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La Crosse County Convention & Visitor Bureau
Paddling in La Crosse, WI
The meandering waterways of the La Crosse area are a paddling paradise, offering wetlands courses for gentle canoe rides as well as moderate to strenuous kayaking adventures along the Mississippi, Black, or La Crosse Rivers. Canoe trails, launches, and outfitters abound in the area, making it one of the best paddling destinations in the region.
Goose Island Campground & Park
Situated directly on the Mississippi River just three miles south of La Crosse, Wisconsin’s largest county campground is popular for its nature trails, excellent fishing, and beautiful views and sunsets. The canoe trail has seven miles of moderate paddling that will take you 4 to 5 hours to complete. Half of the trip will be paddling against the current, and strong currents are possible during high water. Canoe rentals available from Goose Island County Park. Directions from La Crosse: Take HWY 35 south to County HWY GI (west), the road into Goose Island County Park. The canoe trail may be accessed from any of the four boat ramps within the park.
Neshonoc Lakeside Campground Resort
One of Western Wisconsin’s most popular campground destinations, located in West Salem, just 14 miles from La Crosse. Neshonoc Lakeside Campground Resort offers canoe and kayak rentals for paddlers who wish to explore and relax on Lake Neshonoc’s beautiful, placid waters.
Pettibone Park Resort
This 115-site campground is located directly across the Mississippi River’s main channel from downtown La Crosse, offering excellent access to the myriad backwaters and smaller channels meandering through the area, as well as canoe and paddleboat rentals to explore them.
Upper Mississippi National Fish & Wildlife Refuge Canoe Trails
The 240,000-acre refuge encompasses 231 miles of Mississippi, from the Chippewa River in the north to Rock Island, IL, in the south. Along the way, 96 miles of canoe trails from beginner to expert levels are marked out. Several of these trails are within easy driving distance of La Crosse. Paddlers should always take caution on the river, especially when water levels are high.
Lake Onalaska Canoe Trail: The newest marked trail on the refuge. Follow Mississippi River backwaters out onto Lake Onalaska. From Lytle’s Landing, it’s an easy 4 miles to Fred Funk Landing, or 7 miles to Mosey’s.
Long Lake Trail: Five miles of easy paddling through the Mississippi backwaters, requires 3 to 4 hours to complete. Directions from La Crosse: Take HWY 35 N to Trempealeau, head south on Fremont Street (Lake Road), pass the railroad tracks – 1.5 miles to Long Lake Landing.
Brown’s Marsh Canoe Area (Lytle’s Landing): Canoe area without a marked trail. Closed year-round to motorized watercraft, easy paddling. Directions from La Crosse: Take HWY 35 N, turn left on Cnty Rd OT, turn left onto Cnty Rd ZN, turn right onto Cnty Rd Z. Follow Z to the end of the road.
La Crosse River
The La Crosse River is an often-overlooked paddle from Lake Neshonoc in West Salem, through the Onalaska area, all the way to Riverside Park in La Crosse. With 6 conveniently spaced boat landings situated below Lake Neshonoc, you can plan for a quick paddle or an all-day, leisurely paddle.
Check out Schafer’s River Rentals Canoe and Kayak rentals on Lake Onalaska. They also have pontoons and fishing boats to get you out on the water.
- Hiking Trails
- Planned Activities