Monday, June 9, 2014

Lakeside walks await in Chequamegon N.F.

Walking paths and jeep trails lace northern Wisconsin’s Chequamegon National Forest, offering a variety of day hiking experiences.

While hardly an exhaustive list, some great day hiking trails in the Saywer County portion of the national forest – which is northeast of Hayward – will take you to historic streams, up fire towers, and alongside "Quiet Lakes." Trails include:
g 315-319 Trail – The 0.75–mile out-and-back jeep trail (1.5-miles round trip) heads through a thick forest of mixed hardwoods. Park off of Forest Road 319 at the trailhead, which is the first left north of County Road B; turn back at Forest Road 315.
g Black Lake Trail – A 4-mile loop around the classic Northwoods lake includes nine interpretive signs about the history of logging in the area. Park at the Black Lake campground.
g Clam Lake Lookout Tower Trail – The jeep trail climbs 64 feet over 0.2 miles (0.4-miles round trip) to a fire tower at 1522 feet elevation, providing views of more than a dozen lakes and the West Fork Chippewa River. You can more than triple the hike’s distance by continuing on the jeep trail northeast of the tower. Park off the jeep trail at its junction with Forest Road 208 north of Wis. Hwy. 77.
g Fishtrap Creek Trail – The hiking trail heads 1.1-miles (2.2-miles round trip) through a mixed hardwoods and pine forest from Log Lodge Road (immediately east of Fish Trap Lake Road/Forest Road 1661) to Fishtrap Creek. The creek connects Fishtrap Lake and the East Fork Chippewa River.
g Lost Land Lake Trail – A brief 0.4-mile round trip hike through a woods, the trail ends at an overview of Lost Land Lake, one of Wisconsin's three Quiet Lakes in which jet or water skiing are not allowed. Park off of Upper A Road at the trailhead, which is the first right east of Wilson Creek.
g Mukwonago Lake Trail – The 2.5-mile loop skirts the west shore of Mukwonago (aka Larson) Lake, climbs a hill to 1450 feet elevation, and then turns back at a pond. Park to the side of the gate at the trailhead on the south side of Hwy. 77 east of North Neumaier Road.
g West Fork Lookout Tower Trail – The 0.4-mile out-and-back jeep trail (0.8-miles round trip) is uphill for the first half of the walk to a fire tower at 1495 feet elevation, which offers great views of the surrounding countryside. Park off the side of the trail junction with Moose Lake Road, the first left west of County Road S/Forest Road 164.

Note that most of the national forest trails don’t have official names. For convenience sake, the above trails are named after the major waterbody they pass or the roads they connect. Also, a national forest pass is needed to park your vehicle at the trailheads.

Read more about day hiking Sawyer County, Wisconsin, in my Day Hiking Trails of Sawyer County guidebook.