Nicolet National Forest

The Nicolet Forest, is part of the larger Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest managed by the US Forest Service.

The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forests were established in the 1930’s by presidential proclamation. Legally two separate national forests the Chequamegon and the Nicolet National Forests have been managed as one unit since 1993. Together, the Chequamegon – Nicolet covers over 1.5 million acres in Northern Wisconsin.

The two loops of the byway encircle a vast majority of the land and only a small portion of the forest lies more than fifteen miles of its boundaries. Much of the old growth forest in this region was originally logged in the early part of the 20th century. Some of the trees that grow there today were planted by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Lying within the Nicolet are three wildernesses—the Blackjack Springs Wilderness, the Headwaters Wilderness, and the Whisker Lake Wilderness.

The Wolf River

The Wolf River has long been recognized for its unique aesthetically pleasing characteristics. It is a wide, boulder-strewn, natural, undeveloped stream with a rapid gradient in many locations. The origin of the Wolf River straddles the Northern Loop of the Byway in central Forest County.

Pine Lake is a prodigious pan-fishing lake with a Forest Service campground and boat landing. Across the road, a project by Ducks Unlimited has improved access to native wildlife habitat on the Hiles Millpond. A few miles south, the river is again impounded at the Little Rice Flowage, creating another diverse and picturesque habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife.

Five principal tributaries join the Wolf River in Forest and Langlade Counties, including Swamp Creek . Numerous small streams also contribute water to the Wolf River.

The Upper Wolf River Fishery Area is comprised of many DNR owned properties along the Wolf River in Langlade County. About 95 percent of the Wolf River watershed is wooded and wild. The Wolf River in Langlade County is classified as an Outstanding Resource Water (ORW).
The Upper Wolf River has become a major Midwest destination for whitewater sports. Several commercial rental, outfitters, and guide companies offer whitewater rafting on the Wolf River. The Wolf River is annually the site of privately sponsored races for rafts, canoes, and kayaks, which draw hundreds of contestants and thousands of spectators.

State Natural Areas

 Nature / Recreational Trails

The Nicolet State Trail stretches 35 miles through Forest County passing through the communities of Carter, Wabeno, Blackwell, Laona, Cavour and Newald. In the Town of Laona, the trail is near the intersection of U.S. Highway 8 and State Highway 32. Just south of the Forest/Florence county line the trail crosses the Popple River, a state designated wild river. The entire trail meanders for more than 89 miles through the Nicolet National Forest in northeastern Wisconsin. The trail follows the same corridor built by railroad companies in the late 19th century to open up Wisconsin’s pine and hardwood forests for the timber industry. Wild, free-flowing rivers and streams abound in this part of Wisconsin, adding to an area already rich in natural resources.

The Wolf River State Trail spans 33 miles along the former Wisconsin Central railroad corridor from Crandon in Forest County to the Village of White Lake in Langlade County. The entire length of the trail is adjacent to the Nicolet National Forest, offering additional opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing. Camping, hunting, and fishing areas can also be found within the sprawling wilderness.

The Ice Age Trail is a National Scenic Trail located entirely within Wisconsin. The trail is also one of 42 designated Wisconsin state trails and the only one specifically designated as a “State Scenic Trail.” From Interstate State Park on the Minnesota border to Potawatomi State Park on Lake Michigan, the Ice Age Trail winds for more than 1,000 miles, following the edge of the last continental glacier in Wisconsin. The trail traverses some of Wisconsin’s most scenic landscapes and helps tell the story of the last Ice Age by highlighting Wisconsin’s unique glacial features. A segment of the trail runs through Langlade County near the Byway.

Historic and Unique Attractions

Argonne Experimental Forest
Forest County Historical Society & Museum – Crandon
Forest County Potawatomi Cultural Center, Library & Museum – Crandon
Hiles Flowage Wolf River Headwaters
Kovac Planetarium – Monico
Military Road (part of the USFS Heritage Drive Scenic Byway)
Museum & Visitor Center in Mole Lake
Wabeno Logging Museum
White Lake Depot Museum
White Lake Historical Society Center

Battle of Mole Lake Historical Marker – Mole Lake
Camp 5 Lumberjack Steam Train – Laona
Denisen House Historicial Site – Mole Lake
Forest County Courthouse – Crandon
Hiles Historical Museum
Langlade County Historical Society and Deliglise Cabin – Antigo
Laona School Forest (1st in Nation) – Laona
Wabeno Historic Public Library Building
Wabeno School Forest (2nd in Nation) – Wabeno