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Camping

Kettle Moraine State Forest – Southern Unit

The Kettle Moraine State Forest - Southern Unit has several camping areas. Campers should check-in at their campgrounds.

Reservations are required for all campsites in the Southern Unit.

Reserve a campsite online.

Ottawa Lake campground

Ottawa Lake campground is the only year-round campground in the Southern Unit. It offers 100 sites, including 65 electrical sites, two shower buildings, flush toilets and a winter vault toilet building. Accessible sites are available as well as a reservable, accessible cabin designed especially for people with disabilities. A sanitary dump and recycling/garbage station are provided for the registered campers.

Ottawa Lake Campground Map [PDF]

Get Directions - Ottawa Lake campground and Recreation Area 

Pinewoods campground

Pinewoods has 101 campsites, flush toilets, vault toilets and showers. There are no electrical sites at this campground. A playground is next to the shower building. This campground offers a designated area for those who want to enjoy the peace and quiet that nature has to offer. Loop 1 (of three loops) is a 24-hour quiet zone, meaning no pets, radios or mechanical device noises are allowed, ensuring a peaceful visit. A recycling/garbage station and a sanitary dump station are within the campground. Pinewoods is available for camping from mid-May through mid-October.

There are special pet-free campsites in Loop 1 (Sites 1-36) in the Pinewoods Campground. Otherwise, pets are allowed at your campsite and along campground roads.

Pinewoods campground map [PDF]

Get Directions - Pinewoods campground

Whitewater Lake campground

The Whitewater Lake campground is a primitive campground with 63 beautiful campsites. Vault toilets but no shower facilities are available at the Whitewater Lake campground. Showers are available at Pinewoods and Ottawa Lake, about 20 miles to the north. A sanitary dump and recycling/garbage station are provided for campers. Whitewater Lake is available for camping from mid-May through mid-October.

Whitewater Lake campground map [PDF]

Get Directions - Whitewater Lake campground

Group camps

The group camps in the southern unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest offer a great opportunity for large groups to camp together in a beautiful, natural area. The fee for the sites is based on the number of persons occupying the campsite.

Pinewoods group camp 

Pinewoods group camp offers four large sites (A, B, C and D) that accommodate up to 40 people and 20 vehicles per site. The Pinewoods campground has pit toilets near the sites and a shower house with flush toilets in the center of the campground.  Electricity is not available on the campsites. Pinewoods group camp is open for camping from April 1 through the Wednesday before gun deer hunting season. This campground is on Waterville Road in the town of Ottawa.  

Pinewoods campground map [PDF]

Get Directions - Pinewoods campground

Hickory Woods group camp at Whitewater Lake campground

Hickory Woods group campsites (J, K, L, M and N) can accommodate up to 20 people and 10 vehicles per site. Hickory Woods sites (P and R) can accommodate up to 40 people and 20 vehicles per site. There are no showers or flush toilets at the campground. Campers may drive 15 minutes to the Horse camp for the nearest showers. Hickory Woods is open from mid-May through mid-October. This campground is off of County Highway P in Whitewater.  

Whitewater Lake campground map [PDF]

Get Directions - Whitewater Lake campground

Walk-in campsites

For campers who like to camp at a more secluded and wooded campsite adjacent to a family campground, walk-in sites are available at the Pinewoods, Ottawa Lake and Whitewater Lake campgrounds. These sites are set back in the forest, anywhere from about 140 to 750 feet from their parking stalls. Each site has a picnic table, fire ring and a gravel pad for tents. Tents are restricted to the gravel pads to minimize wear and tear on the surrounding landscape. Pit toilets are near all walk-in sites.

Backpack shelters

Primitive backpack camping along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail is available year-round only at three designated trail shelter sites. Camping is only allowed at designated campsites. Backpack sites are remote sites, separate from other forest facilities and require a hike of 0.5 miles to 10 miles, depending on the parking location selected by the camper. A roofed trail shelter, fire ring and pit toilet are provided at each site. These sites are not accessible by vehicle, but most have parking areas within a mile of the site. All equipment and water must be backpacked to the site and all refuse must be packed out.

Reservations are limited to 10 people per night and are limited to one night. However, another site may be reserved for a second night at a second location or a third night at a third site.

Accessible cabin for people with disabilities

Some people with disabilities who have been unable to use the traditional rustic campgrounds can benefit from the Cabin Campsite for People with Disabilities in the Ottawa Lake campground. This barrier-free log cabin was constructed and given to the Department of Natural Resources by the Telephone Pioneers of America. Nestled in the woods overlooking Ottawa Lake, the 700-square-foot log cabin has asphalt surfaced parking lot and pathway to the cabin and other paths that link to nearby recreation facilities. A screened porch provides a panoramic view of the beautiful Ottawa Lake. The cabin campsite has the usual camping amenities such as a fire ring, post-mounted grill and picnic table.

Accessible campsites

Accessible campsites, designed specifically for those who have physical disabilities, are available in the Pinewoods, Ottawa Lake and Whitewater Lake campgrounds. The following table compares their amenities:

Campground

Ottawa Lake

Pinewoods

Whitewater Lake

Paved path to an accessible restroom

Yes

Yes

Yes

Special family restrooms

Yes

Yes

No

Paved drives for vehicle parking

Yes

Yes

No

Electrical hookups

Yes

Yes

Yes

Paved walk to an accessible pier

Yes

No

No

Paved path to the beach

No

No

Yes

Horseriders' campground

This campground is only available to people camping with their horses. The Horseriders' campground is centrally located in the forest, with the horse trails connecting within the campground. Campers with horses can enjoy 36 back-in sites, 20 pull-through sites, one group site accommodating up to 20 people, a picnic shelter, horse shower, manure deposit stations, drinking water a shower building and vault toilets.

Each site includes tether posts and a fire ring. Horseriders' campground is open for camping from April through November.

All equestrians 16 years and older must purchase and carry a state trail pass while using the designated bridle trails in the state forest.

Horseriders' campground map [PDF]

Get Directions - Horseriders' campground

Firewood

The Ottawa Lake and Whitewater Lake contact stations sell firewood when they are open. The camp hosts at Pinewoods and Whitewater Lake also sell firewood.

Don't move firewood! Due to the potential of carrying harmful tree pests and diseases, Wisconsin has restrictions for moving firewood. Firewood facts, rules and advice