Traveling Ted is a blog that takes readers along on my adventures hiking, canoeing, skiing, and international backpacking. Many blogs focus on one aspect of backpacking, but I tackle both the outdoor adventure side and international exploration as well.

I consulted the Travel Wisconsin fall colors chart and it appeared the fall foliage would be perfect in northern Wisconsin for Flambeau River canoeing. I rolled up Friday night and camped in the Chequamegon-National Forest, which put me within distance of Philips and Lugerville in order to pick up a canoe.

Flambeau River Canoeing

Flambeau River Canoeing shot at the put in with fall colors behind me

Arrival in Lugerville, Wisconsin

Dave from Flambeau Sports was waiting for me at 7:30 a.m. He put the canoe on my car and tied it down, gave me a map, and said see you tomorrow at 2 p.m. He was in a hurry for his son’s cross-country meet. I got in the car and drove the ten minute drive to the put-in at Nine Mile Creek.

Flambeau River

Flambeau River canoeing – Flambeau River sports canoe on top of my car at Nine Mile Creek boating access

I knew right away that the colors would be outstanding. I looked across the river and was greeted with red, orange, and yellow. A look downstream turned out more of the same. It took me awhile to get ready, but in an hour the canoe was loaded, and I was floating downstream.

Flambeau fall foliage

Flambeau River canoeing – Flambeau River bright orange fall foliage

Flambeau River Canoeing with fall colors

The colors were so spectacular that I did not even want to move. I inched downstream not much faster than the musky fisherman who were drifting downstream casting their fly rods.

Flambeau River Wisconsin

Canoeing Flambeau River with beautiful orange colors galore

There were a few nice little rapids, but nothing too tough, which was a good thing as I had a heavy canoe and it was kind of windy, so it made maneuvering a little difficult. The water was shallow in places, so I did bump the rocks a few times, but thanks to the fiberglass canoe, I rolled right over any rocks in my way.

Flambeau fall foliage

Flambeau River Canoeing – Beautiful fall foliage

My goal was Oxbo campground. I read on the Flambeau River State Forest description of the river campsites that it was on the water and beautiful. The campsites along the river are free although you can only stay one night. There were three campsites at Oxbo and they were all unoccupied, which was not a surprise as I think I was the only paddler on the North Fork today.

Dave said he thought all the other canoe rental spots in the area were already closed, and I was the only person renting from him this weekend. It amazes me how people shut down their camping, hiking, and canoeing activities after Labor Day. Dave was right when he said that the only people I would see were fisherman.

Flambeau River canoeing

Flambeau River canoeing

Camping at Oxbo Camp in the Flambeau River State Forest

I set up camp at the Oxbo Camp and got my firewood ready for the night and then watched a spectacular sunset unfold. The sunset was so incredible that when the sun’s last rays in the west reflected off the clouds in the east, it turned the whole eastern horizon a purplish pink. I have never seen such beauty from a sunset on the opposite horizon.

Flambeau sunset

The pink eastern horizon during an amazing sunset – Flambeau River canoeing

Once the sun set, I enjoyed a campfire and several beers as well as several roasted hot dogs. The weather, even at this time of the night, was perfect. The night before got kind of cold. It was in the upper 30s when I left the National Forest campground. Tonight was mild and still in the upper 50s. An ideal night to relax around the fire.

Oxbo Camp Flambeau

The Oxbo Camp was as beautiful as advertised – Flambeau River Canoeing

I woke up the next day and had breakfast and rolled out of the campground. To my horror, it was past 10:30 when I finally got on the water. I had over 10 miles to go, and I said I would meet Dave at 2 p.m. The wind picked up, and the current was not that strong. I feared I might be an hour late.

Flambeau River

Flambeau River canoeing – Even when the colors were not brilliant, the scenery was still beautiful

Paddling my rear end off

I paddled my rear end off in order to try and make my pick up. Although the shoreline was still beautiful, the trees were not as colorful as the beginning. There were a lot of pine and also some trees that were kind of a washed out yellow. I was hoping to do some fishing, but since I was running late, I did not have time to dip my line in.

I came to a spot where the river widened and there were a lot of little islands. This looked like a good spot to check out the map. I realized I was less than a half mile from the pick up point, and I had about 20 minutes to share. I had paddled non-stop for three hours except for a few spots to drink a beer and check the map.

Flambeau River canoeing

Flambeau River canoeing – The end of the line for me on this trip at Babb’s Island

I came around the corner and there was a bridge. Dave was waiting for me as I arrived at the take out at 1:58 p.m. He shook his head and said “in 31 years in the business, I think you are the second person who has ever been on time.” I raised my fist in triumph. I wish I had more time to relax down the river, but I had an amazing time doing that the day before.

Flambeau River Wisconsin

Most of the trip was windy, but this stretch was like a mirror

Recommend this stretch

I definitely recommend the Nine Mile Creek to Babb’s Island trip with the Oxbo Camp as a perfect midpoint place to camp. I also highly recommend working with Flambeau Sports. It was $35.00 a day for the rental and $55.00 for the ride. The nice thing about renting with Dave is he will let you take his canoes anywhere. There are a lot of great rivers in the area, so his outfit is a great place to explore the Flambeau and beyond. I hope that you will be the third person on time in Dave’s illustrious career.

Adventure on!

The goal of Traveling Ted is to inspire people to outdoor adventure travel and then provide tips on where and how to go. If you liked this post then sign up for the email newsletter. Notifications are sent out once or twice a month with what is new with Traveling Ted’s adventures. There is no spam and email information will not be shared. Other e-follow options include Facebook (click on the like box to the right) or twitter (click on the pretty bird on the rainbow above).