Boating Channels on the Eau Claire Chain of Lakes, Barnes, WI: The Big Picture

Among my YouTube videos about northwest Wisconsin lakes, the most popular have been those that feature boating channels between certain lakes. Whether you’re paddling, pontooning, or powerboating, it’s fun to get a sneak preview so you know what to expect. And if you’re looking for a home or cabin on one of those lakes, you’ll want the answer to this important question: “Can I really get there from here?”

That’s especially true for the Eau Claire Chain of Lakes, which includes Upper Eau Claire, Middle Eau Claire, Lower Eau Claire, and also nearby lakes like Bony, Birch, and Robinson. To help you understand the big picture, here’s an overview map. After the map, you’ll find brief descriptions and links to the corresponding YouTube videos.

  1. Eau Claire Lakes channels, Barnes, WI

    Eau Claire Lakes channels, Barnes, WI

    1. Robinson Lake to Birch Lake. Navigable by canoes, kayaks, and most pontoons or speedboats. No bridges to go under. Video here.

  2. Birch Lake to Upper Eau Claire. Navigable by canoes, kayaks, and most pontoons or speedboats. Bridge at Lake Road, just before entering Upper Eau Claire. Video here.
  3. Bony Lake to Middle Eau Claire. Navigable by canoes, kayaks, and medium-sized fishing boats or speedboats. Bridge at Highway 27. Video here.
  4. Middle Eau Claire to Lower Eau Claire. This connection includes a lock and dam that can handle canoes, kayaks, and small fishing boats. Paddlers may find it quicker to just portage up and over South Shore road. Above this point, the river is navigable by canoes, kayaks, and most pontoons or speedboats—pretty much anything that can get under the bridge at River Road. Below here, the river is shallower and faster—but still suitable for canoes, kayaks, and small fishing boats. Video here.
  5. *Upper Eau Claire to Middle Eau Claire. This narrow, rocky passage gets an asterisk because it’s only navigable by canoe or kayak. Even then, it’s most feasible as a one-way downstream trip. Begins at outlet dam; portage is on private land. Scroll down for photos. The first two are from just above the outlet dam; the next three are from the bridge at Outlet Bay Road.


Finally, a word of caution: Conditions and water levels can change. Some boats are wider, taller, or draw more water. To prevent shoreline erosion, all of these routes are designated no-wake zones. Keep your speed down and proceed with caution.

Curious about cabins for sale on the Eau Claire Chain of Lakes? Call Jean Hedren, Your NW Wisconsin Realtor, 218-590-6634. Or, email jeanhedren@edinarealty.com

 

Boating Channels on the Eau Claire Chain of Lakes: The Big Picture

Among my YouTube videos about northwest Wisconsin lakes, the most popular have been those that feature boating channels between certain lakes. Whether you’re paddling, pontooning, or powerboating, it’s fun to get a sneak preview so you know what to expect. And if you’re looking for a home or cabin on one of those lakes, you’ll want the answer to this important question: “Can I really get there from here?”

That’s especially true for the Eau Claire Chain of Lakes, which includes Upper Eau Claire, Middle Eau Claire, Lower Eau Claire, and also nearby lakes like Bony, Birch, and Robinson. To help you understand the big picture, here’s an overview map. After the map, you’ll find brief descriptions and links to the corresponding YouTube videos.

  1. Eau Claire Lakes channels, Barnes, WI
    Eau Claire Lakes channels, Barnes, WI

    1. Robinson Lake to Birch Lake. Navigable by canoes, kayaks, and most pontoons or speedboats. No bridges to go under. Video here.

  2. Birch Lake to Upper Eau Claire. Navigable by canoes, kayaks, and most pontoons or speedboats. Bridge at Lake Road, just before entering Upper Eau Claire. Video here.
  3. Bony Lake to Middle Eau Claire. Navigable by canoes, kayaks, and medium-sized fishing boats or speedboats. Bridge at Highway 27. Video here.
  4. Middle Eau Claire to Lower Eau Claire. This connection includes a lock and dam that can handle canoes, kayaks, and small fishing boats. Paddlers may find it quicker to just portage up and over South Shore road. Above this point, the river is navigable by canoes, kayaks, and most pontoons or speedboats—pretty much anything that can get under the bridge at River Road. Below here, the river is shallower and faster—but still suitable for canoes, kayaks, and small fishing boats. Video here.
  5. *Upper Eau Claire to Middle Eau Claire. This narrow, rocky passage gets an asterisk because it’s only navigable by canoe or kayak. Even then, it’s most feasible as a one-way downstream trip. Begins at outlet dam; portage is on private land. Scroll down for photos. The first two are from just above the outlet dam; the next three are from the bridge at Outlet Bay Road.


