Hartman Creek State Park, in central Wisconsin, is a 1,500-acre natural paradise that offers its guests an escape into a world of tranquility. The park is tucked away between Lake Superior and Lake Michigan in Waupaca County, and it is home to central Wisconsin's Chain O’ Lakes. Hartman Creek State Park has its own unique, natural beauty and a serene environment that begs to be experienced by any true RV enthusiast.
The park officially opened in 1966, and it has a rich history with traces of that history still evident today. Camping in the pristine campgrounds is like living inside an oil painting surrounded by breath-taking views of the lakes, trees, the beach, and the open sky. The towering pine, oak, maple, and tamarack trees surround several small, spring-fed lakes that are home to many species of birds and other wildlife.
The park is the perfect place to take photographs, enjoy a picnic, or simply take in the surroundings. Hartman Creek State Park offers a variety of outdoor activities, including lake and stream fishing, pleasure boating, hunting, and hiking, and biking.
Hartman Creek State Park is open year-round, and while summer is the peak season to visit this park, it is a great location to visit any time of year. The main campground that services the park offers spacious sites with some modern amenities, and a large group campground makes it easy to reserve a site for groups up to fifty at a time.
Hatman Creek State Park is about an hour's drive west of Green Bay, Wisconsin, and just 10-miles west of the tiny town of Waupaca. The roads that lead into this area are mostly made up of two-lane paved roads with very few twists and turns. The roads are generally easy to navigate, even for those driving big rigs and trailers. The main roads inside the park are much the same, but the park's landscape is much more forested than the areas leading to the park. It is essential to use caution when driving in this area. Wildlife, such as white-tailed deer, have been known to dart out into the road, particularly during dawn and dusk.
The roads in the campground itself are more winding and narrow that the main paved roads and can be difficult to traverse in larger vehicles. Being aware of your surroundings is even more important in the campgrounds themselves as this is a family and pet-friendly campground and there are often children playing. Campsites can vary quite a bit in both size and configuration, and some are narrow or overgrown with trees, making it challenging to park larger vehicles.
Most of the trailheads and picnic areas have paved parking areas that are roomy enough for the majority of RVs as well as for vehicles towing trailers or boats.
Hartman Creek State Park offers reservations for large group gatherings in its sheltered buildings. The Allen Lake Shelter is an open-sided wooden structure that can accommodate up to 40 people. The paved trails leading to the shelter make it accessible for people with disabilities, and it has nearby access to water, electricity, and vault toilets. The Beach Shelter, the largest of the shelters, located on the east end of Hartman Lake, is suitable for up to 50 people. It has impressive views of both the beach and lake areas. Electricity is available on-site, and there are vault toilets nearby. On the west side of Hartman Lake is another enclosed shelter that is slightly smaller, but still able to accommodate up to 50 people. This shelter offers luxury features such as a wood-burning stove, a table, chairs, and power outlets. Each of these shelters is available through reservations from the parks system website.
Hartman Creek State Park has 103 standard family-friendly campsites situated in the grassy and wooded areas of the forest. The campsites, most of which are spacious enough accommodate even the largest rigs, are available for reservations from April until November. While there are no length limits for RVs, trailers, or big rigs, you will want to check your reservation carefully to ensure the driveway is long enough for your equipment. Each campsite offers electrical hookups, a campfire ring with a hibachi-style grill, and a picnic table. The family campgrounds offer conveniently placed access to drinking water as well as a fully functioning shower and flushing toilet facility. Leashed pets are welcome to accompany their pet-parents to Hartman Creek State Park, but they are prohibited from going into certain areas of the park, such as buildings or the beaches.
If biking is your recreational escape, then Hartman Creek State Park has you covered. The park features over 15 miles of unpaved single-track bike trails that cut through the dense forest and lakes. While visiting the park, you will want to ensure that your bicycle is in the campervan, but if you forget your bike, don't worry. Hartman Lake offers bike rentals during the summer months. The experience of pedaling through the scenic woods and alongside the peaceful, tranquil lakes is mesmerizing. The ride gives cyclists an appreciation of this area's natural beauty.
