Chequamegon National Forest Overview

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The Ojibwa tribe gave this land the name "Chequamegon," or "place of the shallow water." It was here in these pristine, low waters that the tribe would canoe down the tranquil Chaquamegon Bay and fish its abundant supply of smallmouth bass, northern pike, walleye and trout. To this day, Chequamegon National Forest remains famed for the prize fishing and serene canoeing within its low waters.

The Chequamegon is located in the north-central pine covered meadows of Wisconsin. Its 850,000 acres extend from Ashland all the way up to Lake Superior. Glacier-rounded hills and plenty of lakes offer all the recreational opportunities of a northwoods forest, including two National Scenic Trails.

Backpack the North Country Scenic Trail
This National Scenic Trail runs from New York to South Dakota, but a stretch of it is exclusively for visitors to the Chequmegon. Though the full hike within the forest can take up to five or six days, portions of the trail also make for a great day hike. While you are on the trail, you will pass serene lakes, as well as an assortment of pines, white birches, and aspens. The trail also offers an excursion through the Rainbow Lake Wilderness Area.

Bike the Drummond
The Washburn Ranger District is home to a great cluster of trails called the Drummond System. The System is composed of several loops, ranging in length. This is a great trail for all levels, and especially for those who want to enjoy the forest's wildflowers, deep woods, lakes, and wildlife. Another great mountain biking system is the Rock Lake Trail Cluster in the Hayward Ranger District.

Fish Round Lake
One of the best fishing lakes in Park Falls Ranger District is Round Lake. Found in its waters are northern pike, musky, walleye, large and small mouth bass, crappie, yellow perch, panfish, and bullhead. Other areas within the forest boast excellent fishing and a wide variety of species. Some of these destinations include Owen Lake in the Washburn Ranger District and the Mondeaux Flowage in the Medford Ranger District.

Paddle the Namekagon
This National Wild and Scenic River turns a simple boat ride into the journey of a modern-day voyageur. The cruise down Namekagon Lake starts as a river outing, but eventually turns into a Class II and III challenge. Other great floating destinations in the forest include The South Fork of the Flambeau River and the East Fork of the Chippewa.

Ski Rock Lake Trail Cluster
These groomed paths are great for all distances and degrees of skill. The particularly scenic system runs through the Great Divide Ranger District, up some big climbs and down invigorating descents. The trail tours the region and displays some of the best views the area has to offer.

Find Northwoods Birding
Every spring and fall, visitors gather to see the parade of birds soaring overhead during migration. The forest's wide array of over 800 wetlands is a prime spot for the enthusiastic bird-watcher. The Chequamegon has even developed five areas for exhibits, driving tours, and information about the forest's bird and animal inhabitants. These areas include Chequmegon Waters Flowage, Popple Creek and Wilson Flowage, Day Lake, Lynch Creek, and Moquah Pine Barrens.

Camp Smith Rapids
This small and quaint campground is situated along the South Fork of the Flambeau River. Nearby is the Smith Rapids Covered Bridge, as well as some trout fishing in the nearby river. Also accessible from the campground is Smith Rapids Saddle Trail for great horseback riding. The campground facilitates places for horse trailers.

Ride the Ice Age Trail
The Ice Age National Scenic Trail runs through the state of Wisconsin and eventually through Chequamegon National Forest. Here you will find some breathtakingly picturesque horseback riding trails as you zigzag across the chain of glacial moraine hills that were created by the Ice Age thousands of years ago.


Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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