What to do in Lake Wissota State Park

Lake Wissota State Park lies northeast of Chippewa Falls encompassing 1,062 acres of primarily young, rich forests and open prairie on a 6,300-acre manmade lake. The lake was created in 1918 when the Wisconsin-Minnesota Power and Light Company built a dam on the Chippewa River. The region's early history goes back more than 150 years to 1836, when Frenchman Jean Brunet built the region's first sawmill at the falls of the Chippewa River. Within a year it was ranked as one of the world's largest sawmills. The Chippewa long since has been harnessed to provide electrical power. Pine forests, mixed hardwood timbers, prairie, and marshes are found in the park.

Boating, canoeing, swimming, and waterskiing are popular summer activities on Lake Wissota. There are two boat launches, and motors are allowed. Canoes can be rented at the park from the Friends of Lake Wissota State Park. The park has a bathhouse at the 100-yard beach.
Lake Wissota State Park has two picnic areas and four shelters. There are two ball diamonds and a volleyball court.

Campers find 81 wooded, secluded family campsites; 17 have electricity. There are showers, flush toilets and a sanitary dumping station. Two tents-only group campgrounds accommodate up to 100 people each. Camping reservations are available online or by calling a toll-free reservation number. Contact information is listed below.

Hikers enjoy 17.4 miles of scenic hiking trails within the park. Among the park's most scenic trails is the 1-mile self-guided Beaver Meadow Nature Trail. A trail overlook allows visitors to view the environment and wildlife found in a beaver pond. The park also has 6.5 miles of trails available for daytime horseback riding. Trail pass required for equestrians age 16 years and older.

Bicycling is a popular activity. While most of the park is level, there are 11.3 miles of park trails open to mountain biking. Bikers can access the Old Abe State Trail and ride this paved old railroad grade 16 miles to Brunet Island State Park in Cornell.

Lake Wissota State Park offers a selection of interpretive programs between Memorial Day and Labor Day including weekend nature hikes, bike hikes, and evening programs in the park amphitheater or nature center.

Ice fishing for crappies, walleye and bluegill and 7 miles of groomed and marked cross-country ski trails and 5 miles of snowmobile trails connected to an elaborate county trail system are some of the attractions drawing winter visitors to Lake Wissota State Park.

While the park is open all year, the campground roads are not plowed for snow. Car and recreational vehicle campers camp only until the snow gets deep, but other more rugged winter campers often park on the main park road and carry their gear into the campground.

The cross-country ski trails are groomed for both traditional stride and skate skiing. The park also has 9.6 miles of trail open for snowshoeing, and snowshoes are available for rent at the park office.

Visitors to Lake Wissota State Park enjoy hiking, boating, canoeing, nature study, waterskiing, swimming, fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, camping, ice fishing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling.

The park is located 9 miles northeast of Chippewa Falls in Northwest Wisconsin.

Northwest Wisconsin has four distinct seasons with warm summers and long winters. Great Lakes Michigan and Superior tend to make summers cooler and winters milder close to shore. January's average temperature is in the single digits F (-teens C). During summer, temperatures can climb to above 90 degrees F for several days (32 degrees C). Nighttime summer temperatures occasionally dip below freezing. The area's average yearly precipitation ranges from 32-34". Annual snowfalls in the Northwest Region have a wide range; the southern areas may receive 20" while the northern areas may receive in excess of 200". Dressing in layers is a good way to remain comfortable in Wisconsin.

18127 CTH O
Chippewa Falls, WI 54729

Phone: 715-382-4574

Fax: 715-382-5187

  • Lake Wissota State Park Travel Q&A