Kickapoo River Wisconsin - Ontario to La Farge

I would like to do a camping trip to the Kickapoo river in Wisconsin the last weekend in Sept with fall foliage and wonder if there is interest. I posted photos from a trip last year on our club's facebook page. It is a gorgeous paddle. Beautiful bluff and some nice eddies and riffles.We can either camp at wilton where no reservations needed or Wildcat Mountain campground (gorgeous but that needs reservations). I plan to check further on both options. Both campgrounds are near the river and the Sparta-Elroy bike trail. It's about a 4 3/4 hour drive from Peoria. We would camp Friday night. Paddle saturday and sunday and drive home late afternoon on Sunday. There is electric and showers at both campsites.  If anyone wants hotels there are several available nearby.

 ADDENDUM 9/1/13

 I checked on campsites and at this time the plan is for the Village of Wilton campground.  I like Wildcat Mountain State Park but the group sites are already reserved and unavailable.  There are a number of family sites available next to each other but that would be complicated with reservations - esp with the need to pay first and if people cancel or join up late.  Also it's $10/day vehicle admission charge for that state park  in addition to the camping fee at Wildcat. 

The Wilton campground is $7 / day for adults, $4/day for under $18 and $3/day for electric and accommodates pull behind trailers, pickup campers, motor homes and tent camping. More importantly no reservations. The park has drinking water, restrooms, showers, electricity, a public swimming pool and ball diamonds and volleyball courts. 

For those who want to bike be aware that the very famous Elroy-Sparta trail requires a state trail pass - it is $4/day or $20 annually. No fee for walking - just for biking. The trail pass is issued to the person - not the bike and is nontransferable. 

If you want to go to the state park or bike the trail _

There are many options for buying state park stickers and state trail passes:          Most visitors buy their daily or annual sticker when they get to a state park and forest entrance. Visa, MasterCard and Discover are accepted when the park office is open. Self-registration stations are available for payment of fees when the office is closed.Department of Natural Resources service centers sell stickers and state trail passes.Some businesses near state trails sell state trail passes.Annual admission stickers and state trail passes can be purchased over the phone by calling the DNR at[masked] between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.

Here is a google map link to the campsite - From Highway 71 (Walker Street)  you turn south on East street and it is just past the Village Hall and Swimming Pool.  The map would not let me put the arrow at the exact spot but it shows East street by the pool. The campsite is on the southeast side of Wilton , next to the Kickapoo River. 

http://goo.gl/maps/hlMFp

Some of the access points on the river are managed by the Kickapoo Valley Association http://www.kickapoovalley.org/
 
They provide a nice river map: http://kvr.state.wi.us/docview....

Although the put-in on day 1 and the takeout on day 2 had free parking last year there was a $4 per car fee to park at the take out on Saturday and the put in on Sunday. I'm not sure which midway takeouts have fees so bring some small bills just in case. This money is a user fee to support the access sites and develop trails along the river.

My current plan is to paddle Ontario (Landing 1) to Landing 12 (12.5 miles) on Saturday. On Sunday we will paddle Landing 12 to La Farge (Landing 20) - 9.8 miles. Any comments let me know. Here is a google map of the put-ins with driving directions from the campground.   A is campground,  B= Ontario  C=Landing 12  D=La Farge
http://goo.gl/maps/dnLpA




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  • Karen K

    The trip went well. 8 people came - Shanna's daughter biked and did not paddle - so 7 people paddled. I thought the river levels were a little low but fine. There was occasionally scraping but most of us never had to get out of our boats. No one dunked. The river was pretty calm . The first day we had a fun ledge. The second day, more eddies and current than Saturday. We had stunning scenery and beautiful rock formations.

    Rain came in Saturday at about 2:00 - so about 1/2 hour or so before we got off the river and it rained until 8 or 9 pm so we hung out at camp and at a restaurant. We paddled Ontario to Landing 10 on Saturday - shortening it because of the forecast. Day 2 three of us paddled landing 14 to La Farge as people wanted a shorter trip. Others biked. The weather and current was beautiful sunday. Gauge levels - Kickapoo at Ontario -[masked] cfs saturday and 8.45 and 58 cfs sunday. Kickapoo at La Farge 2.8, 120 cfs saturday and 3.0 & 150 cfs Sunday.

    October 1, 2013

    • Karen K

      For future reference we paddled Ontario to Landing 10 in almost exactly 5 hours on the river (including a lunch stop). It was 12.6 miles per my GPS. It was so beautiful it probably would have taken longer if we weren't worried about rain. Day 2 we paddled Land 14 - La Farge - 8.1 miles by my gps in 2 hours and 15 minutes but there were only 3 of us and no lunch stop.

      October 1, 2013

  • Diane S.

    If John Denver were here, this weekend would have inspired a new song: Leaves, wind, fragrance, sky, water, etc, and friends. don't think he ever combined all topics in one.....Maybe a project for Jerry Vandiver.....Let's think of a title for him!
    Glad I got to shuttle you guys on Sun - Great scenic drive back and then Scenic bike ride with Shanna and Riley :)
    Sat Paddle was fun, we got off the water just in time!

    1 · September 30, 2013

  • dan g.

    It was great. Leaves changing, plenty of water, and amazing cliffs. Also some great folks.

    September 29, 2013

  • Dave P.

    Hi

    I am going to De Forest to purchase a Moore solo canoe. I all goes well I plan to drive up the campground, stay the night and canoe Saturday. Can't do Sunday, have to get back, so I will leave Saturday night or Sunday morning. Hope to see you all ther.

