The Best of WashCo: Wide Open Spaces

Shell Lake Beach, Photo: Maureen Hoffman

Best of WashCo: Wide Open Spaces

Kaitlin Hanson, Washburn County Staff Writer

Wide open spaces. The great northwoods. The middle of nowhere. Whatever you call it, we know what you mean. The outdoor adventures are endless in Washburn County, whether exploring one of the many trails, enjoying time on the water, or just sitting back to put your toes in the sand - there’s no wrong way to enjoy Washburn County’s outdoors! And, with so many options we knew that this had to be included in our Best of WashCo series. The nominations came in across the board, but you voted and we listened. So without further ado let’s get to the good part. 

Coming in at the top is Shell Lake Beach. If you know Shell Lake Beach, you know this one speaks for itself. This beach has a gorgeous sandy swimming area (the closest thing to ocean sand you’ll find around here...), picnic tables, a playground, fishing pier, swimming’s a long list. With all that fun to be had, we understand why you voted this one to the top of the list. Not to mention, this beach is close to a couple of great ice cream stops - hard scoop & soft serve. Trust me when I say, it makes for a great way to end a day of soaking in the sunshine & playing in the water.

Our second and third place continued along with the water theme and were so very close in the voting! So, next up was Long Lake, the Walleye Capital of Wisconsin. This 19 mile long lake offers great fishing opportunities, plenty of boat-in restaurants and taverns, and recreational rentals for some fun on the lake. The history runs deep as many of the establishments and cabins along the shoreline have been around since the early 1900’s. My personal favorite thing to do is enjoy the water from the comfort of a pontoon and admire all the boathouses. I know it sounds odd, but along the shoreline there are many boat houses that are so unique and have been on the lake for quite some time. I envy those who are lucky enough to call one of these beauties their own. It is such a gorgeous lake and offers miles upon miles of scenery.

And finally, for those wanting to stretch their legs, take in beautiful scenery and listen to the flowing river - the trails along the Namekagon River are perfect for you! Whether you’re wanting a shorter hike or to take the long way, the trails can accommodate either. For a fun, but oh so scenic hike, head to the Trego Nature Trail off of Highway 63. Just a few steps into the woods and you’ll hear the river. Be sure to bring your camera as there are great scenic overlooks of the river to capture. If you choose to venture all the way to the footbridge and do the extra loop at the end of the trail, it is about 2.8 miles, but an easy trek. For a little longer hike and some hilly parts, Trego Lake Trail is your spot. This trail offers three different loops to adventure on. These trails have direct access to Trego Lake, one of the flowages on the Namekagon River. The sights are beautiful and you can enjoy a peaceful walk through nature; you’ll probably encounter a critter or two along the way. Both trails along the Namekagon are peaceful and pristine! 

These are just the top three ways to enjoy the wide open spaces of Washburn County, but there is so much more to take in, experience, and adventure through. For more information on the outdoors of Washburn County visit

About the Author: Kaitlin is life long Washburn County resident and has loved it. Now she raises her little one to enjoy all things Washburn County has to offer just as she did when she was a tyke!