Past Meetup

Sugar River - County Road EE to Sweet Minnihaha Campground ( about 8 Miles)

This Meetup is past

24 people went


“This is a really fun kayak river adventure. We will take about an hour for lunch in beautiful downtown Albany, WI. Last time we did this we had good participation. And you may rent a kayak from Sweet Minnihaha excuse for staying home!”

This event is back by popular demand!! We are launching at CTY HWY EE on the Sugar River. (Hard to miss this launch point as about 50 cars may park there. It is on the south side of HWY EE. It is a gravel parking lot. No waste bins or potty stations).

Paddling to Albany, WI is very scenic with lots of trees, curves, some low hanging branches, wildlife and serenity. When we get to the dam at Albany we will take a lunch break, and walk a quarter mile to the Edgewater Pub in bustling downtown Albany. (There is a bakery across the street and a few bars, food is great).

Portaging around the Albany dam at the city pier is easy and when we get there we are at the halfway point. The current above the dam is weak, so don't worry about going over the dam. The cement landing is carpeted with canvas to protect your water craft and dimpled so you don't slip, really well designed. The second half of the trip is from Albany to Sweet Minnihaha Campground N4697 County Road E Brodhead, WI 53520-9628 - (608) 862-3769 where we exit the river. This is a private park and we should expect about a $2.00 parking fee per person.

If you rent a kayak from Sweet Minnihaha, they will deliver the kayak to the Hwy EE boat launch. Then you paddle the river and put it on the bank at the campground. Nothing is easier. If you check in at Minnihaha they will also transport you to the starting point with your kayak. That way you may park at the campgrounds and when your trip ends you just walk up the bank to your car and drive off.

If you are using your own kayak or canoe, read on:

How we shuttled cars: Last time we met at HWY EE at 8:30am, drove to the campground and asked to park. They asked how many were in our group and charged $2.00 per person for parking and river exit fees (you are responsible for your own fees). They then gave us a sticker to hang from our mirror. We then returned to HWY EE and launched the kayaks at about 9:00-10:00am. When we arrived at the campground exit point (about 3:00pm), we walked up the hill, got the cars and drove down to the river, packed up the watercraft and left...really easy. The $2.00 covers both parking at the camp and watercraft exit fees. This may seem disorganized but it works out well. Some vehicles will be at the campground and some at the boat launch. That's just how it is when you are shuttling vehicles. Obviously, we help each other as needed during the trip.

The second half of the trip, below the dam to the campground, may be congested with inner-tubers. During the Memorial Day trip 2010, there were hundreds of people tubing down this stretch of the river having a great time. Don't know what to expect this time. The behavior of the tubers was...interesting.

Now, if you are renting a watercraft from Sweet Minnihaha, I'm sure they will be well organized as they rent hundreds of inner-tubes and canoes/kayaks every weekend. They will also shuttle you for a fee. The launching site at Hwy EE is a regular drop off point for them. When you contact them about renting, let them know you want to launch from HWY EE at 9:00am. They will inform you when you have to arrive at the campground to meet our launch schedule. Don't know their rental fees, you will need to call the campground (probably $25-35 for the day). Since this is a popular weekend you must schedule your rental ASAP.

We should complete our trip by 2:00-3:00pm. The pace is leisurely, and except in a few areas the river is wide enough so you can match up and carry on a conversation. If you have rented, all you have to do is pull your watercraft on the bank...Minnihaha does the rest.

Please remember to bring an extra set of clothes, gloves, hat, shoes, life vest, eye wear, flashlight, fluids, snacks, and any other safety equipment needed (kayaks and canoes do tip on occasion so having a dry set of clothes is nice). This area of the river is expected to be clear of obstructions. Above the dam is normally clear, but a tree can fall over the river necessitating a short portage. Below the dam is always clear. Put your phone and camera in a watertight bags as they don’t work well when wet. I’ll have a phone along for safety purposes. Please remember fluids and snacks. Please let me know if you cannot swim or are a poor swimmer or have any physical handicaps. Well-behaved children are welcome if they have previous kayaking experience. The landing does not have a bathroom. The campground facilities are good. The launching area is on the West side of the river. The campground is on the East. Getting back to your vehicle is not an issue.

If poor weather is forecast, I’ll post a cancellation notice early by Sunday morning, no later than 6:00am. Excellent weather updates can be found here (

The campground provides rentals and shuttling services. It's warming up, again, remember your fluids, hats, paddling gloves, etc. Normally there are not bugs over moving water, but you still may want to bring a bug spray.

It is possible to get a DUI in a canoe or kayak. It's an open bar for tubers.

Ron Inda...245-0836. I turn my phone off while driving and when I'm on the water.

If you schedule a kayak or canoe from Sweet Minnihaha Campgrounds and cannot make the trip, please let them know ASAP of your cancellation. Otherwise they waste a lot of time trying to find you. Please be courteous.

The Madison Area Outdoor Meetup Group is not an outfitter. We are not insured. We are a group of friends that get together and enjoy the outdoors. Therefore, when you travel with us you do so at your own risk. Your participation is your acceptance of this waiver.