Elk Capital of Wisconsin
In 1995, 25 elk were experimentally reintroduced into the Chequamegon National Forest near Clam Lake. They were monitored by a research team from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point until 1999. Once the research was completed, the field responsibility for management of the elk herd was transferred to the Department of Natural Resources. As of June 2013, approximately 180 elk were present in the state, comprised of the main herd near Clam Lake and a second smaller herd located near Butternut. The herd has grown at an average rate of 13 percent annually; however, growth rates have varied from as high as 30 percent to as low as -16 percent since 1995. Primary causes of mortality include predation by wolves and bear and vehicle collisions.
Much of the original herd remains within a relatively well-defined range in the vicinity of Clam Lake and can often be seen from Area roadways. Stop in downtown Clam Lake and visit the beautiful downtown park which includes an interactive kiosk featuring updated elk information!
Dozens of national forest boat landings make it easy to access to the Area’s many lakes and rivers and over 50 species of fish. Whether you drop a line in the water off the dock, fly fish a blue ribbon trout stream or hire a fishing guide to chase the big one, there is a tremendous variety of fishing opportunities within the Clam Lake, Wisconsin area.
Upper & Lower Clam Lakes as well as nearby Day Lake, Lost Land/Teal Lake, Moose Lake & Chippewa Flowage offer anglers to chance to catch muskies. These same waters and others like Lake Namakagon are good walleye, pan fish, crappie and bass fisheries, too. Fly fish for smallmouth bass and muskies in the Chippewa River, the West Fork of which creates Day Lake, Upper Clam & Lower Clam Lakes. Trout fishermen will enjoy fly fishing the clear, cold waters of the Namekagon River, White River & Brule River. Several local streams hold healthy populations of brook trout.
Want a truly unique fishing experience? Experience a winter getaway in Clam Lake and go ice fishing!
Some of Wisconsin’s best hunting opportunities for – black bear, ruffed grouse, and white-tailed deer are in the Clam Lake area of the Chequamegon National Forest. Populations of black bear vary from one year to the next, but on the average, more bears are harvested in and near the Chequamegon than any other part of the state. Upland bird hunting offers yet another challenging pursuit for many visitors to the Forest where ruffed grouse and woodcock attract hunters from around the country. In fact, Park Falls has been proclaimed the “Grouse Capital of the World”. White-tailed deer populations are less in the Forest than in the southern part of the state, however, the Chequamegon is known for its trophy sized animals.
Clam Lake, WI Area Hunter and Hiking Walking Trails
Day Lake Walking Trail
Lynch Creek Walking Trail
Little Moose River Walking Trail
There are hundreds of miles of snowmobile trails that wind through the Forest, offering scenic winter beauty to travelers. Northern Wisconsin is known worldwide for its excellent snow conditions and trail systems. The trails are groomed and maintained by many snowmobile clubs in the area – including the Clam Lake Forest Riders – and are part of Wisconsin’s statewide snowmobile trail network. Snowmobile trails 8, 9A and State Corridor Trail 25 intersect in Clam Lake and connect with hundreds of miles of snowmobile trails running through Ashland County, Bayfield County and Sawyer County. Access to some of the best snowmobile riding in the Midwest makes Clam Lake, Wisconsin the perfect base camp for your Northern Wisconsin snowmobiling vacation or a stop on the trails for a warm meal and gas!
The Clam Lake area is quickly becoming on of the top destinations in Wisconsin for ATV/UTV enthusiasts. For experienced riders seeking a challenge, 56 miles of trails of the Dead Horse ATV Trail run through beautiful terrain in Ashland County just outside Clam Lake. The Dead Horse Slough Trail Head is located 2.6 miles east of Clam Lake on the north side of State Highway 77, next to the Dead Horse Slough.
Cross Country Ski & Snowshoe Trails
Cross country skiing is a popular winter activity and the Chequamegon provides numerous well-groomed ski trails that wind through the snow-covered landscapes of the northern woodlands. Over fifty miles of trails are groomed on a weekly basis. Trails vary by size and difficulty, but they all offer skiers beautiful and serene experiences, and for many, an ideal escape from the everyday stresses of life! Most trails are groomed for both traditional/classic style skiing and ski-skating. A short drive from Clam Lake will bring you to a number of trail heads including the Mukwonago, Rock Lake and Birkie trail systems. The Rock Lake National Recreation Trail – 10 miles from Clam Lake – is divided into loops of varying lengths offering challenges for the beginning to advanced skier and traverses beautiful glacial terrain. Check www.norwiski.com for cross-country trail conditions.
