Turtle River Trail – North Turtle Lake to Lake of the Falls County Park.
Total: 27 miles.
There are many put-in and take-out possibilities on the Turtle offering a wide variety of trips.
- The furthest upstream put-in is on Co. Hwy. W on North Turtle Lake. From here to Cedar Lake several low bridges and brushy sections of river may be found.
- Paddlers may prefer to put-in at the Cedar Lake boat landing on Co. W to avoid these obstacles.
- A portage is required at Shay’s Dam, another popular put-in/take-out spot. There are picnic facilities here. Downstream from Shay’s Dam, the river’s character changes. Class I and II rapids and faster water connecting larger lakes will be found. During low water some stretches may be difficult to negotiate. When in doubt…scout!
A short Class II rapids is approximately 1 mile below Shay’s Dam. A low hazard Class I rapids comes before a road crossing just downstream.
The Turtle meanders through Spider and Oxbow Lakes. Below Oxbow Lake, Oxbow Rapids (Class I) and the more challenging Robinson Rapids (Class II), are found. Paddling through Echo and Rice Lakes, the two pitches of Rice Lake Falls are found. The first pitch, Doronzo Rapids (Class II), is just downstream from Echo Lake outlet. A medium hazard Class II rapids is found at the out let of Rice Lake.
Calmer water precedes the second pitch of Rice Lake Falls. This is a short, but powerful rapids that sweeps under a bridge. A portage may be necessary. The river narrows and resumes a calmer attitude with a few riffles as it passes under Hwy. 51.
- A take-out may be made here. The paddling time from Shay’s Dam to the Hwy. 51 bridge is about 4-5 hours depending on wind conditions and paddling speed.
The Turtle continues into Pike Lake. Low hazard Weber Rapids is at the outlet of Pike Lake. As you enter Lake of the Falls, stay to the left shore for the fastest route to its outlet.
Portage right at the Lake of the Falls at Co. Hwy. FF, marking the conclusion of the trip.
- Camping and water are available at the Iron County Park located here.
An extra 8 1/2 hours of paddling from this point through the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage to the Turtle Dam can be added for an extended trip. (See river route #2 for the information on the Turtle-Flambeau route).
To request a Canoe/Kayak guide, go to the: information request page.