PADDLING In Alma
Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge

Paddling the Mississippi Backwaters of Alma, Wisconsin
Shared by K C Goodman With Alma Area Chamber Of Commerce


ALMA VISITOR CENTER

118 N Main Street, Alma, Wisconsin
608-685-3303 | info@almawisconsin.com

PADDLING In Alma

Whether you kayak or canoe there are many opportunities to get out and enjoy the backwaters of the Upper Mississippi River in Alma and Buffalo County, Wisconsin.

 

Enjoy the rivers & lakes, the bluffs and the bald eagles flying overhead.  Beaver & muskrat are along the shore.  Great blue heron are fishing.

 

The paddle trips below take about 3 hours round trip with lots of liesure time to enjoy being out on the backwaters.  All have been completed by beginning paddlers. 

 

Make sure you wear your life vest, have plenty of water and take a map along.

RESOURCES

Rent kayaks and canoes at Merrick State Park or bring your own.  Alma has several boat landings.

MAPS of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge, US Fish & Wildlife Service

  

PADDLING TRAILS

ALMA to FINGER LAKES CANOE TRAIL

(Designated A National Trail)

In Alma, Wisconsin at the boat landing on the south side of town (WI State Highway 35) and the Dairyland Power Plant.  Paddle across the main channel (watch for boat & barge traffic) angling toward the North to the islands.  Trail enters through the islands and winds all the way to Finger Lakes.  There is one "dead fall" tree where you need to work your way through but it is passable or you can portage on land to the right. 


This is an official USFWS canoe tral with signage, although most of the signage is for those paddling from the other direction.

NELSON-TREVINO BOTTOMS CANOE TRAIL

(Designated A National Trail)

From Nelson, Wisconsin, take WI State Highway 25 west towards Wabasha, Minnesota. The Nelson/Trevino Landing is located on the north side of Highway 25 and the Pontoon Slough Landing is located on the south side of Highway 25.

 

This is an official USFWS canoe trail with signage.

NELSON-TREVINO BOTTOMS CANOE TRAIL

to BIG LAKE

From Nelson, Wisconsin, take WI State Highway 25 west towards Wabasha, Minnesota. The Nelson/Trevino Landing is located on the north side of Highway 25 and the Pontoon Slough Landing is located on the south side of Highway 25.

 

Paddled the trail all the way out to Big Lake across from Cedar Ridge Resort.  This is where 1000s of tundra swans gather in the Fall.  Lots of bald eagles in the backwaters.  Several great blue herons.

 

This is an official USFWS canoe trail with signage.

BUFFALO RIVER/RIECKS LAKE TRAIL

From Alma, Wisconsin, take WI State Highway 35 north.  Rieck's Lake Park is on the right side and Brekow's Landing is located on the left side. 

 

Paddling to the left out of Brekow's Landing, go under the Highway 35 bridge and paddle to the right into the Buffalo River. 

 

This winding river is shallow and narrow but the paddling is great and the views of the Buffalo River Valley are exceptional.  Follow the open path among the wetland grasses and keep turning right ... you will end up in Rieck's Lake in front of the small park where Tundra Swans gather in the fall.  Leaving the lake to the left you will return to the highway bridge, pass under and to the right to return to Brekow's Landing.

BEEF SLOUGH/MISSISSIPPI BACKWATERS TRAIL

From Alma, Wisconsin, take WI State Highway 35 north.  Rieck's Lake Park is on the right side and Brekow's Landing is located on the left side. 

 

Paddle to the left out of Brekow's Landing until you reach the flowage from the Buffalo River out into Beef Slough and the backwaters of the Mississippi River.  Paddle to the right, going under the railroad bridge.  At this point you are in Beef Slough, paddle to the right. 

 

Beef Slough was a holding place for logs in the 19th century and it makes a great paddling trip.  Follow the slough to the end and you will come to a sand island on the Mississippi River just waiting to be explored.  Leaving the island to the left you will return to the railroad bridge, pass under and to the left to return to Brekow's Landing.

BELVIDERE SLOUGH/MISSISSIPPI BACKWATERS TRAIL

From Alma, Wisconsin, take WI State Highway 35 south.  Turn right on County Hwy OO and make the short drive to Buffalo City.  Pomme de Terre Slough or Belividere Slough is on your right and you will see Belividere Slough Landing. 

 

You can paddle up river or down river, the choice is yours.  There are several cuts which lead into backwaters where motors are not allowed. 

SPRING LAKE TRAIL

From Alma, Wisconsin, take WI State Hwy 35 south.  Turn right on County Hwy OO and make the short drive to Buffalo City.  Spring Lake Landing is the southernmost landing on County Hwy 00, at the end of a dead end road. 

 

Spring Lake is a 300-acre lake on the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River.  From the landing head to the left and follow the dike road along the edge for beautiful views.  Sand islands reduce wind fetch and related waves. 

 

Even though there is open water it's shallow if you don't paddle past the dike road into the main channel.  Great views of Minnesota bluffs.

TIFFANY BOTTOMS/CHIPPEWA RIVER

From Alma, Wisconsin, take WI State Highway 35 north toward Pepin.  At the Chippewa River bridge turn right into the Chippewa River Landing.

 

Paddle out to the Chippewa River turning left.  Tiffany Bottoms State Wildlife Area is to your left, there are several entry points.  This is a premier birding spot and well known for Bald Eagle viewing, especially in the fall season as the backwaters begin to freeze..

TEEPEEOTA POINT/ROBINSON LAKE, MINNESOTA

From Alma, Wisconsin, take WI State Highway 35 north to Nelson.  Turn left on WI State Highway 25 crossing over to Wabasha, Minnesota.  Follow MN State Highway 60 through Wabasha, turn left on MN State Highway 35, turn left on MN State Highway 24.  Wilcox Landing turn off is on your left.

 

Paddle to the right through the backwaters along Teepeeota Point or to the left, following the channel, to Robinson Lake & Teepeeota Point.  Robinson Lake is a small, shallow body of water and provides great open viewing.  We even found Bald Eagles sitting on stumps in the water.

For Additional Information


Alma Area Chamber of Commerce
Visitor Center at Wings Over Alma

118 N Main Street
Alma, Wisconsin 54610, USA


Phone:  608-685-3303

Email:    info@almawisconsin.com


Paddling Photos Courtesy of K C Goodman