The Apple River is a tributary river of the Mississippi and stretches into Illinois for about 55 miles. It also briefly makes its way into Southwestern Wisconsin and the confluence where it joins its own southern tributary is a popular state park.
What makes Apple River tubing such a unique experience is that it is one of the few rivers suitable for floating in what is known as the Driftless Area. This allows you to see unique landscapes that were never altered by the glaciers in the previous Ice Age. It’s also a place where life goes back to basics, time moves slower, and you get to be surrounded by the boundless diversity of Mother Nature.
Although most of the Apple River is gentle and suitable for all ages, there are some minor rapids and a whirlpool at one of the convergence points which may appear in periods of above average water levels. You’ll want to keep this in mind as you enjoy the incredible bluffs of the Mississippi River region.
What Makes the Apple River Experience So Unique?
Although the glaciers didn’t touch the areas around the Apple River during the Ice Age, they did carve out the land in the surrounding region. Because of this unique circumstance, there are plenty of hills and valleys that you’ll get to see when floating down the river. Tubing will also take you next to tall limestone cliffs that are specific to this part of the US Midwest.
The glacier movement also caused the Apple River to reverse its flow. It’s original course actually took it away from the Mississippi River. Due to the Ice Age, the river changed directions and this change helped to form the Apple River Canyon, which is a good entry point for river floating if you want to do it on your own.
You will also have camping options available to you at several locations along the river. Depending on the season when you decide to visit, there will be fishing and hunting opportunities as well.
What You Need to Know About Apple River Floating
Most sections of the Apple River are unsupervised by outfitters or floating guides. If you do not feel comfortable floating down the river on your own, then you will want to hire an outfitter to float with you on this trip.
There are times when the Apple River is below normal in water volume, especially in July-August. During these times, river levels may be quite shallow and be unsuitable for floating because of the number of sharp rocks which line the river bed and shore.
August and September also brings with them a chance for flash flooding when the heat of the US Midwest finally breaks. Severe thunderstorms during this period of time can be quite common. If you see thunderheads building in the morning, then you will want to put off your Apple River floating experience for another day.
Floating down the Apple River is a quiet, fun experience that almost seems like you’ve traveled back through time. Visit this area and you will have an amazing adventure that you’ll want to repeat time and time again.