Hiking & Wildlife Viewing

Over 100 miles of scenic hiking trails wind through the pristine forests and along the beautiful lakes and rivers of Washburn County. Trails vary from short beginner trails to longer more difficult trails for the more experienced hiker. Washburn County's excellent hiking trails include the Hunt Hill Audubon Sanctuary, Stone Lake Wetland Park, Trego Lake, Trego Nature trails and many more.

Hiking Trails:

Wildlife Viewing

Extraordinary wildlife can be found year round in Washburn County. Over 148,000 acres of public land offer opportunities to view bald eagles, deer, waterfowl, grouse and many more Northwoods creatures.

Of particular interest in Northwest Wisconsin is the high number of Bald Eagles.  Once threatened, the bald eagle has made a tremendous recovery.  Although still protected, these majestic birds can be seen frequently in Washburn County.  Other protected species include ospreys and loons.  In order to catch sight of a loon, you'll want to visit an area lake in the early morning hours.  If you hear this sound, be assured, a loon is nearby.

View maps of Public Land in Washburn County on the Washburn County Forestry site.

Tips and Techniques for Wildlife Viewing:

What to Bring:

  • Field Guide - Pick up a reference book at a local bookstore to help identify the animals that you will be seeing. 
  • Binoculars - In order to view wildlife without coming too close or disturbing them, bring a pair of binoculars. This way, you get a close up view without getting too close.
  • Camera - Be sure to take lots of photos to share about your Northwood’s experience
  • Bug Repellent
  • Raingear


  • Be Prepared- Safety for yourself and the animals should be your number one priority. Be sure someone knows where you are going and always bring a friend. Research the viewing area prior to going to make sure that the trail suits your skill level. 
  • Before you leave- Wear neutral colored clothing as it does not attract the animal’s eye. Be sure to wear sensible shoes if you will be hiking. Bring bug repellent as bugs may be plentiful on many of the area trails. 
  • Do not feed the animals - Feeding wild animals is extremely dangerous. Please do not feed them and make sure you take your food with you when you leave.
  • The best times for wildlife viewing are at dawn & dusk when the animals are moving around.
  • Blinds are recommended for wildlife viewing. Cars, boats & kayaks make great blinds as animals are used to seeing these and may not be as startled by them. 
  • View from a safe distance. You don’t want to startle or intimidate a wild animal. Remember-you are in their habitat
  • Stay clear of nests and dens as young animals are more susceptible to human contact. If you see a nest or den, slowly back away from the area to not disturb the animals. If you see a young animal alone, leave it. Chances are the mother is nearby and waiting for you to leave.
  • Be responsible. Please take your trash with you.

Featured Properties for Wildlife Viewing:

Namekagon Barrens Wildlife Area

In total this property is 6,446 acres located in Burnett & Washburn Counties. The NBWA is home to the largest Wisconsin population of sharp-tailed grouse and other animals such as deer, turkey, and bear. Although there are not designated hiking trails this is a beautiful property to venture around and you may even stumble upon some critters. Just 1 mile west of the NBWA you will find the St. Croix River which is also home to many wetland creatures.

More Info

Hunt Hill Audubon Sanctuary

A beautiful 600 acre nature preserve, open to the public, is home to many native Wisconsin birds. Often times you will hear their sounds or see them flying overhead when you hike on one the trails. On this beautiful property visitors will are encourage to enjoy the 13 miles of hiking trails, ranging in distance and difficulty. You're sure to see wildlife wandering around when you're out enjoying Hunt Hill's beautiful property.

More Info