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Solitude and hiking in Northern Wisconsin??
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Aug 8, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Capitol Peak
Hello Mountain Project community!

My wife and I are new arrivals to Wisconsin from Colorado, and we are in need of some quiet solitude in a natural setting. My wife and I are not necessarily looking to climb during our upcoming trip, but were curious if anybody can give us some advice on descent places with primitive camping and good hiking. Also, we will be going during the week to avoid weekend crowds.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!


Danny Minahan
From Madison, WI
Joined May 16, 2013
5 points
Aug 8, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Last Pitch on Baxter's
You might look at sections of the North Country Trail. Can't think of much in the way of larg wilderness areas up there. There's a cool hiking trail on the mainland in the Apostle Islands, but it can be busy. Maybe not so much during the week.
Over the winter, I was in Michigan by Bessemer, the Black River area to the north is pretty cool. The NCT passes through there, and that might offer some solitude.
From Jackson, WY
Joined Aug 19, 2009
213 points
Aug 8, 2013
I moved to Colorado after living 25 years in Wisconsin, and personally, I'd just keep driving up to the Porcupine Mountains in da U.P. near Ontanagon, MI. Good hiking and backpacking up there. Although, there are some pretty good spots near Rhinelander, Tomahawk, Cable, Hayward, and other areas. I might stay a little ways away from Minoqua, as that always seemed to attract the touristy crowd - still a nice area, though.

Take your deet. When your clothes start to fall apart, you might have enough on. The joke, as in some other states, is that that state bird is the mosquito.

Be careful where you camp, too. Much of Wisconsin is private land, and camping in designated areas is appreciated. I remember most of the Ice Age Trail being this way.

Good luck!

From Fort Collins, CO
Joined Feb 22, 2010
2 points
Aug 8, 2013
It's not hiking, but you may look into renting/borrowing a canoe and floating down a section of the Namakagan river.

If it's really hiking you're after I'd recommend you spend an extra 1-2 hours in the car and hit the Superior Hiking train on MN's North shore, or if you REALLY want solitude head further up the North Shore to either the Border Route or Kekakabic trail. You will likely see nobody on either of those mid-week (or ever).
Steve M
From MN
Joined Aug 2, 2011
92 points
Aug 8, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: me
I haven't been there, but the Sylvania Wilderness area has always intrigued me. Isle Royale would work too, but that's a bit of a haul from Madison. If you have the time I'd recommend it though. sqwirll
From Las Vegas
Joined Mar 12, 2006
1,493 points
Aug 9, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Capitol Peak
Thank you for all the great ideas! I will spend some time investigating all of the options. And yes, Steve M, a canoe trip is also an option. That is something I would like to get more involved with, and from what it seems around here, a standard Wisconsin activity.

Thanks again, and I hope you are all having an awesome summmer!

Danny Minahan
From Madison, WI
Joined May 16, 2013
5 points
Aug 9, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Justin on Pywiack Dome
If you like canoeing you may also be interested in sea kayaking. You can find solitude in the apostles without much work.

Canoeing and camping on the Wisconsin River is another good option, though maybe not as solitary as you are looking for.
Justin Meyer
From Madison, WI
Joined May 24, 2012
41 points
Aug 11, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: At the "summit"
Some suggestions:

Sylvania Wilderness - backpack or canoe
Pictured Rocks (UP) - backpack or sea kayak
Porcupine Mountains (UP) - backpack (beautiful during Fall colors)
Isle Royale - kinda pricey ferry, but great hiking trails
Apostle Islands - sea kayak
Wisconsin River - canoe (camp on a sand bar)
Kettle Moraine North Unit - 2-3 day backpack
Black River State Forest - overnight backpack
Joined May 9, 2011
1,445 points
Aug 11, 2013
A few more options -

Float the Flambeau River West of Fifield on 70... Bring your spinning/fly rod monster smallmouths, northerns, and muskies.

Door County/Washington Island - Not much wilderness, but incredible snorkeling, kayaking, etc... (Must See - Rock Island)

Sea Kayaking around the Apostles

Final Note - Growing up in Wisconsin I didn't spend nearly enough time on both lake michigan and superior.... If you haven't tried sailing, might be something to look into. Start small on inland lakes, then move up.... your range of possible adventures will grow..
Kyle M
Joined Nov 30, 2011
15 points
Aug 11, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking at a 5.7 crack with Nick
I would recommend the North Country Trail from Copper Falls west, going up to the UP for the porkies or pictured rocks, or the lake superior shore around Cornucopia.(sp?)The Chequamegon and Nicolet can be really quiet areas, but it requires quite a bit more work to avoid all of the logging roads and atvers. I grew up in Northern Wisconsin,so if you have any specific questions send me a pm. Josh Olson
From Durango, CO
Joined Mar 7, 2010
362 points
Aug 11, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: J Tree after blizzard
I second Yagi's comment about mosquitos. I'll add that ticks are everywhere as well. While hiking on the Ice Age trail, I got several on my pants every minute. Tuck your pants into your socks at all times.

While I haven't yet climbed there, I have scouted some areas. The St. Croix riverway (Taylors Falls, Mn) has some great looking cliffs in a beautiful setting, and the North Shore is just spectacular. I would definitely recommend heading up there, and this time of year is prime.
From Brighton, CO
Joined Sep 24, 2010
59 points
Aug 11, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Capitol Peak
Thanks for all the new additions! One of the many reasons that I love M.P. We are now definitely looking to both paddle and hike. I do have one more quick question, in The Chequamegon and Nicolet N.F. do they allow dispersed camping off some of the forest service roads, or do we need to hike in from a trail head to set up camp? Danny Minahan
From Madison, WI
Joined May 16, 2013
5 points
Aug 23, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Partytime
Nicolet is such a great place to hike and camp. They do have remote camping available along hiking and logging trails, but the areas can be difficult to find, even on the USDA website (might be best to contact their office):

I especially like the Lakewood area because it's not too far up north and seculded in the NW portion of Oconto Cty. (spent alot of time as a kid there). It looks like they've put some effort into making this area more public recently with these maps:

This is what I had to go off of before (but as you can see, all the camping is off both the hiking[dashed] and gravel[double lines] trails):

Rock Climbing Photo: Lakewood, WI camping
Lakewood, WI camping

And, if you're thinking about going up that way, you have to check out Chute Pond. As I remember it, it was an amazing natural water slide carved into the rock (probably was alot cooler as a kid).
Scuba Steve Cihlar
Joined Aug 20, 2013
27 points

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