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Recreation

Lake Wissota State Park

Lake Wissota State Park offers a variety of recreation opportunities.

Biking

Bicycling is a popular activity. While most of the park is level, there are over 11 miles of park trails open to off-road bicycling. Bikers can access the Old Abe State Trail and ride this paved railroad grade trail 20 miles to Brunet Island State Park in Cornell.

Hiking/Biking trails (7 miles)

There are several miles of trail in the park shared by hikers and off-road bicyclists, including the Fox, Jack Pine, Plantation, Lake, Staghorn and Eagle Prairie trails. Sections of the Red Pine trail are also open to both bikers and hikers.

Horse/Bike trails (9 miles)

Horseback riders and off-road bicyclists have nine miles of trails available in the park for riding. A state trail pass is required for horseback riders 16 years of age and older.

Old Abe State Trail link

Bikers can access the Old Abe State Trail. This paved railroad grade trail runs for 20 miles and connects Lake Wissota to Brunet Island State Park in Cornell. A state trail pass is required to use the Old Abe State Trail for all bikers and in-line skaters age 16 and older.

Boating, canoeing and kayaking

Boating, canoeing, kayaking and water skiing are popular summer activities on 6,300-acre Lake Wissota. Lake Wissota State Park offers excellent access to the lake with a boat launch and trailer parking area in the southern part of the park.

Canoes can be rented at the park office from the Friends of Lake Wissota State Park. The office also has a list of area businesses that rent fishing boats.

Camping

Camping at Lake Wissota State Park

Fishing

Lake Wissota has several species of fish, including walleyes, muskies, bass, panfish, northern, catfish and sturgeon. A Wisconsin fishing license is required. Anglers of any age may check out basic fishing equipment at the park office.

There is a permanent accessible fishing pier along the shore just west of the boat launch. A few fish cribs in front of the pier help attract largemouth bass and walleye.

Anglers of any age may check out basic fishing equipment free of charge at the park office. This equipment was donated by the Tackle Loaner Program. Call the park office to find out what equipment is available.

Hiking

There are more than 18 miles of hiking trails at Lake Wissota State Park. Some trails are shared with off-road bicyclists. There are two, self-guided, scenic, nature trails. More than 200 species of birds often stop on the lake during the spring and autumn migrations. Birdwatchers may pick up species checklists at the park office.

Pets must be on a leash 8 feet or shorter and under control at all times.

Beaver Meadow Nature trail (1 mile)

Among the park's most scenic trails is the one-mile self-guided Beaver Meadow Nature trail. A trail overlook allows visitors to view the environment and wildlife found in a beaver pond.

Hiking/Biking trails (7 miles)

There are several miles of trail in the park shared by hikers and off-road bicyclists, including the Fox, Jack Pine, Plantation, Lake, Staghorn and Eagle Prairie trails. Sections of the Red Pine trail are also open to both bikers and hikers.

Old Abe State Trail link

Bikers can access the Old Abe State Trail. This paved railroad grade trail runs for 20 miles and connects Lake Wissota to Brunet Island State Park in Cornell. A state trail pass is required to use the Old Abe State Trail for all bikers and in-line skaters age 16 and older.

Prairie Wildflower Nature trail (0.5 miles)

The self-guided Prairie Wildflower Nature trail in the middle of the park offers an up-close view of tall grasses and a variety of other plants.

Horseback riding

Horseback riders have nine miles of trails available in the park for riding. Horse rental is not available in or near the park and there is no overnight horse camping at Lake Wissota.

Horseback riders and off-road bicyclists have nine miles of trails available in the park for riding. A state trail pass is required for horseback riders 16 years of age and older.

Picnic areas and playgrounds

Lake Wissota State Park has four picnic shelters, two of which are available for rental. There are picnic areas along the lake and near the beach and fishing pier. A large play area is in the family campground and there are a ball diamond and a volleyball court in the park.

Swimming

There is a swimming beach and bathhouse at Lake Wissota State Park. Remember to use caution, no lifeguards are provided.

Hunting and trapping

Hunting and trapping are allowed in the open areas of the park during the Wisconsin state parks hunting and trapping time frame. Trapping is not permitted in closed areas as noted on the park hunting map or within 100 yards of any designated use area, including trails. Certain trap types are restricted on state park properties. For more information, please see:

Winter activities

About eight miles of cross-country ski trails are groomed for both traditional stride and skate skiing. The park also has about 10 miles of trail open for snowshoeing. There are 5 miles of snowmobile trails within the park that connect to the extensive Chippewa County snowmobile trail system.

The opening and closing of snowmobile trails are at the discretion of each county. Snowmobile trails that cross DNR lands are opened and closed consistent with the surrounding county (or counties). Whenever possible, the opening and closing of snowmobile trails are done on a county-wide basis, however, localized conditions may require localized trail opening and closing. It is the responsibility of the county to provide notification about the status of snowmobile trails. The Travel Wisconsin Snow Conditions Report [exit DNR], and local club and county snowmobile webpages [exit DNR] and telephone hotlines will provide the most current information.

Ice fishing is popular. Please remember that the park does not monitor ice conditions on the lake. Ice thickness can vary from day to day and from location to location. Use your best judgment about the safety of the ice.

Cross-country ski trails (8 miles)

About eight miles of cross-country ski trails are groomed for both traditional stride and skate skiing. Hikers, snowshoers and pets must keep off the trails when they are snow-covered and groomed.

Snowshoe trails (10 miles)

The park has about 10 miles of trail open for snowshoeing. During winter, about 5 miles of trail are maintained and groomed as multi-use trails, allowing for hiking, fat tire biking and skiing in addition to snowshoeing.

Snowmobile trails (5 miles)

There are 5 miles of snowmobile trails within the park that connect to the extensive Chippewa County snowmobile trail system.