The Flambeau River is the crown jewel of the state forest. With 75 miles of the north and south forks lying within the forest's boundary, its pristine waters and shoreline are available to all to enjoy. The Flambeau River offers a little bit of everything. From canoeing, camping, kayaking and tubing - to fishing and waterfowl hunting - there is something for all ages.
Flambeau River State Forest is a sustainably managed working forest providing a wide array of benefits to its resident natural systems and communities and to the general public. Opportunities abound for enthusiasts from all walks of life, especially those looking to experience the solitude of the Northwoods.
Distance yourself from the daily grind and leave your cell phone behind. Don't be suprrised if you hear the distant howl of a wolf, the song of a loon or bugling of an elk in the fall. Unplug and tune in to Nature's soundtrack on the Flambeau.
History of the Flambeau River State Forest
The Flambeau River State Forest was established in 1930 following the petitions of local citizens to preserve a large block of land on the Flambeau River. By 1946, the original 3,112 acres of forest had grown more than 65,000 - most of which were purchased from lumber companies hoping to provide some benefit from cutover forest lands.
In the early 1950s, the original headquarters building was built from windblown hemlock logs. Recreational development followed in the late 1950s. Today, the forst has more than 91,000 acres, with a new headquarters built in 2015. The forest still retains much of its early flavor, providing a remote backcountry experience that harkens back to a bygone era.
Did you know...
The forest's name was derived from early French traders and trappers who observed the locla Ojibwe Native Americans harvesting fish by torch light. The French word "flambeau", which means torch, is the root word in Lac du Flambeau, the formal name applied to the local Ojibwe. Lac du Flambeau is literally translated as "Lake of the Torches."
Camping the Flambeau River State Forest
Popular camping options in the forest include family, canoe and backpack camping.
There are two family campgrounds in the forest: Lake of the Pines Campground and Connors Lake Campground. The two campgrounds have a combined 59 rustic sites with fire rings, picnic tables, and toilets. Both campgrounds have a swimming beach, nature trail and drinking water. Electricity is available at some sites. Showers are available at the Forest Headquarters. For fall and winter camping, Lake of the Pines is open until December 15. Reservable sites are available at the Connors Lake Campground.
There are 35 primitive canoe campsites along the Flambeau River. These sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are limited to a one-night stay. The sites are rustic with picnic tables, fire rings and an outhouse.
The forest offers great backpack camping, which is allowed anywhere in the forest with the exception of the Native Community Management Areas (for exact locations, contact headquarters). Primitive hunter camping is available during nine-day gun deer season. Hunters must obtain a free camping permit prior to October 31.
Stretch your legs or feel the wind in your hair on this extensive trail system.
The Flambeau River State Forest features 15 miles of cross-country ski trails groomed for both skate and classic skiing, providing opportunities for a variety of skill levels. The north access point is on Highway 70. The southern access is off of County Road W. In the summer, the trails may be used by mountain bikers and hikers. Nature trails are at Connors Lake Campground and Lake of the Pines Campground. There are also 60 miles of maintained hunter/walking trails that are mowed yearly, providing access ot remote areas of the forest.
The Flambeau River State Forest has 38 miles of ATV trails that are generally open from May 15 to November 15. There are also 55 miles of snowmobile trails providing access to the Tuscobia State Trail and the Sawyer County trail system to the north, and the Price and Rusk Counties trail systems to the south. In addition, 60 miles of improved forest roads provide vehicle access throughout the forest. When riding through the forest, please stay on designated trails.
Canoeing and Kayaking the Flambeau River
Considered one of the finest river tips in the Midwest, the Flambeau River offers paddling opportunities for all skill levels. For detailed descriptions of trip sections, visit PaddleFlambeau.com
There are about 57 miles of the North Fork within the Flambeau River State Forest. This section offers a more relaxing trip with its slower class I-III rapids, allowing paddlers to enjoy the excellent fishing along the way. Musky, sturgeon, walley, bass, and panfish can be caught from the river. Trip lengths can be as short as three hours or as long as five days.
For the more experienced, the short 15-mile section of the South Fork of the Flambeau River within the state forest boundary is known for its challenging rapids with wild whitewater paddling over class I-V rapids. The river's peak flow occurs one-to-two days following heavy rain events and early spring to mid-June.
Hunting and Fishing the Flambeau River State Forest
Land or water, hoof or wing, the Flambeau River State Forest is an outdoor enthusiasts paradise. The entire forest is open to public hunting, provided hunters remain more than 100 feet from designated use areas. Ruffed grouse, white-tailed deer, bear, waterfowl and other game species are common. There are more than 60 miles of maintained hunter/walking trails and multiple primitive trails to explore. Backpack and hunting camps are familiar sights during peak-use seasons. There are no fees for primitive camping, but a permit is required. Muskie, walley, bass, catfish, sturgeon and panfish are present in the Flambeau River and numerous lakes within the forest. For those fly fishing anglers, there are currentoly 190 miles of classified trout rivers and streams on the property.
Flambeau River Wildlife
Many species of animals call the Flambeau River and surrounding uplands home. The river is abundant with musky, walley, catfish, sturgeon and smallmouth bass. Several varieties of mussels and turtles call the river home as well, including some protected species. You're bound to see bald eagle, geese, ducks and maybe a swan or two on the river. Several eagle nests are located within the forest boundary. If you look closely, you might spot signs of beaver building dens and otter playing in the area, as well as muskrats and fishers. With all the undeveloped shoreline, you may catch glimpses of white-tailed deer with fawns coming to the river for a drink, and maybe, just maybe you'll see one of the eld from the Flambeau herd.
Recreation in the Flambeau River State Forest
Pack a lunch and a towel, then get ready to observe one of the state's iconic species.
Picnic/beach areas are available to boat landings 8 and 9 on the north and easy shores of Caldron Falls flowage. High Falls flowage provides picnicking at boat landings 5 and 7.
Elk Return to the Forest
After more than a century-and-a-half of their absence, a small herd of elk was returned to the fores in 2014. In the coming years, more will be introduced to supplement the herd, giving visitors a better opportunity to view these iconic animals.
While there are far greater recreational opportunities shared in this article, we're sharing the portion of activities enjoyed in Southern Sawyer County.
Explore Southern Sawyer County is a local business resource operating in conjuction with the Southern Sawyer County Tourism Marketing Projected. Powered by Superior Marketing and Hooties Hauler. The mission is to help uncover the "Hidden Gems" that reside in Southern Sawyer County, Tuscobia Trail, Flambeau River resorts area and the Chippewa Flowage.
Business Feature Articles
Business Promotional Videos
Hooties Hauler Tavern Tours
Business Press Releases
Social Media Advertising