Whitewater Rafting in Marinette County


Whitewater Rafting in Marinette County

Marinette County has to be one of the best kept whitewater secrets of the upper Midwest. The Peshtigo River is well known for its splashy rock gardens, ledges, and drops with big waves and huge holes. The Menominee River offers big water flows from 1,500-15,000 cfs, much like you would find on the great eastern or western rivers. For private boaters, there are many hundreds of miles of rivers and streams to explore that have gradient falls and rapids almost all secluded in the County, State or National Forests.

Whitewater rafting is one of the fastest growing adventure sports. Just about anyone can do it, and it offers instant rewards for the beginner as well as plenty of new challenges and techniques to keep the accomplished rafter challenged. Whitewater rafting is the perfect outing for many groups of people. Scout, church and youth groups love the outdoors, the challenges, the way the river builds strength of character, and lifelong friendships. Companies and businesses use whitewater rafting trips to promote team building and fitness, as well as a general comradery among co-workers. Adrenaline junkies know that the river is a good place to get their fix. Between the adventure of the rapids, the beautiful forest land and wildlife along the way, and the company of good friends, it just can’t be beaten.

The Peshtigo is clearly a favorite whitewater rafting river. It is clean, cool, and free flowing, and it changes considerably with even minor water level changes. That makes it new and exciting every time you run it. Its rock gardens have endless play spots for the technical boater, and a fun splashy ride for the weekend or vacationing rafter. The ledges get huge waves and a few nice surfing and ender spots at higher levels, and some of the main rapids have huge holes and big falls. The Peshtigo offers a long stretch of rapids and rock gardens, and some claim it is one of the longest continuous stretches of whitewater in the region at 5 miles. It is without question some of the best whitewater rafting in the state of Wisconsin.

In the spring and summer, the whitewater stretch of the Peshtigo is rated at class II-III. At higher flows, it easily rates a solid class IV in most of the main rapids. Trips can range from mild at lower levels to really wild at higher levels. In the summer, a lot of scout groups, church groups and other organizations take to the river, along with a lot of families and young adults. The minimum age at Kosir’s, is 12 on the Peshtigo and 16 on the Menominee, and we had a gentleman in his 80’s run a few years ago.

Spring Peshtigo River Whitewater Rafting

Peshtigo River Whitewater Rafting Spring

Peshtigo Spring Run-Off Trips Class III – IV whitewater rafting trips run from early April to mid-May, when the water is chilly but very fast and exciting. Spring whitewater rafting trips include Farmer John style wetsuits and booties along with helmets, life jackets and paddles, and are run in four, six and eight place rafts. On spring trips it is very important to advise everyone in your group to bring an unlined windbreaker, wool or synthetic pullover sweater and wool socks. Also, a polypropylene long underwear top is an excellent addition to your cold weather gear. Check in time is one hour before scheduled whitewater rafting trip time. Spring trips are very popular because the die-hard rafters like to go when the water is the highest. Snow melt coupled with spring thaws usually makes April and May the best for big water whitewater rafting in Wisconsin. It may be chilly, but you will keep warm with the provided wetsuit and the excitement.

PESHTIGO RIVER SPRING TRIPSPeshtigo River Whitewater Rafting Spring
Summer Peshtigo River Whitewater Rafting

Peshtigo River Whitewater Rafting Summer

Peshtigo Summer Trips Class III Starting mid-May and running through September, for beginners and intermediates, whitewater rafting trips are run in one, two, three and four place rafts. Water conditions change daily and the actual size of the boat will be determined on the day of the your whitewater rafting trip. The trip covers about five miles of the most exciting white water in the entire Midwest. We provide helmets, life jackets, paddles, and transportation to the put-in point on the river. We are located right on the river, so all trips end at Rapid Rafts headquarters, where rafters can change clothes and relax. Check in time is 30 minutes before scheduled whitewater rafting trip time. Ask about our special group discounts offered for qualified scout, youth and church groups. Summer trips are for the entire family. This whitewater rafting trip is the same stretch of river that our spring trip covers but the weather is much warmer and so is the water. The river level may be lower but the thrill is always there.

