Favorite Local Trails and Nature Spaces to Explore this Summer

Getting out into nature is a great way to spend the warm months here in Northern Wisconsin. We’re surrounded by national, regional, and state forests, state parks, and state natural areas. With thousands of acres of forests, prairies, marshes, rivers, and lakes to explore, it can be hard to get started. Here are a few trails and areas we’d like to highlight, for your summer adventures.

Wisconsin DNR-Designated State Natural Areas

Wisconsin State Natural Areas are areas within Wisconsin state parks and forests, which are designated, owned, and managed by the Wisconsin DNR. There are several areas well-known to locals that offer fishing, hiking, and cross-country skiing throughout the year. Most State Natural Areas do not have public facilities, such as restrooms, picnic areas, or other shelters. The DNR site recommends a compass and topographic map or a GPS unit as useful tools for exploring SNAs, as trails are often undesignated.

  • Gobler Lake is a 20-acre bog lake northwest of Tomahawk.
  • Lily Lake is a 42-acre seepage lake, surrounded by open bogs northeast of Tomahawk.
  • Lower Tomahawk River Pines is a forest and wetlands area about 3 miles downstream from The Bearskin Trail.
  • Germain Hemlocks is a forest situated between 3 lakes, located between Tomahawk and Minocqua.

Local Trails Near Tomahawk and Minocqua

Bearskin State Trail, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, is a 21.5-mile trail that runs along Bearskin Creek, between Minocqua and Tomahawk. It is a favorite spot to many locals, offering a compacted granite path, great for walking, jogging, and biking. A state trail pass is required for biking, and can be attained for the year or just for the day. The Northern Highland – American Legion State Forest is nearby and offers additional recreational activities such as boating, fishing, camping, and hunting.

Just down the road from Bearskin State Trail, and starting at Sara Park in downtown Tomahawk, is the Hiawatha Trail. This trail follows the old Milwaukee Road Railroad and runs 6 miles before it becomes the Bearskin State Trail. It’s a great trail for a family-friendly walk or bike during the spring and summer. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, follow the combined trails the full 24 miles north to Minocqua!

The Raven Trail is located just outside of Mincoqua along Clear Lake. The area includes four hiking trail loops of varying distances. It also offers a paved multi-use trail, that runs from the Clear Lake boat landing to the Indian Mound Campground.

Northern Wisconsin offers an abundance of beautiful spaces and summer adventure options. Whether you’re seeking solitude in nature, family-friendly activities, or some of each, our region’s diverse offerings are sure to help you create sweet memories. Go ahead and grab your hiking boots, compass, binoculars, and/or bike and get out into nature this summer!