See how the Burnt Rollways Boat Hoist connects the world’s largest chain of lakes

Published: May 27, 2021

Head to Eagle River to see a unique piece of maritime technology that’s helped connect some of the Northwoods’ most popular lakes for more than a century.

The Burnt Rollways Dam and Boat Hoist is located on the Eagle River as it flows into Cranberry Lake south of Highway 70. For a small fee ($10 one way, $15 round trip), the hoist—the first one was built by the Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company in 1911—lifts boats (and even jet skis) up into the Three Lakes chain or lowers them into the Eagle River chain.

So where does the name come from? Legend has it that a group of lumberjacks was upset that the man who hired them couldn’t pay, so they burned their timber after they placed it on a rollway, a device that rolled logs into nearby Ninemile Creek to be floated to a sawmill. Supposedly, the “burnt rollway” still sits at the bottom of the creek.

Learn more about the Burnt Rollways Dam and Boat Hoist here.

The Eagle River Chain of Lakes is the world’s largest chain of freshwater lakes and is a great place for fishing, boating, watersports and more. Learn more here.

Find lodging options and more information about Eagle River here.

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