The Channel Between Middle Eau Claire Lake and Lower Eau Claire Lake, Barnes, WI
This is the second in an occasional series of blog posts answering an important question: “Sure, the map shows a connection between those lakes. And the fishing guidebook says there’s a ‘navigable channel.’ But can I really get there from here?”
As always… Keep your speed down, and proceed with caution. The first part of this channel is navigable by canoe, kayak, small to medium boat, and even most pontoons. But just upstream of Lower Eau Claire Lake, you’ll come to a miniature lock-and-dam that’s only large enough for canoes, kayaks, and small fishing boats. (If you’re in a canoe or kayak, it’s also an easy portage.)
The channel leading from Middle Eau Claire Lake to the lock-and-dam, however, is long enough so it’s worth exploring in larger boats. A fortunate few are able to live along this quiet backwater, where they can still enjoy easy access to 804-acre Middle Eau Claire Lake and 776-acre Lower Eau Claire Lake. At the moment, I have a great building site available along this stretch of the river.
So here it is… The no-longer-secret passageway from Middle Eau Claire Lake to Lower Eau Claire Lake, complete with photos. Some stretches are shallow, so proceed with caution.
Starting from the west side of Middle Eau Claire Lake, head into the outlet shown at the beginning of this post. Continue downstream, but keep your speed down. Watch for the River Road bridge. It’s high enough for most boats to pass under with no problem—just make sure you’ve lowered your pontoon awning. Next the river widens out again before narrowing once more just above the hand-operated lock-and-dam located at South Shore Road.
The lock itself is about six feet wide and thirty feet long. If your boat won’t fit, and if it’s too heavy to portage up and over South Shore Road, then it’s time turn around. Otherwise, from here it’s just a short distance downstream to Lower Eau Claire Lake.
See also a closer look at the Eau Claire Lakes lock and dam.
Spring has arrived on Middle Eau Claire Lake. Time to hit the deck!
Spring is here, and it’s time to hit the deck and relax by the lake. Here’s another in a continuing series of “hit the deck” posts—this time from a lake home I’m currently listing on Middle Eau Claire Lake in Barnes, WI. (To learn more, please visit my Edina Realty website.) And by the way… Be sure and scroll down to the very last photos. This home’s guest cabin has a screen porch with some pretty decent views of its own!
Favorite Northwest Wisconsin Bike Routes: A Big Barnes Loop Around the Eau Claire Chain of Lakes
Barnes – Middle and Upper Eau Claire Lakes loop
Looking for good bike routes in northwestern Wisconsin? Check out this scenic loop in the Barnes area. If you’re more familiar with the area’s lakes than its towns, this route circles most of the Eau Claire Chain of Lakes. It includes a few steep hills, but most of the route travels gently rolling terrain.
The route starts at the Barnes Park, and passes near Lower Eau Claire Lake, Middle Eau Claire Lake, Upper Eau Claire Lake, Birch Lake, Bony Lake, Sweet Lake, and Robinson Lake—all in a roughly 21-mile loop. (By the way… If you’d like a scenic but shorter ride in the same area, here’s another option.)
Roads you’ll travel (clockwise): County N, Pease Road, 27 (for less than a mile), South Shore Road, River Road, Lake Road, 27 (for only a few yards), Lake Road, Peninsula Road (optional side trip to check out the boat landing and study the water), Lake Road, Robinson Lake Road, and County N.
Optional short cut: On the way back, take a left on Birch Lake Road. It heads northward to Barnes between Bony Lake and Birch Lake. It then passes near both Robinson Lake and Pickerel Lake. This road, although just as scenic, will shave off a couple miles and a couple of hills.
For a mid-ride lunch stop, check out P.J.’s Cabin Store, which also has a bar and grille adjacent to the store. It’s just off your route. At the corner of River Road and Lake Road, head west about half a mile. You’ll also find a few other taverns and cafes along or near the route.
For breakfast before your ride, or for post-ride lunch, dinner, or refreshments, check out some of the restaurants and taverns in or near Barnes. The Cedar Lodge Steakhouse and Grille features a full menu, hand-tossed pizzas, and a fine selection of wines and local microbrews.
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…
The Secret Passageway from Bony Lake to Middle Eau Claire Lake
This is the first in an occasional series of blog posts answering an important question: “Sure, the map shows a connection between the Eau Claire lakes. And the fishing guidebook says there’s a ‘navigable channel.’ But can I really get there from here?”
When you’re looking for a lake home or cabin, this can be important information—especially if you’re interested in a chain of interconnected lakes like the Eau Claire lakes in Wisconsin’s Douglas and Bayfield counties. These secret passageways mean you may be able to live on a smaller, quieter lake—or even on a gently flowing river—and yet still have easy access to a larger lake nearby. It’s fun to explore new lakes without the hassle of loading your boat on a trailer, and the next lake over might be just around the bend and under a bridge.
But how easy is it to get there from here? The answer, of course, is “it depends.” First, it depends on the size of your boat. How much water does it draw, how wide is it, and how tall is it? If your boat has an awning or visor, can it be folded down? In some cases, the weather and the time of year can even make a difference. If the water is too low, there won’t be enough water to float your boat. Too high, and you may not have quite enough headroom under a bridge. So your mileage, as they say, may vary. Keep your speed down, and proceed with caution.
Although we’ve scouted these routes by canoe, most are navigable in a fishing boat, a small to medium runabout, or even a pontoon. If it turns out that one or two are not, I’ll let you know. In some photos you’ll see larger motorized craft moving under a route’s lowest bridge or through its narrowest narrows. You’ll also be able to tell a lot from the size of the boats pulled up alongside the docks in these channels.
Channel between Bony Lake and Middle Eau Claire Lake
I’m beginning this series with the connection between 191-acre Bony Lake and 902-acre Middle Eau Claire Lake in Bayfield County, WI. I’ve just listed this beautiful timber-frame lake home on Bony Lake, and not everyone knows about the secret passageway between these two lakes. If you’re looking for a luxury home on the Eau Claire chain of lakes, then this one should definitely be on your list. (At the moment, I also have other homes available at a range of price points on Lower, Middle, and Upper Eau Claire Lakes.)
So here it is… The no-longer-secret passageway from Bony Lake to Middle Eau Claire Lake, complete with photos. At most water levels it’s navigable by canoe, kayak, fishing boat, and small to medium-sized runabout. Some stretches are shallow, so proceed with caution.
Starting from the southwest corner of Bony Lake, head into the outlet shown at the beginning of this post. The channel widens out, and then you’ll pass under highway 27. Sone thereafter, you’ll be able to glimpse Middle Eau Claire Lake through the trees. The final stretch is through a short breakwater that prevents erosion and helps keep the channel open. It’s a little like the shipping channel at Duluth’s Canal Park, but on a slightly smaller scale.