This portion of the Red Cedar is very scenic, the best part of the river, in my opinion. The put-in is below the Mikana Dam and it is relatively narrow there, definitely shallow. The river as a whole is pretty wide, though shallow. If the river isn’t high, you will likely get stuck a lot.
The river is fairly uninhabited and winds through forest and farmland. There are a few bridges to go under, including Highway 48. After 48, you don’t have far to go to take out at Red Barn Landing (across the street from the business.) There are a few more landings further down, though it gets quite confusing to tell where you are with the backwaters of Rice Lake. I have also used another takeout on Rice Lake.
There are eagles, deer, ducks and herons on this section.
Resources are http://www.co.barron.wi.us/misc%20docs/maps/redcedarriver.pdf and a gazetteer helps if you want to find other boat landings on or near Rice Lake.
Last paddled May 23, 2016
The Totogatic River from Highway G to Old 53 is a very nice paddle, except for a few parts that make it challenging for those who are less adventurous. The river is relatively narrow and deep (with sand bars on curves) for most of the section. There are some riffles throughout the ride, otherwise the water is slower-moving.
Before the Salisbury Road Bridge, there are a lot of downed trees to cross. Another trouble area is a mile or two before Highway 53. The river seemed to straighten out; there were lots of oxbows to either side with lots of standing water, and the flow here didn’t seem as strong. There might have been alternate routes that the water was taking. There were lots of downed trees here that I actually had to portage around, not just climb over.
Other than these two places, while the river has downed trees, most can be paddled under or around, while a few have to be gone over, or you have to drag your boat over a sandbar. The rest of the trip was beautiful, minus the bugs. There were some deer flies and lots of mosquitoes.
There was a lot of evidence of the massive flood in July. There were banks that had been eroded, trees down, sand deposited on top of the banks, mud on trees, less vegetation where the current had been strong, and a very steep, sandy embankment to climb out at the end. There were logs that had been shoved up underneath Highway 53 when the river crested, at least twenty feet above our heads. It would have been spectacular to see the power of the flood in motion, but was cool to see its evidence afterwards.
This section of river has lots of silver maple, some basswood, pine and tag alder. The recent flooding was evident with dirt on banks and shrubs, as well as random deposits of sand. Sensitive fern was plentiful on the shores. Wildlife I saw included young ducks (mallards and wood), kingfishers and I heard an eagle.
The trip from Springbrook to Big Bend is a nice one, pretty quick and scenic. There are some riffles that you encounter on this section but they are very manageable.
The land here is lower than much of the Namekagon – much more wetland looking than much of the river with its high banks. There are white oak and tag alder lining the shores and I saw a deer in the river. There are three campsites on this portion of river.
The resources for this section are https://www.nps.gov/sacn/planyourvisit/upload/2014-Namekagon-Map2BW.pdf, Paddling Northern Wisconsin by Mike Svob and Canoeing the Wild Rivers of Northwest Wisconsin.