Finally, a word of caution: Conditions and water levels can change. Some boats are wider, taller, or draw more water. To prevent shoreline erosion, all of these routes are designated no-wake zones. Keep your speed down and proceed with caution.

Curious about cabins for sale on the Eau Claire Chain of Lakes? Call Jean Hedren, Your NW Wisconsin Realtor, 218-590-6634. Or, email jeanhedren@edinarealty.com

 

Today’s sandy lake bottom photo – Bony Lake

Today’s sandy lake bottom photo. The condo cabins on Bony Lake – 51015 Birch Lake Rd, Barnes, WI – come with this sandy beach that’s perfect for swimming (next summer 🙂 ) Bony Lake, 191-acres and 55′ deep, is a clear lake that offers great swimming, fishing, and boating, and is connected by boating channel to Middle Eau Claire Lake. And, by the way, the cabins look pretty good too.

Bony Lake

Bony Lake

Video: Barnes Wisconsin vacation area. Boating channel from Bony Lake to Middle Eau Claire Lake.

Barnes Wisconsin vacation area. Boating channel from Bony Lake to Middle Eau Claire Lake.

Looking for your dream lake home or cabin? Visit Jean Hedren, Edina Realty NW Wisconsin.

Favorite NW Wisconsin Bike Routes: Barnes, Robinson Lake, Upper Eau Claire Lake, Birch Lake, and Bony Lake

Favorite NW Wisconsin Bike Routes: Barnes, Robinson Lake, Upper Eau Claire Lake, Birch Lake, and Bony Lake

Bony, Birch, Robinson Lake Loop

Bony, Birch, Robinson Lake Loop

Looking for good bike routes in northwestern Wisconsin? Check out this short but scenic loop in the Barnes area. (If you’re more familiar with the area’s lakes than its towns, this route is just north of the Eau Claire Chain of Lakes.)

The route starts in Barnes and rolls past Henderson Lake, Robinson Lake, Upper Eau Claire Lake, Birch Lake, Bony Lake, and Pickerel Lake—all in a ten-mile loop, and that’s including brief side trips on Peninsula Road and Bony Lake Road. (If you’d like a longer ride in the same area, you have plenty of paved and dirt options.)

Starting point: Barnes Park. On County N, just a mile or so east of Highway 27.

Roads you’ll travel: County N, Robinson Lake Road, Lake Road, Peninsula Road (optional side trip to check out the boat landing and study the water), Lake Road, Birch Lake Road, Bony Lake Road (optional side trip to Highway 27 and then back to Birch Lake Road), and County N.

After your ride, food and refreshments are available at a number of taverns and cafes within a mile or two of your starting point.

(By the way, the route passes near this spectacular timber-frame lake home I’m currently listing on Bony Lake. Also nearby is this lake home with wooded privacy and a great view of Middle Eau Claire Lake. Please give me a call if you’d like to see either of these homes. Or, click www.JeanHedren.com to see all my listings.)

Please check back now and then; I’ll occasionally be posting more of our favorite hiking and biking routes. I’ll try to include a couple photos with each post, but not enough to take all the fun and mystery out of exploring these routes yourself. Stay tuned…

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This Spectacular Timber-Frame Home on Bony Lake is no Bare-Bones Cabin

This Spectacular Timber-Frame Home on Bony Lake is no Bare-Bones Cabin

I’m especially excited about this recent northwest Wisconsin listing on 55’ deep, 191-acre Bony Lake, which is part of the highly sought-after Eau Claire Chain of Lakes. (Bony Lake is connected to 902-acre Middle Eau Claire Lake by a small but navigable channel.)

Bony Lake is 191 acres of clear and deep water.

Bony Lake is 191 acres of clear and deep water.

Timber-frame log home on clear Bony Lake, Barnes, WI

Timber-frame log home on clear Bony Lake, Barnes, WI

It’s a spectacular 3BR timber-frame home on deep, crystal-clear Bony Lake. Quality details throughout: 6” x 12” rectangular timbers with dovetail joinery, hand-hewn timbers, reclaimed yellow pine flooring, Quaker-built custom cabinetry, soapstone countertops, copper light fixtures, stainless steel appliances, and much more. 48’ x 36’ pole barn with 12’ doors—room for several vehicles and RV. Fire pit with boulder retaining walls overlooking lake.

Relax on the large deck overlooking the lake. Jump in for a refreshing swim in this clear lake with sandy lake frontage. All this on 5+ acres of privacy in the tall pines—but with enough aspen, oak, and maple so the fall colors at Bony Lake are just incredible.

For details and photos, 50975 Birch Lake Rd, Barnes, WI. For a YouTube video, click NW Wisconsin Homes videos.

To see all my listings, click www.JeanHedren.com.

