The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

How-To: Float Down the River

For those of you who are new to UW-Eau Claire, you should know that floating is one of the highlights of the city’s warmer months. It is an unwritten rite of passage to go floating at least once before you graduate, and many people find themselves floating almost every weekend. To get you started on your way to a relaxing weekend of riding the smooth currents of the Chippewa, here are a few tips and pointers to take with you.


First, you will need something that allows you to float. This can be anything from an innertube, to a reclining floating chair, to a multi-person raft, or even a kiddie pool! You can buy a “floatie” at the Environmental Adventure Center (or EAC) in the Hilltop Center for $15 (pictured right), or you can buy one from a store off-campus.


Story continues below advertisement

Next, you will need to get ready for your float: wear lots of sunscreen, bring water or something to drink, sunglasses, and a towel. “I would (also) be prepared to walk, bring some sandals, and … wear suntan lotion, especially the first time you float,” said EAC Employee and senior Sam Lynch.


While floating down the river is one way to beat the heat and stress of the week, be sure to keep your safety in mind. Alex Martinson, sophomore and EAC employee, says that life jackets are available to rent from the EAC for $2 per day. “Also, be aware of the water levels,” Martinson added. “This summer, the water was very high.” Make sure you check the weather for that day as well, as floating in bad weather can have dangerous or deadly results.

With the right knowledge and supplies, you can enjoy one of Eau Claire’s most fun (and most affordable) ways to relax. But enough reading for now: grab a floatie and some friends, slather on the sunscreen, and catch a few rays over this upcoming holiday weekend!

If you’re looking for a longer float, head to Phoenix Park, located off Riverfront Terrace and North Barstow Street. According to Eau Claire resident Raechel Becker, a float from Phoenix Park to the currents behind Water Street will last approximately two to three hours if the current is steady.

If you do not have time for a long, lazy day, try a shorter route. Lynch suggests starting on the beach area in Owen Park, across from Haas Fine Arts Center. “There’s a little trail that ducks back in there (behind the Owen Park band shell); you can get in there,” Lynch said. This float lasts about 45 minutes to an hour.

If you do not want to float down the river but still want to enjoy some time in the water, try Halfmoon Lake in Carson Park. You can enter Halfmoon Lake behind Luther Midelfort Hospital, just off West Madison Street.

When you are all done floating down the river, the most common places to get off are either Putnam Rock, or just after the rapids behind Haas Fine Arts Center and Water Street. Be careful getting out, as the rocks and ground are slippery in these areas.

View Comments (1)
More to Discover

Comments (1)

The Spectator intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. The Spectator does not allow anonymous comments and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Spectator Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • D

    Derek DewittMar 26, 2018 at 8:31 am

    My wife and I are thinking about going river tubing this summer, so thanks for sharing this. I like your point about bringing things like sunscreen, water, and sandals. We’ll be sure to bring gear for the hike and the actual river.