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Exploring Wisconsin: John Stofflet paddles down Turtle Creek in Rock County

Kayak trip features passage under historic stone railroad bridge
Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 3:50 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 23, 2021 at 6:32 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - I’ve driven over and past Turtle Creek many times on my way to visit my Mom in Walworth, and I’ve always wondered what it would be like to see it properly--not from the seat of a car, but from the seat of my kayak. It looks so peaceful and beautiful driving by. It turned out to be exactly that by kayak.

John Stofflet paddles Turtle Creek just upstream of the Tiffany Stone Bridge.
John Stofflet paddles Turtle Creek just upstream of the Tiffany Stone Bridge.(WMTV)

Just like a turtle, you’ll want to take your time paddling down this waterway. Clearly, there’s a lot to see...including the crystal clear water! I spotted fish swimming amid the vegetation bending in the current almost immediately.

Turtle Creek starts at Turtle Lake near Delavan and runs about 30 miles or so through farmland and forested creek banks until it empties into the Rock River at South Beloit, IL.

The pleasant scenery is nice, but the thing that truly grabs your attention literally spans the horizon. It’s the five-arch Tiffany Stone Bridge, built in 1869. The stunning span is still an active railroad bridge.

Built in 1869, the Tiffany Stone Bridge is still used by the railroad.
Built in 1869, the Tiffany Stone Bridge is still used by the railroad.(WMTV)

The Rock County Parks Department described it as America’s only remaining five-arch bridge...and it’s said to be the only five-arch stone bridge still in use by a railroad company.

You can paddle right under the bridge, where a little “riffle” awaits you.

John Stofflet approaches the historic Tiffany Stone Bridge over Turtle Creek in his kayak.
John Stofflet approaches the historic Tiffany Stone Bridge over Turtle Creek in his kayak.(WMTV)

It’s certainly worth a trip to Turtle Creek to see. I give this spectacular five-arch bridge five stars!

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.(NBC15)

The best way to launch your paddling trip on Turtle Creek? I asked the Rock County Parks Department, where Community Coordinator Amy Friend suggested the following locations for putting your kayak or canoe in on Turtle Creek:

“There is a nice launch right near the Tiffany Stone Bridge at Turtle Creek Parkway, 6528 South Smith Road, Clinton. There is parking, and a paved walkway to the launch. Friend also said there are “rustic, undeveloped kayak launches at Turtle Creek Access at 140, 5501 S State Hwy 140, Clinton.” She said, “There’s a small parking lot and you have to walk down a small hill to get to the water. It is about a 2 hour paddle/easy ride from Turtle Creek Access at 140 to Turtle Creek Parkway. The launch at 140 is very busy on the weekends.” Friend added there is another kayak launch at Sweet Allyn Park, 7149 CTH J, Beloit. “It is also rustic and undeveloped. It is a short distance past the Five Arch Bridge.”

Amy Friend

Additional information: Friends of Turtle Creek

John Stofflet kayaks.
John Stofflet kayaks.(NBC15)

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