    September 26, 2013

    • Karen K

      We will be at Wilton Friday - 6 definates at this time. FYI there is 70% chance of rain saturday although friday and sunday looks good. It's possible saturday plans may change depending on weather - rain is ok but if thunderstorm issue we will see. There are earlier takeouts that we might leave cars at if forecast is concerning.

      September 26, 2013

  • dan g.

    70% chance of rain on Saturday... Need to keep an eye on the weather.

    September 25, 2013

  • Diane S.

    Looks like weather will be above normal temps if forecast holds :)

    September 23, 2013

  • Karen K

    I see there have been some reservation changes. As of now we have 6 - 7 paddlers going. (someone else called who does not do meetup). That should be a nice size for a group.

    Don't forget to bring a change in clothes in a dry bag for your kayak in case of dunking. Although dunking is unlikely it's possible and it could be chilly so wet clothes would be a big issue.

    If the first people at the campsite at Wilton could help with getting firewood I and others can all pitch in to reimburse whoever that is. Just let us know the cost. You need to purchase the firewood and there is a park attendant who sells it when he comes around.

    I don't know if you people noticed but from Peoria - the Rutabaga store is almost directly on the way so I plan to do some shopping on my way there on Friday.

    September 21, 2013

    • Diane S.

      Good advice Karen - Personally I would rather not have a fire - What does everyone else think?

      September 22, 2013

    • Karen K

      I definitely want a fire. I get cold - it keeps away bugs - and you cook food over it!! :) At this site they just want you to purchase and not bring your own. I don't know what the rules are with scavenging but since they mention purchasing I guess that's what people do.

      September 22, 2013

  • Ben T

    Stuff has come up that I need to take care of.

    September 21, 2013

  • Ben T

    Hay all, my wife doesn't paddle, but is coming along to do cranfest (www.cranfest.com) with my Wisconsin cousins. Anybody else have non-paddlers coming along that might want to do things together?

    September 16, 2013

  • Karen K

    FYI for people. I checked with the Wilton campground and they said only the US Cellular cellphones work around there.

    September 11, 2013

  • Ben T

    About 2 blocks from the campground in wilton

    September 9, 2013

  • Ben T

    Well there was just a cancellation at the little hotel in town so I grabbed it. Its cranfest in warren Wisconsin that weekend, suppose to be a big deal. So I had to book Friday thru Monday. Which is okay, I wasn't looking forward to try to drive back Sunday after paddling. Btw the hotel owner does not think it Will pack out the campground.

    September 9, 2013

    • Karen K

      I'm glad you are going - should be fun. There are several towns La Farge and Ontario that had a couple hotels and the distance between them is not bad. Is your hotel in Wilton or a different town.

      September 9, 2013

  • Karen K

    More info from the campground - You can not put your canoe in in Wilton, too shallow and too many fences across the river. (I asked since they are on the river). First put in is in Ontario...

    We have a park attendant who will come around and collect the fees from you, we do have a bathhouse with flush toilets, hot showers-50 cents for 4 minutes and a laundry facility. We do sell campfire wood for $3.00 a bundle, ask park attendant when checking in. No building or office, the park attendant will come to your site to collect.

    September 3, 2013

  • Karen K

    For timing the Current plan is to leave camp together Saturday at 8:15 to be at the put-in day 1 at 8:30. Sunrise is at 6:52 am and sunset is at 6:44 pm. I decided 8:15 because last year the large PSC group left for the put-in from Wildcat Mountain state park at 8:30. They will be there this same weekend. They are typically a large group so it would be easier if we get there before them.

    For Day two we could break camp by 8:30 to be at Landing 12 by 9:00 am. Or we could sleep in and leave later if people want to do so.

    These times are not set in stone but just the current plan. Again comments let me know.

    How long we are on the river both days depends on how we decide to pace it. I am estimating we would be off the river around 4 pm saturday and 3:00 pm Sunday but again these are only guesses. This is conservative and assumes a relatively slow pace (since it is pretty enough to stop alot and take photos).

    September 3, 2013

  • Karen K

    My current plan is to paddle Ontario (Landing 1) to Landing 12 (12.5 miles) on Saturday. On Sunday we will paddle Landing 12 to La Farge (Landing 20) - 9.8 miles. Any comments let me know. Here is a google map of the put-ins with driving directions from the campground. A is campground, B= Ontario C=Landing 12 D=La Farge

    http://goo.gl/maps/dnLpA

    September 2, 2013

  • Karen K

    Some of the access points on the river are managed by the Kickapoo Valley Association http://www.kickapoovalley.org/
    They provide a nice river map: http://kvr.state.wi.us/docview.asp?docid=10916&locid=115 Although the put-in on day 1 and the takeout on day 2 had free parking last year there was a $4 per car fee to park at the take out on Saturday and the put in on Sunday. I'm not sure which midway takeouts have fees so bring some small bills just in case. This money is a user fee to support the access sites and develop trails along the river.

    September 2, 2013

  • Karen K

    We will be camping at Wilton - see the update in the description. We don't need state vehicle or trail passes for this trip - I only included info for that for those who might want to go to the parks or bike there since it is so close. So far we have 9 paddlers planning to come. I have posted this with 2 other nearby paddling clubs also. (The Mackinaw and Saukenuk clubs)

    September 2, 2013

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