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Location: Northwest edge of city of Racine.
Shuttle Length: 0.2-0.6 miles.
Character: High tree-lined banks provide a ‘wilderness’ feel in a county park, where sloping bedrock creates fine playable features.
Put-in is approximately 620′ elevation.
Take-out is approximately 600′ elevation.
Thus total elevation change is approximately 20′.
Shallow bedrock ledges in a fairly uniform width, unobstructed channel create a sweet series of green (ok, more like brown) waves for surfs and (at high water) major freestyle action. Many who have done this reach (at levels above 1400-1800 cfs) have proclaimed it contains among of the best play waves in the state! Not bad, considering it’s in the southeast corner of the state where one would not expect to find good whitewater!
Access and parking are convenient both at the upper put-in by the Horlick Dam and at the take-out in Quarry Lake Park. (Most boaters just park at the take-out and carry up to their chosen put-in.
In winter or early spring when the water is up, don’t let a windy, raw day discourage you from boating this reach. High banks flank the river, sheltering you from almost all wind conditions while on the water. (It will only be a factor as you ‘carry up’ in the park.) I’ve boated it with the temperature in the low 30’s, and wind-chills of single-digits or teens, and have been fine while on the river. Additionally, the existence of the dam and its millpond (at the head of this reach) holds back ice in winter. The stretch that we boat downstream of the dam will often flush free of ice after a day or two of winter warming, allowing for reasonably safe boating.
Canoe and Kayak rentals are available at the Root River Environmental Education Community Center (REC) and at River Bend Nature Center.