Canoe and Kayak Launch

April 9, 2019:  The handi-cap accessible kayak launch and the floating finger piers at Riverlife will not be installed in 2019 due to the drawdown of the Wisconsin River beginning mid-April through December.  Read the full article here.

Canoe and kayak paddlers of all ages, abilities, and experience now have an easier way to launch on the Wisconsin River in Wausau.  On August 28, 2012 a new handicapped-accessible launch was dedicated and opened up for public use.  The launch is located on the east shore of the Wisconsin River at 1700 River Drive just North of the Bridge Street bridge.  River Drive can be accessed from East Wausau Avenue north of the launch or from the south from north 1st Street.

Entering Kayak Launch


Kayak Launching off the Dock

Users place their canoe or kayak on a series of rollers in the center of the dock where it remains stable until the user is ready to launch.  The launch has a wheelchair transfer station that assists paddlers in positioning themselves in their kayak.  Paddlers push off from the launch with the aid of two parallel handrails.  When returning, paddlers reverse the process and pull themselves up to the dock's level center.  Annual installation and removal will vary with seasonal ice and flooding conditions.  In early spring and late fall you may want to contact the Park Administrative Office to determine availability.  The launch eliminates the need to step in the water which is advantageous when paddling during cool weather.

Directions to the Launch

A paved parking lot is provided.  Restrooms and drinking water are not available on site.  Use of the launch is free.

This project was made possible through the partnership and support of the Wausau and Marathon County Park Foundation, the B.A. & Esther Greenheck Foundation, the Wausau and Marathon County Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Department, and Wausau Water Works.  Contact the Park Administrative Office at 715.261.1550 with any questions.