If you're searching for untamed wilderness, abundant recreational activities, and a rustic camping experience, Flambeau River State Forest might just be your perfect destination. Located in northwestern Wisconsin, this 90,000-plus-acre forest offers the sort of features that true outdoors enthusiasts dream of.
The North and South Forks of the Flambeau River converge within the park, so fishing and whitewater rafting are two of the main attractions to enjoy. But with excellent swimming, hiking, biking, and hunting opportunities on offer, there's plenty to keep campers of all ages happy. And with two peaceful campgrounds to choose from, Flambeau River State Forest is the sort of location you'll want to return to again and again.
With so much territory to explore and so many activities on offer, it's hard to know where to start your Flambeau River State Forest camping experience.
That said, plenty of activity in the park centers on the river. If you're a keen angler, there are abundant opportunities to try your luck here. Musky, trout, walleye, bass, and several other species can all be caught here, not just in the river but also in the lakes throughout the forest. However, make sure you have an appropriate fishing license before you cast a line.
If you're more of a thrillseeker, you'll jump at the chance to explore some of the whitewater rapids on the Flambeau River. The more sedate North Fork is perfect for beginners — you might even want to stop and enjoy some fishing along the way — while the South Fork serves up much more challenging rapids. There are six landing points along the North Fork and one on the South Fork, and the variety of conditions on offer ensure that canoeing is the most popular activity in the forest.
Swimming is another favorite pastime in the summer months, with the park boasting three designated swimming beaches. Both campgrounds have their own beaches, with the third found at the Connors Lake picnic area. Swimming is also permitted in several other areas, but you'll need to exercise caution as there are no lifeguards on duty.
Away from the water, there are also several opportunities for land-based exploration. For example, if you're visiting during winter, you might want to motor your way around 55 miles of snowmobile trails, or strap on your skis to tackle the 14-mile Flambeau Hills Ski Trail.
During the summer months, this ski trail is also open to hiking and mountain biking, so how you choose to explore it is entirely up to you.
Camping at Flambeau River State Forest
If you want to do a little motorhome camping at Flambeau River State Forest, search for a rental RV in Sawyer County and then find a site in one of the park's two family camping areas:
- Lake of the Pines Campground. Open from mid-April through mid-December, this 30-site campground offers a rustic camping experience. There are no hookups available, but vault toilets are provided, as is a water pump. Other features include a swimming area and boat access to the lake. Unfortunately, this campground doesn't have any accessible sites for people with disabilities.
- Connors Lake Campground. Connors Lake Campground also offers a rustic camping experience, this time with 29 sites. However, four of the sites here do have electrical hookups, while two are also designed to be ADA accessible. Campers can enjoy a nature trail, a boat access area, and a swimming zone, while vault toilets and water are also available. The campground opens just before Memorial Day weekend and closes just after Labor Day weekend.
If you want to camp at Flambeau River State Forest with your dog, pets are permitted in both campgrounds. However, you'll need to keep your dog on a leash of eight feet or less and dispose of their waste properly.
Finally, if you're not camping in an RV, the forest also boasts a number of river, backpacking, and hunting campsites.
Exploring the Area
All good things must come to an end, but the end of your Flambeau River State Forest RV camping adventure doesn't have to mean the end of your holiday. Before heading home, why not take a detour or two to check out some other nearby attractions?
For example, if you're craving more untamed natural wilderness, you'll probably want to steer your rental RV to the north so you can explore Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. With more than one million acres of forest and swamp, the forest offers plenty of opportunities to spend more time in the great outdoors.
If you're a keen angler, you might want to drive northwest to Hayward to check out the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame. The museum's impressive Shrine to Anglers is a giant sculpture of a musky, and its mouth serves as an observation tower from which visitors can see the city and Lake Hayward.
And if you want to head somewhere a little more populated, you can be in Eau Claire in under two hours. This urban area is home to all sorts of attractions, from theme parks and children's museums to nature parks and hiking trails. History buffs will want to stop by Chippewa Valley Museum, which houses exhibits on everything from local farming life to the area's racing heritage.
Whichever direction you choose to travel, you won't need to go far before you find a destination worth exploring. Rent an RV near Flambeau River State Forest and start planning your next Wisconsin camping vacation.