Mountain Bike Trails
The Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA) off-road bike trail system consists of over 300 miles of marked and mapped routes through a near-wilderness area of striking beauty and peaceful solitude. The CAMBA trails lie in and around the beautiful Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest as well as in Bayfield and Sawyer County Forests – nearly a million acres in which to ride your fat tire bike. The routes follow a variety of paths, including logging roads, fire lanes, snowmobile and ski trails, double track and extensive singletrack trails. The terrain lends itself to riders of all abilities, from beginners to seasoned fat tire experts. There are no paved bike paths in the system. The Namakagon Cluster of CAMBA trails is easily accessed at the Namakagon Town Hall or Rock Lake Trailhead – both only a short drive from Clam Lake off Hwy M.
Highlighted by its unique forest landscapes and abundant wetlands, the Chequamegon National Forest is a hiker’s paradise. There are approximately 200 miles of trails developed for non-motorized use within the Forest. Two of these traits have national significance. The North Country National Scenic Trail reaches from eastern New York to central North Dakota. A 60-mile section crosses through the Chequamegon. The eastern portion of this trail is highlighted by the scenic beauty of the Penokee Mt. Range. On the western segment, visitors discover the peaceful solitude of the Porcupine Lake and Rainbow Lake Wilderness. The Ice Age National Scenic Trail stretches across Wisconsin with a 40-mile section passing through the Chequamegon. This trail follows the edge of the most recent glacial advance accented with scenic views of glacial wetlands.
Morgan Falls St. Peter’s Dome Trail
These popular trails are located in a non-motorized area. Highlights of the trail are the 70 foot high Morgan Falls and the overlook at the top of St. Peter’s Dome which has an excellent view of the Chequamegon Bay of Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands. Morgan Falls – 0.6 miles (1.2 miles round trip); St. Peter’s Dome – 1.8 miles (3.6 miles round trip). What to Expect: The trail to Morgan Falls was reconstructed in 2002 to make it accessible for people with disabilities. The trail is graveled and the slopes are fairly flat. The trail to St. Peter’s Dome is fairly rugged with quite a bit of exposed rocks in the trail tread and steep climbs. These trails are popular for snowshoeing.
Golf Capital of Wisconsin
The Hayward/Cable areas are the Golf Capital of Wisconsin! There are a number of championship 18-hole courses and family-friendly 9-hole courses within about 30 miles of Clam Lake including Lakewoods Resort’s Forest Ridges Golf Course, Telemark Golf Course, Spider Lake Golf Course, Mellen Country Club, Big Fish Golf Course, Chequamegon Bay Golf Club, Park Falls Country Club and Hayward Golf Club. For a wonderful day trip, make the scenic drive to the south shore of Lake Superior and play Apostle Highlands Golf Course in Bayfield. The views are incredible!
Visitors who are looking for peace and solitude can find solace in these special places as well. These areas differ from those designated as wilderness in that they occasionally permit motorized equipment in for administrative and maintenance purposes and allow mechanized equipment including bikes. Visitors seeking a secluded outdoor experience, can find nearby 11,000 acres of wilderness in the Porcupine Lake and Rainbow Lake Wilderness areas. These quiet places are reserved for foot travel alone and only the plaintive call of the loon breaks the silence and tranquility.
The Chequamegon offers some of the finest camping opportunities, with spacious campsites nestled amidst trees, beside a lake or stream. A wide variety of facilities and activities can be found at the 24 campgrounds, dispersed throughout the Forest. Campsite fees vary, depending upon site locations and lake accessibility. Water pumps and outhouse toilet facilities are provided at 23 of the Forest’s campgrounds. For those that really want to get away from it all, backcountry camping is permitted throughout the Forest as long as the site is located at least 50 feet away from any trail or water’s edge. Need camping supplies or a meal while camping? Clam Lake has a grocery store, camping supplies, restaurants and live bait.
The Northern Post Gift Shop & Boutique in Clam Lake specializes in hand selected, unique gifts from around the world. The Clam Lake Junction has Clam Lake merchandise, fresh groceries, snacks, clothing and gifts. Main Street in Hayward has an eclectic mix of shops while shops in Cable, WI include a candle store, book store, women’s clothing, jewelry, and gifts.
Events & Attractions
Explore the area’s history with visits to the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in Hayward and historic CCC sites in the Chequamegon -Nicolet National Forest. A trip to the Cable Natural History Museum is a great stop for the entire family offering educational exhibits and exciting programs for children, adults and families.
Hayward hosts the Lumberjack World Championships, Musky Festival, Honor the Earth Pow Wow and the American Birkebeiner…one of the largest cross country ski races in North America. Cable has its Fall Fest and the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival. Bayfield’s Apple Fest is a popular draw each October. Clam Lake is convenient to the most popular events and attractions in Northern Wisconsin.
Ashland County Tourism
Elk Country ATV Club
West Fork Waterway Association