PESHTIGO RIVER SUMMER TRIPSPeshtigo River Whitewater Rafting Summer
Funyaking on the Peshtigo River

Funyaking on the Peshtigo River

Funyaks are the most popular way to experience whitewater rafting on the Peshtigo River. A Funyak is a one-person inflatable raft. You paddle the Funyak with a two bladed kayak paddle and they are self-bailing so you’ll never need to empty out the water. Funyaks are perfect for any skill level including beginners. In fact they are easier to learn how to paddle than a raft. These are a thrill in higher water and great for lower water levels, with greater maneuverability. Because you are alone in the raft you have more control, you don’t have to try to coordinate your paddling skills with others in the raft. Being alone also means there is less weight in the raft, which makes it easier to move around or off obstacles if you should encounter some. Just keep in mind that even though you are alone in the raft you are never alone on the river, we always have staff on hand with every whitewater rafting trip happy to assist you. For more enjoyment in low water or a bigger thrill in high water try a “Funyak” the next time you raft with Kosir’s Rapid Rafts.

FUNYAKING PESHTIGO RIVERFunyaking the Peshtigo River
Menominee River Whitewater Rafting

Menominee River Whitewater Rafting

Guided Menominee River Whitewater Rafting Trips Class IV from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. We offer guided Menominee River trips for the hearty whitewater rafting enthusiast. These whitewater rafting trips are run in our four to twelve place rafts under the supervision of Kosir’s professional guides and include helmets, life jackets and paddles as well as transportation from our Menominee River Outpost to river and back again. The mighty Menominee River is a large volume river which has one of the greatest flows in the Midwest, with rapids and hydraulics similar to those of great western rivers. Bordered by the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan, our trip starts out quietly in the scenic surroundings of Niagara, Wisconsin careening past 200-foot high cliffs. Then increasing its intensity through Sand Portage Rapid, it culminates with a 10-foot waterfall in the legendary Piers Gorge. Menominee River Whitewater Rafting trips are run at 10 am and 3 pm on Saturdays and 10 am on Sundays and Holidays. Special weekday trips are available. Check-in time at our Menominee River Outpost is one full hour before scheduled whitewater rafting trip time. The Menominee River is a unique experience for the more adventurous whitewater rafters who want more! Kosir’s Rapid Rafts only offers this whitewater rafting trip with the supervision of our guides. We offer all Menominee River Whitewater Rafting trips in our self-bailing rafts. Reservations are required, so please call ahead to make arrangements. (Sorry, no Funyaks allowed on the Menominee River Rafting Trips)

MENOMINEE RIVER RAFTING TRIPSMenominee River Whitewater Rafting
Tubing on the Peshtigo River

Tubing on the Peshtigo River

For those warm weather, low water Peshtigo days, Kosir’s Rapid Rafts offers tubing on the Peshtigo River below the whitewater stretch. The trip starts at our normal takeout at the Bridge and goes for about 45 minutes down the river to the first boat landing.

PESHTIGO RIVER TUBINGPeshtigo River Wisconsin
Kayaking on the Peshtigo River

Kayaking on the Peshtigo River

Kosir’s Rapid Rafts now have sit-on-top, flat water kayaks available for rent. We start at boat landing where the tubing trips take out and paddle two miles down the Peshtigo River and onto Caldron Falls Flowage to the next boat landing and back.


The Menominee River is a great rafting trip for those that want big water like you might find on some of the well known western or eastern rivers. The Menominee is dam-controlled and has flows that range from around 1,500-15,000 cfs. In the driest times, it usually still has a flow of at least 900cfs. Compare this to the Peshtigo with flows from 200cfs up to 3,600 at flood stage. Most people have no idea that we have whitewater rafting like this in Wisconsin.

The Menominee trip starts on calm water as you paddle past huge cliffs and some serious scenery. Expect to see eagles and other wildlife here. The river begins to pick up tempo at the first rapid, a relatively small class II-III. There are some rock gardens between there and the gorge that can keep it interesting before the main event. The Gorge, or more accurately Piers Gorge Scenic Area, holds some absolutely huge rapids sandwiched between high cliffs and mountainous terrain. Mishicot Falls is the entrance of the gorge, a drop that measures between 8 and 15 feet depending on water levels. After that, you are in for a wild ride with huge waves and holes, and some pretty big rapids.

The cool part of the Menominee trip with Kosir’s Rapid Rats is that you get to run the Gorge twice. When you start out on the flat water section, you are running with 4-5 people in a raft. Right before the gorge, you stop and go up on the cliffs and see what you will be running. When you return to the river, you will run the gorge with 8-10 people in the boat, and run it twice without carrying rafts back up. Once you have run the gorge twice, you return to being 4-5 in a raft and run through Terminal Surfer, a huge, uniform, back-rolling wave, before going to the landing. Trips on both rivers take about 3 hours, depending on water levels.

I would like to encourage you to learn more about paddling whitewater in Marinette County, WI, and join Kosir’s Rapid Rafts for a trip down the Peshtigo River or Menominee River in northern Marinette County. See you on the river!

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