Rock River Water Trail

Managed By

Rock River Trail Initiative

Trail Overview

The Rock River Water Trail is a water trail of the Upper Mississippi River Region.  The trail meanders down a gentle gradient through beautiful rural and wilderness landscapes and vibrant urban riverfronts to safely carry the water traveler 330 miles from the headwaters above the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge in south central Wisconsin to the Mississippi River at the Quad Cities of Illinois and Iowa. The Rock River Water Trail is of national significance for its great diversity and landscape, vista, recreation, cultural, and historic experience, and for its ease of accessibility. 

Trail Length:

330 miles

Trail Location

Rock Island, Henry, Whiteside, Lee, Ogle, Winnebago, Rock, Dane, Jefferson, Dodge, and Fond du Lac Counties

Open Dates


Hours of Operation

24 Hours

Trail Mission Statement

Through public and private partnerships, the Rock River Trail Initiative develops, maintains, and promotes the Rock River Water Trail to provide enhanced recreational opportunities for all to enjoy. Opportunities include paddling, boating, camping, and nature viewing, with connections to other recreation trails and to the natural, scenic, historic, and cultural assets of the Rock River Valley in Wisconsin and Illinois.

Uses and Activities

  • Boating, motorized
  • Boating, nonmotorized: Canoeing
  • Boating, nonmotorized: Kayaking
  • Boating, nonmotorized: Rafting
  • Boating, nonmotorized: Sailing
  • Boating, nonmotorized: Tubing
  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Heritage and History
  • Ice Skating
  • Swimming
  • Swimming: Wading
  • Wildlife Observation

Water Trail & Surrounding Surfaces

  • Water, rapids
  • Water, moderate moving
  • Water, slow moving
  • Water, still
  • Grass or vegetation
  • Rock, boulders
  • Rock, smooth
  • Sand
  • Soil
  • Snow or ice

More Information

Visit the Rock River Water Trail website.

Best Management Practices

This information was last updated on 6/18/2013 at 5:01 PM