Great customer service, low cost rentals, very knowleagable about the river, convenient shuttle system
Older canoes, no physical location (they meet customers at the take out)
A canoe trip down the Wisconsin River is one of the most relaxing ways to experience the outdoors. Drifting down a lazy river, watching Bald Eagles skim the water, more sandy beaches than you can shake a stick at, and doing so for less than the cost of a nice dinner.
While there are many canoe outfitters along the Wisconsin River, very few are accessible online, and even fewer still that provide above and beyond customer service. The Wisconsin Canoe Company is one such outfitter.
After a long winter indoors, our family of four was finally able to get outside and enjoy a fantastic May weekend on the Wisconsin River. As I mentioned before, definitely one of the more relaxing places in the world. The river has a slow current, meandering below the bluffs of the Baraboo hills. It's entirely sand bottom, only a few feet deep, and plenty of sandbars to pull up on and enjoy your own private beach for the day. And because it's a protected riverway, only tree lined shores and very few signs of civilization.
Since we don't own canoes, we chose to get our rental canoes from the Wisconsin Canoe Company. They had a very professional appearence on the web and when we called, we were connected directly to the owner, Ryan, who treated us as if we were his best customers. What's more, they had the lowest rental rate of any place we could find on the Prairie Du Sac to Spring Green section. After Ryan answered a few questions about bringing kids along (turns out they love seeing parents get their kids outside), it was a no brainer choosing them.
We were provided will all of the information we needed including maps, directions, and what we should expect. The owner even provided us with his personal cell phone number in case we had any problems or questions! In addition, we found the Wisconsin Canoe website very helpful, particularly the section on Wisconsin River canoe camping (we had never tried an overnight canoe trip before).
When we arrived at the Spring Green meeting point we left our car at the canoe take out and were transported up river to Prairie Du Sac. I was skeptical of leaving our car as our last outfitter had done it the opposite way. Let me tell you, to have your car waiting to go as soon as you're off the river when you're sunburned and sandy is a Godsend. I don't know why we ever chose to do the opposite-stressed about getting done by a certain time only to be packed into a crowded, sweaty bus for a long ride back to the car.
While the equipment wasn't the most up to date stuff available, it was reliable and it got the job done. Considering the low cost of the rental, it was better than expected, and the quality of the service we received and the enjoyableness of our driver more than made up for it. I can't rate the Wisconsin Canoe Company highly enough. Everyone we met, from the driver to the owner, was incredibly knowleagable and helpful. We're even planning our next church group outing to be a canoe trip with them.
You can plan your next Wisconsin River canoe trip on the Wisconsin Canoe Company website.