Adventure: hiking

Learn more about hiking


In the spring, the forests of Vilas County come alive before your eyes.  Admire a carpet of trilliums, walk beneath a canopy of new maple leaves and see a fawn find her legs. Discover your own spring scenes in Vilas County as you explore a bit of the county’s 240,000 acres of public land—no matter where you are in the county, you’re never far from a great hike.

Smartphone users: check out the free Map It Vilas County trails app. It will help you navigate Vilas County’s recreational trails and even works without a cell signal. The app will help you get out and explore family-friendly trails throughout Vilas County, like the Presque Isle Nature Trail and the Spectacle Lake-Kentuck Lake Trail in Phelps.

Don’t forget a good pair of boots; the trails can be a little damp in the spring from snowmelt.


Vilas County has been a land of trails for hundreds of years. Native Americans used well-established trails to navigate the forests, and early European settlers used trails as trade routes—the first European trader built a trading post in Vilas County near Lac du Flambeau in 1818.

Today, the trails navigate some wild and beautiful areas and offer an experience that’s connected to this long tradition. If you’re looking for a hike that gives you a bit of this forest experience without taking an entire day to navigate, you’re in luck. A couple nice trails that offer nice half-day hiking options include the Madeline Lake Trail in the Minocqua Area and the Catherine Wolter Wilderness Area in Presque Isle.


If you’re the kind of hiker who likes to head deep into the forest and disappear for a while, welcome to Vilas County. We have plenty of forest for you to explore—more than 240,000 acres of public land, to be exact. Vilas County’s public lands include large areas of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest. A couple of good places to find extensive trail networks include the Langley Lake Trails in Conover and the Anvil Lake Trail in Eagle River.

Want more trails info?

Download the free Map It Vilas County trails app. You can find more information on specific hiking trails here.