Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

North Country National Scenic Trail - Washburn Segment

The North Country National Scenic Trail is managed primarily as a long distance hiking trail. A long term goal for this trail is to have a continuous hiking trail from New York state to North Dakota (visit the North Country National Scenic Trail website ). Many people enjoy hiking short sections of this trail.

Cross country skiing is possible on the trail, however, the tread is not exceptionally smooth. Skiing is best late in winter when a crust has formed on the snow. Dog sled use is also allowed except where the trail follows the Penokee Mountain ski trail.

Trail Length: 27.5 miles on the Washburn Ranger District, 61.4 miles total on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Another portion of the trail is located on the Great Divide Ranger District.

What to Expect: The majority of the North Country Trail in the Washburn Ranger District is located on flat to gently rolling ground. Most of this trail is marked with blue rectangular painted blazes. Within the Rainbow Lake Wilderness, the trail is not marked with reassurance markers, but has directional signs at some intersections.

For those who don't want to hike the entire distance of the North Country Trail within the Forest, here are some interesting places to hike on the trail within the Washburn Ranger District:

The Rainbow Lake Wilderness (MAP): This is a great hike in the fall. The trail passes by Wishbone, Reynard, Bufo, Rainbow, and Tower Lakes. Much of the trail follows old narrow gauge logging railroad beds. Bufo Lake is particularly scenic.

Lake Owen: The trail follows the north shore of Lake Owen for about two miles. Lake Owen is an exceptionally clear lake.

Trailheads: There are several small parking areas where the North Country Trail crosses roads, however the following are the locations of the most popular trailheads for the North Country Trail on the Washburn Ranger District:

Lake Owen Picnic Area (parking fee): From Drummond drive 3.6 miles east on FR 213 which is paved. Turn right (south) on the access road and continue 0.1 mile to the picnic area. The trailhead has a toilet, picnic shelter, well, and a sand beach.

Drummond Woods: From Drummond drive northeast 1 mile on Highway 63 to the intersection with old Highway 63 and turn left (west). The parking area is on the north side of the road.

Highway A: From Iron River drive south on Highway A 4.8 miles to the trail head.




The information used on HFCW is used with permission of the US Dept. of Agriculture/Forest Service according to their policy