Rock River Water Trail

The Rock River Water Trail is a water trail of the Upper Mississippi River Region and runs from its headwaters above the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge in south central Wisconsin 330 miles to the confluence with the Mississippi River at the Quad Cities of Illinois and Iowa. The Rock River Water Trail crosses 5 counties in Wisconsin, 6 counties in Illinois and 37 municipalities, meandering down a gentle gradient to safely carry the water traveler and recreational enthusiast alike past picturesque rural and scenic landscapes, natural wilderness areas and vibrant urban riverfronts.

The Rock River Water Trail begins at 2 trailheads in the Wisconsin headwaters: Waupun County Park on the South Branch of the river in Waupun and Rivers Edge Park on the East Branch in Theresa. The water trail is known for its diversity and choice of landscape, vista and recreational experience and for its ease of accessibility. There are 32 signed access sites to the water trail in Dodge County.

In March 2013 the Rock River Water Trail was designated into the National Water Trails System by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior. It is the 1st National Water Trail in Wisconsin and Illinois.

Rock River Trail Scenic & Historic Route

The motorized route runs parallel with and in proximity of 320 miles of the Rock River, and passes through each of the 11 counties and 37 cities and villages of the river corridor. New signage has been placed along the route incorporating the logo of the Rock River Trail and is standard highway blue and yellow with reflective finish.

Travelers on the road route will enjoy the scenic beauty and natural resources of the river, and participate in diverse recreational activities. The historical and cultural resources of the Rock River Valley and special river-focused events in many of the communities offer the visitor an exceptional look at Midwest landscape, culture and history. There is a rich panorama of human history in the river valley. From the aboriginal peoples, explorers and early settlers to the industrialists, agriculturalists, statesmen and visionaries of more recent times, unique and significant contributions to the evolution of America have originated in the Rock River Valley.