Some of the most unforgettable hikes take place where land meets water—with more than 1,300 lakes in Vilas County, there are numerous forest trails that trace the water’s edge. Here are a few of our favorite lakeside hikes in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.
Star Lake Nature Trail – Star Lake
This beautiful trail will take you onto a peninsula that juts out into Star Lake. The trail crosses some picturesque stretches of boardwalk, but you’ll find some of the most scenic views at the water’s edge.
Spectacle Lake-Kentuck Lake Trail – Phelps
This scenic trail travels through a colorful deciduous forest between two campgrounds. In the warmer months, hikers and campers can enjoy the swimming beach at Spectacle Lake. If the water is a little cool for swimming, it’s still worth a visit and the view is beautiful.
Lumberjack Trail – Boulder Junction
This 12-mile trail skirts the edge of White Sand Lake and two loops will take you into the wilderness. Stretches of the trail also follow along the edge of the Manitowish River and Fishtrap Lake.
Shannon Lake Trail – St. Germain
This trail system will take you through a variety of beautiful stands of northern hardwoods, but one of the most scenic stretches is a loop around Shannon Lake.
Catherine Wolter Wilderness Area – Presque Isle
This pristine wilderness area is laced with trails that will take you past undeveloped waters like Knife Lake, Canteen Lake and John Lake. Loops of various lengths are possible, so you can find a hike that’s the perfect length for you.