Stick-Built, Log, and Timber-Frame Homes

Stick-Built, Log, and Timber-Frame Homes

This post is in honor of the stunning 3BR 2 BA custom-crafted timber-frame lake home I’m listing in Barnes, WI. It’s on crystal-clear, 55’ deep Bony Lake, which is part of the Eau Claire chain of lakes and connected to Middle Eau Claire Lake by a navigable channel. 

Timber frame home on Bony Lake

Timber frame home on Bony Lake

Just what’s the difference between stick-built, log, and timber-frame homes? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each construction method? Are all log homes really log homes? And what’s the difference between a log home and a timber-frame home? What about homes that combine elements of both construction methods? For a quick overview, keep reading.

Here in North America, nearly all homes are now built with light-frame construction that employs dimensional lumber, usually 2x4s or 2x6s. It’s a technique that allows builders to efficiently and economically enclose a large space with less material. You’ll sometimes hear these homes described as “stick-built,” especially when they’re being compared to mobile or modular homes.

The term also makes sense when these conventional construction techniques are compared to log or timber-frame homes. Compared to logs and timbers, those puny 2x4s and 2x6s are just “sticks.” But put enough of them together in the right way, and you get a strong, durable structure that’s relatively easy and economical to build. So it’s no wonder “stick-built” has become the default residential construction method in much of the world. Sometimes it’s just called “normal” or “conventional” construction.

Still, here in Northwestern Wisconsin we do see a fair amount of log and timber-frame construction. Some examples are older, relatively modest homes that were built before these designs became newly fashionable. Most, however, are high-end lake homes whose owners chose these construction methods because they appreciated their aesthetics and craftsmanship. Apart from cost, these building techniques have very few disadvantages—and often some real advantages that go way beyond aesthetics.

But the first thing you should know about log homes is that many of them aren’t really log homes. They only have log siding. It’s shaped like half of a log, and it could be exactly that—half of a log that’s been sawed lengthwise. Or, it could be a thin veneer of wood over a foam core that’s lighter and more insulative. Not that there’s anything wrong with either method; these are fine stick-built homes with very attractive siding. From a distance, or even up close, most people won’t notice the difference.

Purists, however, may opt for a home whose outer walls—and maybe even some interior walls—are built from actual logs. Real logs, carefully joined together and placed one on top of the other, are more than just decorative. They’re structural. The same construction method the pioneers used to build their tiny log cabins has now been adapted to the construction of luxury lake homes that are far more spacious. Although the logs are larger and builders use giant cranes to lift them into position, the basic concept is the same.

Log homes can be beautiful, solid, stable, energy-efficient, and built to last. They do cost more to build than a stick-built home of the same size. But for buyers who appreciate the result, it’s worth every penny. Aesthetically, these homes have a special appeal. And spatially, their interiors typically feature much larger open areas than you’d see in a stick-built home. Because the outer walls and large beams do more to support the structure, the interior needn’t be interrupted by as many load-bearing walls.

All these statements are equally true of timber-frame homes, which are generally built from squared-off beams that are much heavier than 2x4s or 2x6s. Typically these structural elements might be 6” or 12” thick, with a square or rectangular cross section. When it comes to exterior walls, timbers are simply squared-off logs. But true timber-frame construction also features interior posts and beams as major structural elements that make possible an especially open, airy floorplan.

(The lake home featured here is a great example of that. It includes timber-framing on the outer walls, but also timber-frame structural elements that are visible on the interior. Its outer walls are built with long timbers that have a 6” x 12” cross-section, and at the corners they’re connected with dovetail joinery. Some interior beams are even larger, and that made possible an especially open, spacious floorplan.)

For a more rustic look, these interior beams are sometimes left rounded; that’s one of those places where the lines between log and timber-frame construction might blur a bit. Traditionally, timbers were carefully fitted and joined together with large wooden pegs, similar to the mortise-and-tenon joints in furniture. Although that’s still done today, you may also see joints that are reinforced with steel gusset plates and giant bolts.

In practice, many homes include log walls and timber-frame construction. ( Hmmm… If the outer wall is built from timbers, but each timber’s outer face is left rounded, then is the wall built from logs or timbers? And what about log homes with an outer face that’s been squared off?) And for most interior walls, of course, these homes still use traditional stick-built construction. Other homes are mostly stick-built, but include a few beams and timbers whose purpose is both aesthetic and structural. So again, sometimes the lines between these categories can blur a bit.

For a great example of a home that incorporates true timber-frame construction both inside and out, check out this stunning, custom-designed luxury lake home on Bony Lake in Barnes, Wisconsin. Crystal-clear, 55’ deep Bony Lake is part of the Eau Claire Chain of Lakes, and is connected to Middle Eau Caire Lake by a navigable channel.