kayak pictureSpend some time paddling around Madison! MSCR has a fleet of canoes and kayaks, offering introduction to paddling classes and paddling trips in the summer and fall. We provide instruction, lifejackets, boats and paddles. Our trips range from beginner level to advanced, with the longer trips requiring more endurance and the ability to sit in a boat for up to 5 hours. Experienced instructors teach everything you need to successfully navigate the water and are your guides during the trip. You can find more information, including dates and times, in the MSCR Program Guide.

We offer the following classes:

Introduction to Canoeing and Introduction to Kayaking

Learn the basics to start paddling safely. These courses last two hours and give introductory information about boats, safety equipment, water safety, and paddling techniques. If you’ve never been in a boat before, this is a great place to start!

Beginner Paddling Trips

These are great opportunities to try a short paddling trip and build your paddling skills. Trips last no more than three hours and require little to no shuttling.

Lake Monona Paddle

Paddle through Lake Monona starting at Wingra Dam and follow the river to view the Monona Terrace and State Capital, ending at Brittingham Park. This short trip is only two hours and is a great follow up to the introduction course.

Six Mile Creek

Paddle on Lake Mendota up Six Mile Creek. This trip begins and ends at Governor Nelson State Park, making it about a two hour loop.

Navigating the Narrow

Learn to navigate a small current while increasing your endurance. A slightly longer paddle, this trip starts at the Tenney Park locks, through the Yahara narrow, then across Lake Monona. This trip takes about two and a half hours.

group getting ready to paddleIntermediate Paddling Trips

As your stamina improves and you become more comfortable in a boat try an intermediate trip. Trips last no more than four hours and involve a bit more traveling. For some trips it is necessary to run a shuttle, which is arranged with participants prior to the trip.

Cherokee Marsh

A quiet, relaxing trip through Madison’s Hidden Gem: Cherokee Marsh. Depending on time and weather you can paddle through the Upper Yahara and Token Creek as well. This trip lasts about three hours.

Cruising the Lakes

Typically an evening trip, the trip begins at Babcock Park in McFarland and meanders through the Yahara and Mud Lake into Lake Kegonsa. This trip lasts around three hours.

Lake Mendota Tour

Paddle the south shore of the largest of the Yahara River chain lakes: Lake Mendota. Paddle past Second Point, Picnic Point, the UW Shoreline, Memorial Union, and past the downtown skyline to finish at Tenney Park. This trip lasts four hours and is a great transition into the full day trips.

Full day Paddling Trips

Can’t get enough? Try a full day trip, bring your lunch and plenty of paddling stamina. You are in a boat up to five hours. These trips require longer travel distances and require participants to shuttle from the put in to the take out.

Lower Yahara

A full day spent traveling down the mighty Yahara to Fulton. Participants meet at LaFollette High School then carpool to the Stebbonsville Dam, about six miles south of Stoughton.

Kickin’ the Kickapoo

Observe gorgeous rock walls and wooded bluffs as you wind down the Kickapoo River, the most crooked river in Wisconsin. Participants meet at Memorial High School parking lot to carpool to the put in.

Wild for Wisconsin

Spend a full day navigating the current of the Wisconsin River. Paddle from Sauk City all the way to Arena. Pass the Ferry Bluff State Natural Area and Mazomanie Bottoms State Natural Area along the way. Participants meet at Memorial High School to carpool to Sauk City.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a group of eight or more who would be interested in an introductory paddling class or a trip? We provide equipment and instructors to offer an introductory paddling course and can schedule a trip most suited for their level of comfort paddling. These opportunities are for participants ages 10+ and can be organized with the MSCR Recreation Specialist for Experiential Programs, Emily Peffer This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 608-204-4580