Lakeshore hikes

Can’t-miss lakeshore hikes in Vilas County

Published: September 6, 2018

Peak fall color is moments away, making this the ideal time to discover our hiking trails. Some of the most unforgettable hikes take place where land meets water—with more than 1,300 lakes in Vilas County, there are numerous forest trails that trace the water’s edge. There’s perhaps no better way to catch a fall scene than watching colorful leaves shimmer in the reflection of a lake. Here are a few of our favorite lakeside hikes.


This beautiful trail will take you onto a peninsula that juts out into Star Lake. The trail crosses some picturesque stretches of boardwalk, but you’ll find some of the most scenic views at the water’s edge.

Spectacle Lake-Kentuck Lake Trail – Phelps

This scenic trail travels through a colorful deciduous forest between two campgrounds. In the warmer months, water lovers can enjoy a swimming beach area at Spectacle Lake. If the water is a little cool for swimming, it’s still worth a visit and the view is beautiful.

Lumberjack Trail – Boulder Junction

This 12-mile trail skirts the edge of White Sand Lake and two loops will take you into the wilderness. Stretches of the trail also follow along the edge of the Manitowish River and Fishtrap Lake.

Shannon Lake Trail – St. Germain

This trail system will take you through a variety of beautiful stands of northern hardwoods, but one of the most scenic stretches is a loop around Shannon Lake.

Catherine-Wolter Wilderness Area – Presque Isle

This pristine wilderness area is laced with trails that will take you past undeveloped waters like Knife Lake, Canteen Lake and John Lake. Loops of various lengths are possible, so you can find a hike that’s the perfect length for you.