In 2021, the Friends of Starkweather Creek worked with the Mapping Specialists, Ltd. to create a NEW paddling map of Starkweather Creek.
Please view below or use the link to download a PDF copy of the map. We will also be adding recreation tips on this page. Enjoy!
Access to Starkweather Creek has been made even easier from the addition of three new canoe and kayak launches. These launches are located at the ends of Worthington Avenue, Union Street, and James Street, marked with icons on the recreation map.
You can also access Starkweather Creek from the other boat launches marked on the map: from the Olbrich Park playfield lot and where Starkweather Creek enters Lake Monona near Olbrich Park.
The Friends of Starkweather Creek lead outings throughout the year, promoted via our Facebook page and email list. Rutabaga Paddlesports offers watercraft rentals from Olbrich Park (3527 Atwood Avenue).
Safety & Navigation
- Per Dane County regulations, each person on a boat should have an approved personal flotation device (i.e. a life vest).
- Be prepared & plan your trip (timing, water/sunscreen, can take several hours depending on water level, direction, wind)
Starkweather Creek has an east branch and a west branch. The map shows the extent of the creek that is often navigable; however, water levels and hazards such as downed trees can affect conditions.
Points of Interest
- Confluence (where east and west branches split)
- Starkweather Woods (2 mile marker on east side of Starkweather Creek).
- Olbrich Gardens’ Thai Pavilion (east bank of the creek, just south of the Capital City Trail bridge).
In the spring, look for spawning muskellunge fish on the west branch of the creek and listen for the aptly named boreal chorus frogs (especially just south of Milwaukee Street). Also, look for our beautiful wood duck residents—several of which nest in the Starkweather Woods.
Many of Wisconsin’s native fauna call Starkweather Creek home. Sightings will depend on the season, time of day, location, and, often, the patience of the observer. Some of our creek’s most common residents are mallard ducks, muskrats, and white-tailed deer.
In the summer, look for great blue herons and belted kingfishers hunting around the confluence of the east and west branches and swallows skimming the water’s surface, or gnaw marks from beavers on tree trucks along the streambanks. On warm days, look for painted turtles sunning themselves on submerged logs as well as their larger cousin—the snapping turtle. A twilight paddle will also reveal bats feasting on the creek’s plentiful insects.
Fall brings a whirlwind of activity as animals scurry to prepare for winter. Deer are more active in the Starkweather Woods area as are other mammals including raccoons, opossums, and minks. The fall bird migration is especially spectacular with many warbler species using Starkweather Creek as a rest stop for their long journey ahead.
Do you have any feedback on the map or want to share your experience on Starkweather Creek? Please visit our contact us page for information about how to reach out – we would be happy to hear from you!
With this map, the Friends of Starkweather Creek honor long-time member, Carl Landsness, who loved to paddle the creek.