The Crystal River starts at the south end of Long Lake on the Waupaca Chain O’ Lakes. Clear, cool and mostly shallow the Crystal is a fun little river to paddle. Rocks and small rapids are frequent as is beautiful scenery all along the river. I recommend using a shorter boat that is easy to maneuver and you won’t mind if it gets scratched up.
Enjoy this video which starts at the headwaters of the Crystal River at Long Lake on this first leg of the river to Smith Road.
Watch the next video on the Crystal River, going through the small village of Rural on the Crystal River.
Crystal River Main St. bridge and portage
The Crystal River is one of the prettiest little rivers to paddle in Wisconsin. Starting at the South end of Long Lake on the Waupaca Chain of Lakes the Crystal River is popular with paddlers. Ding Dock canoe trips run a commercial paddling operation on the river. Weekends and warm Summer days can be busy with rental canoes on this part of the Crystal River.
Start this trip at one of the landings on the Chain of Lakes. The Knight Ln. landing is a good choice for a starting spot. This launch is free for paddlers and usually has enough parking. You can enjoy the quiet waters of the Upper Chain and then follow Beasley Creek to access Long Lake and the beginning of the Crystal.
This video highlights the section from Main St. in Rural and pretty bridges and a waterfall in Rural.
If you go paddling here start in the Chain of Lakes and go to the South end of Long Lake where you will find the start of the Crystal River. At the Main St. Bridge in Rural a couple of miles downstream from the start you have to go through the left side tunnel and make a short portage to re-enter the river. The portage is on the right side of the photo above. The portage is a good excuse to stop at Wellers in Rural (directly across the road from the portage) for a 25 cent ice cream cone. Is this the best deal for ice cream in Wisconsin?
Take out for this trip is at a small park on Rural Rd. where Smith Road connects to the North. This park is just West of Cty K. Alternatively you can keep going through the mill pond and take out at Cty Rd. K near the Red Mill.