Nicolet National Forest Activity Guides:
Nicolet National Forest Trails:
Nicolet National Forest
Nicolet National Forest Overview
More than 300 years ago, French explorer Jean Nicolet found a green blanket of pine forest sprinkled with lakes and rivers that covered the northeastern corner of Wisconsin. Today this lush wooded area is Nicolet National Forest, a 658,000-acre land that typifies the beauty of northern woodland.
Nicolet has three wilderness areas: Blackjack Springs, Whisker Lakes and Headwaters. Its 1,200 lakes offer plenty of paddling, fishing, boating and swimming, while 800 miles of trails scatter the forest—a delight to all who experience them.
Trek Michigan Rapids Trail
This trail is known for its scenery and spectacular view of Michigan Rapids. It is well marked and travels for a couple of miles through sometimes-rocky terrain, while picturesque rock formations scatter the edges of the shoreline. The rich wildlife of the Peshtigo River wildlife is sometimes visible during this hike.
Fish the Peshtigo
Nicolet brags an impressive collection of 1,200 lakes that include over 50 species of fish. Here, you can find walleye, brook trout, brown trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, bluegill, black crappie, yellow perch, northern pike, suckers, and Muskellunge. The Peshtigo River is one of Nicolet's most trustworthy fishing sites and it is stocked with both rainbow and brown trout. Many Class I and II tributaries enter the river along its way.
Ski the Lauterman Trail
The Lauterman National Recreation Trail is a groomed cross-country trail located in the Florence Ranger District. This fabulous trail includes three loops—two are at intermediate levels and one is perfect for the amateur. Nearby is an Adirondack-style shelter that provides a much-desired respite for the tired skier.
Bird Halley Creek
Nicolet offers an exciting trail specifically intended for the purpose of viewing northeastern birds in the wild. The Halley Creek Bird Trail runs a one-mile loop in the Laona Ranger District, encompassing four different bird habitats and providing visitors the unusual opportunity to see many different varieties of birds in one trip. Typical attractions include the red-eyed vireos, ovenbirds, wood pewees, finches, red-breasted nuthatches, pine warblers, herons, osprey, woodpeckers, tree swallows, and sparrows. You may even see a bald eagle soaring above.
Bike the Anvil
Distinguished by its winding pass beneath deep hardwood and emerald pine, the Anvil National Recreation Trail is a popular mountain biking site. This moderate-level, 12-mile trail passes through some designated wildlife areas. It connects to several campgrounds and the North Trail System, which is also a great biking destination.
Paddle the Brule River
Known for having reliably good canoe water levels throughout the season, the Brule River provides canoe routes even through dry periods during the hot summer. The Brule River is reputed for its scenic shorelines and is punctuated by pines, hardwoods, and northeastern wildlife. Other canoe rivers include the Popple, Oconto and the Pine. Some of the forest's other rivers, especially the Wolf River, are suited for rafting.
Camp Bear Lake
Next to Bear Lake sits a tranquil and quiet campground. Here you will find 27 sites featuring water activities such as boating and swimming. Visitors enjoy the graceful and haunting presence of the loon, and anglers relish the lake's collection of Northern Pike, Largemouth and Rock Bass, Perch, Pumpkinseed, Bluegill and Bluehead.