This 11.5-mile stretch of the Namekagon provided a variety of experiences on the river as well as some spectacular wildlife viewing. Along the way, there were fast-moving riffles, flat moving water and flowages/lakes from past and present dams.
Between Larsen Landing and Phipps Landing, the Namekagon is a swiftly flowing river with some riffles (and a little bit of scarping on the river bottom if you choose the wrong channel.)
At Phipps Landing, the current lows and you head into Phipps Flowage. This is a great area for wild rice gathering in the fall. At the end of the flowage, there is an old dam that paddlers can either portage (on river right) or go over. I always choose to ride over this fun, short drop.
For the next mile, there is some elevation change with more riffles that take you past Trout Run Landing. The river continues to run with current until Eagle’s Landing (not owned by the National Park Service.) Here, it slows and heads into Hayward Lake. Around here, you start to see homes, taking away from the pristine experience of the first 2/3 of the trip.
As you follow the lake, you make a right turn towards the water tower. Once relatively close to the water tower, you will see old posts from what looks like an old pier. If you follow them as if they were an arrow pointing the right way, you will get to the area of the lake where the dam is.
We took out at Hayward City Beach. When taking out there, be aware of a lot of poison ivy right near the motor boat landing. The dam is a little bit further up and can be portaged on the left.
On the day that we did this section of river, the water levels were declining. This section had blue flag iris, tag alder, white pine, horsetail and cattails, among many other plants too numerous to count. The coolest wildlife sighting that I saw was an osprey carrying a fish right over me! Other wildlife seen on my most recent trip was a mama and baby merganser and a muskrat.
This section was paddled on July 4, 2016 and took about 3.5 hours in a kayak. The book Canoeing the Wild Rivers of Northwestern Wisconsin has this section of the river in it and maps can be found from the National park Service at https://www.nps.gov/sacn/planyourvisit/upload/NRMap-1Color.pdf.