoln County. From Alexander Dam Portage, you will get poor service until you get to Ott’s Park Landing mile marker 137 in Lincoln County. Once you reach Ott’s Park Landing your internet coverage should be good for the rest of the trip.

Learn local history as you paddle

Marathon County’s historical significance to the state of Wisconsin can be traced back to the 1800-s, when logging became prominent in the area. The area has changed significantly over the past 200 years. Stop at each landing and view the landing signs to discover local stories.

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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