519 East Sheridan Street, PO Box 609 • Eagle River, Wisconsin 54521 • (715) 479-6456
The Northern Highland American Legion (or NHAL) State Forest covers over 200,000 acres across Vilas, Oneida, and Iron counties. While the name is big, the opportunities for recreation are even bigger! This forest has something to offer all outdoor enthusiasts year-round. Here’s a list of recommendations for things to do and places to go in the NHAL in each season.
If you’re going to be a resident of the Northwoods, you’re going to have to find a way to enjoy winter! My favorite way to enjoy (or sometimes tolerate) the season is to do silent sports out on the trails in the winter.
You can access maps for both the Madeline and Raven Trails here: https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/StateForests/nhal/recreation/winter
Razorback Ridges Trail info can be found here: https://www.vilaswi.com/razorback-ridges-trails/ Plus, there are (more clearly labeled) trail maps at the Lions Club warming Shelter.
My two favorite spring activities are birding and searching for spring wildflowers. In fact, my favorite birding spots are all located within the NHAL.
More information, including maps for Powell marsh can be found here: https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Lands/WildlifeAreas/powell.html
More information about Allequash Lake can be found here:
More information about Clear Lake can be found here:
Few things beat a day on the water in the summer. If you love to paddle, the NAHL has many opportunities. Two staff favorites are:
Wisconsin River (Newbold Park to Bridge Rd.) (Above Eagle): This 6.5 mi stretch of the WI makes for a beautiful 2-3 hour paddle, depending on your paddle speed and the current. The start of the paddle is Newbold Memorial park (off of River Rd. just southeast of Lake Tomahawk) where there is a little picnic area and vault toilets. From there, the river winds through beautiful stands of oak and silver maple. There are ample opportunities for wildlife sightings: I’ve seen plenty of eagles, cedar waxwings, deer, and even otters on my paddles! The takeout is at Bridge Rd. in McNaughton—it’s easy to tell from the water since it will be the first bridge you come to!
Information about canoe routes can be found in this DNR publication here: https://p.widencdn.net/xc7qyu/NHALCanoeRoute
Both of the above suggestions are fractions of suggested trips – the Manitowish River route described in this blog is a fraction of Trip #4 in the publication, and the WI River route in this blog is a fraction of Trip #6.
Hiking can be done any time, but nothing compares to fall when the hardwoods put on a show, and the ticks and mosquitoes die down for the season! Try these trails for a fall hike:
Star Lake (Right): Star Lake Nature Trail has a little something for everyone, whether you like to see woods, water, or some local history on your hike! The trail winds around a peninsula once used as a horse pasture during the logging period. The same peninsula was one of the first sites for the early 20th-century reforestation effort. Interpretive signs help give you a sense of the history as you hike along. There are 2 loops—if you have the time and ability, I suggest the longer 2.5 mi loop that cuts closer to the water. Otherwise, the shorter 1-mi loop is equally as pretty!
More information on the Star Lake nature trail can be found here: https://p.widencdn.net/jrmu6u/FR720StarTrail2018,
and more info for Fallison lake can be found here: https://p.widencdn.net/xkutvr/FR716FallisonTrail2018
If you’re looking for maps or even more ideas for your trip in the NHAL, this DNR web page is a fantastic resource: https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/StateForests/nhal/maps
Author, adventurer and TFT Environmental Education Manager, Kim Feller.
Trees For Tomorrow’s campus, located in Eagle River, Wisconsin, includes National Forest property under permit from the USDA Forest Service. Private property owned by Trees For Tomorrow (TFT), the Wisconsin Newspaper Association and Tara Lila LLC are also utilized for education and outreach purposes.
Trees For Tomorrow is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
519 East Sheridan Street, PO Box 609
Eagle River Wisconsin 54521
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