During winter season Hartman Creek State Park is transformed into a winter wonderland. Those who are visiting during the snowy season will want to be sure that they pack their skis or snowshoes with them inside of their trailer. Skiers can experience the essence of winter's beauty on the nearly seven miles of groomed, multiple-loop ski trails that snake through the frozen lakes and barren woodlands. The park also provides a two-mile-long path designated for winter hikers and snowshoeing enthusiasts. A state trail pass is required for all people over the age of 15 who are skiing, biking, or horseback riding on the trails in this state park.
During the hunting season, typically in the fall and winter months, the vast areas of the park are free for hunting and trapping activities. Hunters looking for white-tailed deer will find them plentiful here, and there are also wild turkey, grouse, and rabbits to bag. Although public areas of the park are closed off during hunting season, hunters should still be cautious around hiking trails. There are several rules and regulations for hunters, and it is essential to understand these rules before setting out on your hunt.
Geocaching is a modern treasure hunt that utilizes both GPS and cellular technology to find hidden caches, small containers that hold a log sheet, or logbook to note your find. Some caches may even contain little trinkets (which should be replaced with trinkets of similar value) or special tracking tokens that can be tracked as they move from cache to cache. There are several traditional geocaches to be found at Hartman Creek State Park, as well as some virtual or mystery caches, which lead you to places with fascinating histories. If you want to learn a little while on your treasure hunt, consider looking for the EarthCache, which provides information about geographical formations in the area.
Hartman Creek State Park’s greatest attraction is its scenic and picturesque views. The calm and relaxed atmosphere make it the perfect place to enjoy a picnic with family or friends. In the summer months, the open-air shelter and playground on the south side of Allen Lake are just perfect for soaking up the sun, playing, and relaxing. The south side of Hartman Lake has a picnic area as well as an enclosed shelter to protect against inclement weather and is available for reservations from May until October. The largest picnic area is situated near the beach at the east end of Hartman Lake. The nearby concession stand sells food, drinks, and essential outdoor equipment, in case you left anything behind. The Whispering Pine picnic area on the north side of Marl Lake is more secluded and offers a bit more privacy. All four picnic areas come equipped with tables, benches, and grills. Access to drinking water and ample parking is also provided on-site.
The crystal clear spring-fed lake water is perfect for gliding across with a kayak or canoe. Visitors to this lake can set off from the public boat launch area on Manomin Lake near the eastern edge of the park and make their way across the water to Marl Lake, all while enjoying the weather, amazing views, and the relaxing sounds of nature. In-season, the concession stand offers kayak and canoe rentals along with food, drinks, and a variety of other outdoor accessories. The lake water is pure enough to drink, and it is safe, clean, and refreshing to swim in. The sandy beach on Hartman Lakes offers an area to dry off, relax, and change after a day of water activities.
Hartman Creek State Park is teaming with large-mouth bass, perch, and bluegill, and the rivers and streams that criss-cross the park have healthy populations of brook, brown, and rainbow trout. There are various spots dedicated to fishing, including a fishing pier along the eastern shore of Allen Lake and another pier at Whispering Pines on Marl Lake. Both these piers are accessible to people with disabilities, and during the summer months, any angler can pick up essential fishing equipment free of charge at the Park Office. There are also more secluded fishing spots around the park for anglers who wish to enjoy some quality fishing time away from the sounds of people.
Hiking trails are available year-round with several miles of different hiking trails for hikers to traverse. The longest trail is the Ice Age Trail, a moderately steep, out and back trail that is a little over 11-miles long. Novices, or those looking for a more relaxed hike, may prefer either the Dike Trail, an easy 2.5-mile trail that features picturesque views of the springs and lakes, or the Allen Lake Loop, a one-mile long loop around Allen Lake.