The forest offers a variety of recreational opportunities. Canoeing is the most popular activity on the forest. Different portions of the river offer varying degrees of difficulty. The North Fork is ideal for the novice, while South Fork is for the advanced paddler. Musky, sturgeon, trout, walleye, bass and panfish can be caught from the river as well as the lakes in the forest. The forest is open to public hunting for bear, waterfowl, deer and grouse, just to name a few.
Activities and recreation:
All terrain vehicles
The Flambeau River State Forest has 38 miles of ATV trails. Trails are generally open from May 15th to November 15th. When riding through the forest, you must stay on designated trails.
Lake of the Pines Campground
This rustic family campground is open from April 15 to December 15. There are a total of 30 sites, all are non-electric and there are no ADA designated sites.
The campground includes two vault toilet buildings, a hand pump for water, a garbage and recycling station, boat access to Lake of the Pines and access to a half-mile nature trail. There is a designated swimming area also accessible from within the campground. Firewood is available within the forest by private vendors.
Connors Lake Campground
This rustic family campground is open at noon on the Thursday before Memorial Day and closes the Tuesday after Labor Day. There are a total of 29 sites with 2 ADA designated sites. All but four sites are non-electric, sites: 7, 9, 10, and 11 have electric service.
The campground includes two vault toilet buildings, hand pump water, garbage and recycling station, boat access to Connors Lake and access to a short 0.3 mile nature trail. There is a designated swimming area also accessible from within the campground. Firewood is available within the forest by private vendors.
The Flambeau River State Forest has 14 miles of cross-country ski trails groomed for both skate and classic skiing providing opportunities for a variety of skill levels. Access to the ski trail in the north is located on Hwy. 70 and County Rd. W to the south. A self-registration station is also located at the trail head. Other trails on the property are open to skiing but are not groomed. A trail pass is required for all skiers 16 years of age and older.
There are many locations where you can access the forest’s lakes and the Flambeau River for fishing. Primarily this access is provided by boat landings and fishing piers. A vehicle admission sticker is required at some locations so if accessing the water from a trail be sure to check the list of parking areas below in the Hiking and Nature Trails section. Visitors must obtain the proper fishing licenses.
Hiking, snowshoeing and nature trails
There are many opportunities for hiking in the forest. Nature trails without interpretive signs can be found at both the Connors Lake Campground and Lake of the Pines Campground. Vehicle admissions stickers are required for parking at the campgrounds. No trail pass is needed for the nature trails.
Hiking is allowed on the Flambeau Hills Ski Trail during summer, and in winter whenever the trails are not groomed for cross-country skiing.
In winter when trails are not groomed for cross-country skiing, visitors may snowshoe or hike.
All trails are open during small game and deer hunting seasons. To ensure your safety during these times, avoid brown or white clothing. Instead, wear blaze orange or bright colors, including a blaze orange hat.
There are no designated equine trails but folks are welcome to ride on old logging trails and gravel roads within the property. Horses are not allowed on any beach, posted or marked hiking trail, nature trail, picnic area or campground.
Excellent hunting opportunities exist on the state forest. The forest provides habitat for many common species.
Ruffed grouse, woodcock and wild turkey
Beaver, otter, muskrat, mink, red and gray fox, coyote and bobcat
The forest is open to public hunting during designated seasons with the appropriate license. Hunting is not allowed:
in Connors Lake and Lake of the Pines campgrounds;
at the Connors Lake Picnic area;
in any areas signed as closed to hunting; or
on private land within the forest boundary, unless permission is given to the hunter by the land owner or the land is open to hunting through the private tax law lands designation.
Mountain & road biking
In the summer the 14-mile Flambeau Hills Ski trail is open to biking. Since this trail is used for skiing in winter months it is suitable for mountain biking but wide enough that bikers and hikers can comfortably use the same trail. Trailhead parking is located on Highway 70 and Highway W. Biking is also allowed on any of the forest roads without a trail pass. Please note that the trail may be grassy, have wet terrain and is very hilly.
Individuals 16 years of age or older who wish to ride on state forest bike trails must obtain an annual or daily trail pass.
The Flambeau River offers paddling opportunities for all skill levels. Use the information below to help plan your adventure.
North and South forks
The short 15-mile section of the South Fork of the Flambeau River within the state forest boundary is known for its challenging rapids with wild whitewater paddling class I–V. The river’s seasonal peak flow occurs from early spring to mid June. Landings included are Hwy W to Hervas Camp Landing.
There are about 77 miles of the North Fork within the forest. This portion offers a more relaxing trip with its slower class I-III rapids allowing paddlers to enjoy the excellent fishing along the way.
Because of the length of the North Fork of the Flambeau River, we advise you to make the trip in sections. Take your time and enjoy the adventure. You'll average three to four miles per hour with steady paddling and some assistance from the current. If fishing will be part of your trip plan on at least doubling your time to cover the same distance.
There are six established landings along the North Fork of the river and one on the South Fork. There is no charge to use of these landings so you can leave your car overnight if you're camping on the river.
There are picnic facilities at Connors Lake along Hwy W. This picnic area has drinking water, flush toilets, picnic tables, grills and playground equipment. The picnic tables, vault toilets and water fountain are ADA accessible. A day use or annual vehicle admissions sticker is required. Pets are allowed in the designated pet area only.
There is a covered picnic shelter building which includes picnic tables with outdoor cooking grills. It is reservable by contacting the property directly.
The forest contains 55 miles of snowmobile trails which provide access to the Tuscobia State Trail and the Sawyer County trail system to the north, and the Price and Rusk county trail systems to the south.
Wisconsin law requires those who use Wisconsin snowmobile trails to display either Wisconsin registration or a snowmobile trail pass.
Day parking is available for vehicles with trailers at the Flambeau Hills Trailhead and Dix Dox. A vehicle admission sticker is not required. Parking lots for the state forest trail system are plowed after each major snowfall.
The opening and closing of snowmobile trails is at the discretion of each county. Snowmobile trails which cross DNR lands are opened and closed consistent with the surrounding county (or counties). Whenever possible, the opening and closing of snowmobile trails is done on a county-wide basis, however localized conditions may require localized trail opening and closing. It is the responsibility of the county to provide notification about the status of snowmobile trails.
There are three designated swimming beaches with vault toilets on the state forest. Swimmers should exercise caution as lifeguards are not on duty.
The beach at Connors Lake picnic area includes a sandy beach with drinking water available. At the other end of Connors Lake, the campground also has a sandy beach and hand pump for drinking water. A vehicle admission sticker or day pass is required for both locations.
The Lake of the Pines campground beach also requires a vehicle admission sticker.
These are the only designated swimming areas on the property, however, swimming is allowed elsewhere when waters are not signed "closed to swimming." Popular areas include Slough Gundy, the Cedar Rapids river campsite and the Hwy W landing. Swimmers should exercise caution, especially in moving water, as there are no lifeguards on duty.
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