Hidden Lakes Trail: Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Luke Hanna

Luke Hanna

September 2019 | US

Hidden Lakes Trail: Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

It was late June of 2019 and we were in Wisconsin headed west on I-90 destined for Badlands National Park.

On our way we stopped at a county campground near Madison to camp for the night. Here we met a man who told us the wonders of camping in northern Wisconsin. As we continued west we contemplated where to camp between Wisconsin and South Dakota.

With our acquaintance's stories lingering in our minds, we decided it was worth it to head north for a couple of days to explore Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.

Starting the Journey into Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Our plan, when we arrived at Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, was to find a campground for the evening and then spend the next day scouting the area and exploring. There were plenty of spots available at Franklin Lake Campground and we were easily able to navigate paying our dues.

The next morning we checked the trails and decided to venture onto Hidden Lakes Trail. The first observation on this trail at this time of year was the swarms of mosquitos. We used repellent, but the only time I have witnessed a similar density of mosquitos was in southeast Asia. We knew we would have many mosquito bites, but our best repellent was to keep moving.

The trail was gorgeous and secluded. We had covered around five miles of ground before we came to a clearing near a lake. It was a campsite. We ended up spending about half an hour photographing the site, before we decided that we needed to stay here for the night.

With that decision, we made the five-mile trek back through the mosquitos and to the car. Upon Arrival at the car, we scoped out the map and found a road that we could follow that would lead us nearer to the campsite.

We found the road and left our car on the side of the road near the trail. The hike from there was only about 3/4 of a mile. This vantage point gave us the opportunity to bring a few non-essentials such as dry wood and extra water.

We packed up our gear and made it back to the picturesque campsite just in time to set up camp, eat some dinner, and watch the lakeside wilderness transition to night.

Wildlife on Hidden Lakes Trail in Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Part of what made our experience in Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest was all of the wildlife. We saw a family of ducklings, snakes, insects, fireflies, and even woke up to a snapping turtle burrowed in our fire pit. All the encounters were withing feet of our campsite. This national forest—and especially this dispersed campsite—definitely met, if not exceeded, our expectations!


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