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.
Beaver Brook Trail
Location: 1 mile SW of Hwy 53 on Cranberry Dr.
Length: 6.4 miles
Trail Details: Dogs OK/Parking
Over 6 miles of incredible hiking trails wind through the Beaver Brook Wildlife Area. This nearly 2,000 acre property, offers a variety of trout streams, springs and lakes. Remnants of several homesteads can be found on the property and remnants of an old logging dam built in 1870 and removed in 1910 are still visible near the mouth of Beaver Brook.
College Street Park Trail
Location: ½ mile North of Elm St. on College St.
Length: 6 miles, multiple loops
Trail Details: Dogs OK/Parking/Picnic Area
Located in the heart of Spooner, the College Street Park trails offer several loops to hike, are pet friendly and are easily accessible. The paved trail, roughly one mile long, connects the elementary, middle and high schools and offers exercise stations along the trail.
Location: N10884 Hoinville Rd, Trego
Length: 16 miles
Trail Details: Parking/Activity Fee/Disc Golf
Located at Heartwood Resort & Conference Center, these trails are situated on 700 acres of incredible northwoods beauty. Bicycle rentals, disc golf, lodging and more are available on site. Please note that there is a trail use fee, so please check in at registration prior to using the trails.
Hunt Hill Trails
Location: 2.5 miles East of Cty P on Audubon Rd.; Left on Hunt Hill Rd.
Length: 13 miles (Various trails)
Trail Details: Dogs OK/Parking
13 miles of loops meander through this 600 acre nature reserve near Long Lake. From wide prairies to dense forests, you will find a variety of hiking opportunities on the property. One particularly interesting trail is the "Bog Trail", a family favorite, and was even featured on Discover Wisconsin. If you take a wander down the Barred Owl Trail you'll find a new feature, a Discovery Trail with a theme that changes every month.
Ice Age Trail-Grassy Lake Segment
Location: 2.4 miles SE of Hwy 63 on Lehman Lake Rd.
Length: 7.2 miles
Trail Details: Info to come
The Grassy Lake segment of the Ice Age Trail offers a primitive hiking trail for those looking to get off the beaten path. Part of the 1,000 mile Ice Age Trail which traverses Wisconsin's amazing landscape, Grassy Lake is one of many Ice Age trails for you to check out.
Nordic Woods Trail
North: 11 ½ mi. E of Hwy 53 on Hwy 70
South: 11 mi. E of Hwy 53 on Cty. B
Length: 9 miles
Trail Details: Parking
Located just southwest of Stone Lake, Nordic Woods offers an excellent trail for hiking on Washburn County Forest Land. With 9 miles of loops, it's the perfect spot for trail running as well.
Sawyer Brook Springs Trail
Location: 1st St. (Lewis) behind the Shell Lake Arts Center
Length: 1 mile
Trail Details: Parking
If you're looking for a short, scenic hike, Sawyer Brook Springs is the perfect spot. The babbling brook flowing through the area offers the perfect background noise for some peaceful hiking.
Stone Lake Wetland Park
Location: West of Highway 70 in Stone Lake
Length: 17.4 acres
Trail Details: Dogs OK/Parking/Picnic Area/Restrooms
Located in downtown Stone Lake, these trails offer a beautiful hike through a wetland area and pristine Northwoods scenery. Dogs are welcome on a leash and there is a beautiful pergola nestled along the trail, offering the perfect place to take a rest during your hike.
Location: 2 miles North of Minong on Highway 53
Length: 5 miles
Trail Details: Parking
Located 2 miles North of Minong on Highway 53, these trails offer scenic hiking during the summer and fall. There are multiple loops ranging in distance depending on how long of a hike you're wanting to take.
Trego Lake Trail
Location: 2 miles West of Highway 53 on River Road
Length: 3.5 miles
Trail Details: Dogs OK/Parking/Restrooms
Managed by the National Park Service, the Trego Lake Trail is located 2 miles west of 53 on River Road. The trail has multiple loops that wind through scenic property along the Trego Flowage, part of the Namekagon River: Wisconsin's Moving National Park.
Trego Nature Trail
Nestled along the Namekagon River, the Trego Nature Trail is located within the St. Croix National Park System. This trail is free to hike and follows along the Namekagon River. The trail is approximately three miles and offers incredible wildlife viewing along the river
The Tuscobia Trail runs from Rice Lake, through Washburn and Sawyer Counties, ultimately ending up in Park Falls. This multi-use trail welcomes a variety of recreational users. The trail surface of the Tuscobia varies between grass, dirt and gravel.
Wild River Trail
Beginning in Rice Lake and ultimately ending in Superior, the Wild Rivers State Trail runs North/South through Washburn County and offers multiple trailheads. This multi-use trail welcomes a variety of recreational opportunities and has a gravel surface.
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.
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.
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.
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
- 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.