Straight Lake State Park
Straight Lake State Park offers a variety of recreation opportunities. In addition, the state park is adjacent to the state wildlife area, providing nearly 3,500 contiguous acres at Straight Lake.
Canoeing and kayaking
Canoes, kayaks and other non-motorized watercraft can be carried from the parking areas to the lakes. The carry-in boat launch for Rainbow Lake is a short, 100-yard hike. The east carry-in boat launch on Straight Lake is 300 yards from the parking lot. The west carry-in boat launch on Straight Lake is 750 yards from the campground parking lot. Courtesy boat/canoe/kayak dollies are available at the campground and picnic area lots.
Canoes, kayaks and rowboats are not allowed to be left at the boat launches overnight.
Straight Lake is fed and drained by the Straight River. It is a premier northern wild lake with a great fishery of bass, northern pike and panfish. Boats may be carried in to fish.
Rainbow Lake is stocked every year with rainbow trout. Trout may be harvested from the first Saturday in May to the first Sunday in March. An accessible fishing platform is located on Rainbow Lake, next to the carry-in boat launch.
A fishing license is required for anyone age 16 or over. See fishing regulations.
The park is open to the public for foot traffic only. No motorized vehicles, bikes or horses are allowed. The Ice Age National Scenic Trail winds through the middle of the park along the Straight River and Straight Lake. There are about 8.5 miles of trail at the park.
Ice Age National Scenic Trail
From the headwaters of the Trade River to Straight Lake and the Straight River, this beautiful stretch of the trail meanders for nearly 6 miles through the park. The Ice Age National Scenic Trail route is marked with yellow blazes. After leaving the park boundary to the west, the Ice Age Trail continues northwest towards the town of Frederic, and leaving the park boundary to the east, the trail travels towards the McKenzie Creek State Wildlife Area. The western terminus of the entire Ice Age Trail is in Interstate State Park near St. Croix Falls, about 20 miles from Straight Lake.
- Geology hiking guide for the Ice Age Trail (courtesy UW-Eau Claire Geology Department)
Rainbow Lake Trail
This challenging 1-mile loop trail provides excellent views of Rainbow Lake and the surrounding landscape. The trail starts at the picnic area parking lot and can be used to connect to the Ice Age Trail and the Glacial Trail. The trail has a natural surface with steep terrain.
This 0.8-mile trail provides views of the hummocky terrain left behind after the last Ice Age. The trail meanders from the Rainbow Lake Trail to the eastern boundary of the park, where it meets the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. The trail has a natural surface with some steep terrain.
Straight Lake Trail
This 0.9-mile trail traverses the highland on the south side of Straight Lake, providing some excellent views of the lake before working its way to the southern lakeshore. All-access trails to the campsites are along the trail, which has a natural surface or gravel.
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:
During winter, trails are not groomed or packed. Winter hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are allowed anywhere in the park.
Ice fishing is a popular activity at the park, but combustion-powered ice augers are prohibited.