Flambeau River Trail - North Fork Turtle Dam to Park Falls.

Total: 18 miles.

Rating: Intermediate-Expert.


The North Fork of the Flambeau River is a fast, exciting trip, with many Class I and Class II rapids and several Class III rapids. Water levels can fluctuate on this stretch. High water increases the hazard of rapids while low water increases the opportunity of hitting rocks. The paddler should consult a more detailed water trail guide of this route to help in scouting the rapids.

The trip can be a fast 1-day or a more leisurely 2-day paddle. It is generally a 6-hour trip.

  • The put-in is at the public boat ramp below the Turtle Dam and first pitch of Haystack Rapids.

The river will narrow quickly to 25 feet dropping rapidly at Notch Rapids (Class III). The current will tend to slam you into the rock wall on the outside bend. At the bottom of the rapids, go between the big rock on the right side and another rock in the middle of the river. Island Rapids (Class II) follows. Stay to the left side of the island. There is an old logging boom between the right shore and the island making this route impassable. Fast, fun riffles follow. Flat Rapids are wide and should pose no problems. 3 miles downstream, at Pete's Landing, drinking water is available.

Go right around Bear Skull Rock standing in the middle of the river about 3/4 mile downstream. Shoot the center of the small rapids that follows.

In the next 3 miles to Stangle Landing, medium-fast current and several rapids will be met. Quinn Rapids (Class II) should be run fast and through the center. The 3 pitches of Stub's Rapids (Class I) follows. Watch for a large rock in the center of the river below Stub's.

  • Stangle Landing follows and is a possible take-out or camping site.

A series of Class II rapids follows. The water is fast with lots of boulders to dodge. The first 3 rapids should pose no problems, but when in doubt...scout! At Pine Tree Rapids (Class II), run under the pine on the far left side. The Ledge is a long, winding rapids. Take it to the extreme left.

The river then forks around 2 islands. At the first island, take the left fork and at the second island take the right fork. Beginning at the second island a rapid succession of 6 numerically named rapids, follows. Most are Class II. Sixth, Fifth, Fourth, and Third Rapids are easy to run, but Second Rapids has a thrilling drop. Take it to the left through the "V". First Rapids (Class II) ends the set.

A 5-mile stretch of flat water precedes the take-outs at the City of Park Falls.

  • The first take-outs may be made at the Park Falls Country Club on the left shore.
  • Or the paddler can continue approximately 3/4 mile to the Flambeau Paper Company Dam on Hwy. 182 in Park Falls. Portage right at the dam.

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