Lake Wissota State Park is set within 1,062 acres of dense forest and open prairie overlooking the gorgeous Wissota Lake in Wisconsin. Located to the northeast of Chippewa Falls, this popular state park offers access to a 6,300-acre lake, swimming beach, and miles and miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails.
Campers can look forward to over 100 secluded campsites for both tents and RVs at the Lake Wissota State Park campgrounds. More than half of the campgrounds have electricity, so you won't have to worry about keeping your lights and fridge working. The campground, set on the edge of a humanmade lake with a boat landing area, is an ideal base for swimming, picnicking, and boating in the summer, and snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and ice fishing in the winter.
There is so much to keep you busy at Lake Wissota State Park. Guests can enjoy interpretive programs between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, and families will love the Wonder Walk backpacks available from the park office filled with nature activities and information about the park. Pack a picnic to enjoy at one of the park's scenic picnic spots or spend a day sunbathing on the swimming beach beside the lake. The sunsets are phenomenal, so bring a camera.
Just 20 miles from Eau Claire to the southwest, 86 miles from Wausau to the east, and 100 miles from Minneapolis, MN to the west, Lake Wissota State Park is located in the northwestern portion of Wisconsin.
The roads in and around the park are paved and easy to navigate, but larger RVs and trailers have to take extra care. Drive slowly and enjoy the scenery while watching for any of the wild critters that may happen to cross the road. Once you’ve parked your RV at the campsite, you can get around by bicycle, boat, horseback, or on foot. If you bring a boat, there are several campsites with boat docks. For campers who don't have a water-front site, there is a boat launch area nearby.
A vehicle admission sticker is required for any motor vehicles entering the park. If you don’t have an annual sticker, you will need to purchase a daily pass for each night of your stay. Parking is available at several spots in the park, including horse trail parking. Of course, those who are staying the night can park inside the campground.
The group campground is located at the southern end of the park. Group campsite number one can accommodate up to 100 people, and it comes complete with picnic tables, campfire rings with grills for cooking, and plenty of room to spread out. In fact, you can play a game of frisbee, badminton, or volleyball here with all of the extra space. There is a 15-car maximum, and you won't find any electric, but you are within walking distance to a potable water spigot and two vault toilets.
Group campsite number two can handle up to 80 people and has the same amenities as the other group campsite with just a little bit less room. The maximum vehicle amount is 12 for this site, and it has 15-amp electric hookups available. Both sites allow pets as long as they are supervised and restrained at all times, except when visiting the off-leash dog area. Reserve your group site well in advance as these spots fill up quickly!
The family campground is home to 116 family campsites. Fifty-eight of the RV-friendly sites have electrical hookups, and most of the spaces will accommodate RVs and campers over 50 feet in length. Each of the sites has a picnic table and campfire ring with a grill for cooking, and several have standup BBQ grills as well. If you want a lakeside spot, sites 22-37 and 68-79 are all right on the banks of Lake Wissota. Reserve your site in advance to get the site that is right for you and your family. Campsite reservations are available up to 11 months in advance.
The campground has hot showers, modern restrooms with running water, and vault toilets. You’ll also find several potable water spigots and a sanitary dumping station. Kids will love the large playground, which is located in the middle of the campground loops. Your furbaby will be happy here too, especially in the park's off-leash dog park area.
There are approximately eight miles of cross-country ski trails to enjoy within the boundaries of Lake Wissota State Park. The trails are groomed for both skate and stride skiing. The park also has about 10 miles of trail open for snowshoeing as well as five miles of trails for snowmobilers that connect to the Chippewa County snowmobile trails. The 1.5-mile Red Pine Trail, 0.5-mile Fox Trail, 0.75-mile Jack Pine Trail Loop, and 2.1-mile Staghorn Trail Loop are all ski trails while the Plantation Trail and Lake Trail are multi-use trails for skiing, hiking, biking, and snowshoeing.
Anglers can enjoy fishing for all sorts of fish at Lake Wissota, such as bass, catfish, muskie, walleye, sturgeon, and panfish. A permanent fishing pier is available along the shore of the lake, and there are fish cribs to attract largemouth bass and walleye. Fish cribs are artificial structures made from logs to help attract fish. During the offseason, ice fishing is popular. Please note that the park doesn’t monitor ice conditions, so access the ice at your own risk. You'll need a Wisconsin fishing license to fish at any Wisconsin state park. Basic fishing equipment is available at the park office.
There are over 200 species of birds to be found within Lake Wissota State Park during the spring and autumn migrations. In fact, you don't even have to leave the campsite to see some of the birds, although many of the waterfowl are easiest to spot along the lake's shoreline. If you’re interested in bird watching, you can pick up a species checklist from the park office. Some of the most popular birds that birdwatchers look for here include the bufflehead, sandhill crane, pied-billed grebe, and the scarlet tanager.
You don’t need skis or snowshoes to enjoy the park in the winter. You can go biking instead. Biking in the snow in Wisconsin? Why not? If you have a fat bike, bring it with you so you can get out and explore the snowy trails. A fat bike is a mountain bike with extra-wide rims and fat, balloon tires. Keeping low pressure in the tires makes it easier to ride on the snow, and a knobbier tread helps, too. Lake Wissota State Park has five miles of trails, specially groomed for fat tire biking, so get out there and ride.
There are four picnic shelters at Lake Wissota State Park, two of which are available for rent. The Beach Shelter is a 30 x 52-foot shelter on the beach by the playground with picnic tables and a BBQ pit. The shelter has electric available and has a maximum capacity of 48 people. The Riverview Shelter can accommodate up to 96 people within the 20 x 28-foot shelter, and there are plenty of tables and a BBQ pit. There are various picnic areas along the lake and near the beach and fishing pier for both day visitors and campers to use. Families can enjoy a large playground, a ball diamond, and a volleyball court in the park.
Visitors and campers alike can enjoy swimming at Lake Wissota State Park’s 285-foot swimming beach. The 6,300-acre humanmade lake is also a popular spot for water sports of all sorts. During the summer, guests enjoy power boating, water-skiing, and tubing on the waters of the lake, and there are canoes, fishing boats, and kayaks for rent. A boat launch area and trailer parking area are available at the southern end of the park. Plus, if you’re planning on bringing your own boat, there are several campsites with boat docks.
There are over 18 miles of hiking and biking trails to explore at Lake Wissota State Park. Two of these trails are self-guided nature trails where you can spot over 200 species of birds. A total of 11 miles of park trails are open to off-road cycling, like the Old Abe State Trail, which is a paved railroad trail that runs 20 miles towards Brunet Island State Park. Equestrians can enjoy nine miles of trails for horseback riding, but please note that there are no overnight horse camping facilities at Lake Wissota.
Most people have thought about searching for buried treasure, at least once in their lives. Now, you can search for hidden treasure, all over the world with geocaching. Geocaching is a relatively new outdoor activity that is essentially a worldwide treasure hunt. All you need is a device with a GPS (like a phone) and some extra time. There are quite a few geocaches hidden in Lake Wissota State Park to search for. One place to look is the Beaver Meadow Nature Trail. Grab some small trinkets to add to the geocache if you plan on taking one from the cache, and then make sure you put the treasure back so that others can find it another time.