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McCaslin Mountain

No. 307


Photo by Thomas A. Meyer/DNR


McCaslin Mountain is a four-mile-long quartzite hill with local relief of more than 200 feet. The hill's shallow soils, numerous rock outcrops, and shaded quartzite cliffs are unusual in this region where most such features are buried under glacial till. Scattered within the hill complex are bedrock glades, balds, perched wetlands, and vernal ponds on the slopes and in the saddles between the rocky knolls.

The site supports a high-quality northern mesic forest of red oak with beech, sugar maple, basswood, aspen, and some white oak. Many of the largest canopy trees occur in ravines, on slopes, or the saddles between the knolls of the ridge complex. Older stands of hardwoods located within the range of beech are scarce in Wisconsin. Southeast of the hill, the area is flatter but rocky with several intermittent streams and poorly drained soils that support stands of hemlock, yellow birch, black ash, and balsam fir.

The composition of the ground layer is varied and diverse. The shrub layer is dominated by beaked hazelnut and maple-leaved viburnum while Pennsylvania sedge, big-leaved aster, and wild sarsaparilla dominated the ground layer. Other plants include meadow-rue, white baneberry, American starflower, rosy twisted-stalk, beech drops, and several species of club moss. McCaslin Mountain is an important habitat for a rare bird that requires large stands of tall trees for nesting.

Other breeding birds include wood thrush, yellow-billed cuckoo, great-crested flycatcher, least flycatcher, yellow-throated vireo, ovenbird, and hermit thrush. McCaslin Mountain is owned by the U.S. Forest Service and was designated a State Natural Area in 1996. This site is also recognized by the Forest Service as an established Research Natural Area.

Very few State Natural Areas have public facilities, but nearly all are open for a variety of recreational activities as indicated below. Generally, there are no picnic areas, restrooms, or other developments. Parking lots or designated parking areas are noted on individual SNA pages and maps. Trails, if present, are typically undesignated footpaths. If a developed trail is present, it will normally be noted on the SNA map. A compass and topographic map or a GPS unit are useful tools for exploring larger, isolated SNAs.

The good majority of SNAs are isolated and have few or no facilities. Some SNAs have vehicle access lanes or parking lots, but their accessibility may vary depending on weather conditions. Parking lots and lanes are not plowed during winter. Hiking trails may be nonexistent or consist of undeveloped footpaths. A GPS unit or compass and a detailed topographic map are useful tools for exploring larger SNAs.

Non-DNR lands

Entrance fees: For non-DNR-owned SNAs, we are unaware of any vehicle or admission fees. However, please contact the landowner for more information.

Hunting and trapping

This is a non-DNR-owned SNA: Opportunities for hunting and trapping depend on the landowner. Please contact them directly to find out about their rules for hunting and trapping. You can find a link to other owner websites under the Resources tab. More details regarding allowable uses of this non-DNR-owned SNA may be noted above and posted with signs on the property site.

Other activities

Other allowable activities such as - but not limited to camping, geocaching, and bicycling are determined by the landowner. Please contact them directly or visit their websites for details.


Within the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, Forest County. T34N-R16E, Sections 35, 36. 408 acres.

Driving directions

From the intersection of State Highway 32 and County Highway C east of Wabeno, go east on C for 9.5 miles, then south on McCaslin Tower Road (FR 2141) 3.3 miles to the southwest corner of the site. Park along the road and walk east into the area.

The DNR's state natural areas program is comprised of lands owned by the state, private conservation organizations, municipalities, other governmental agencies, educational institutions and private individuals. While the majority of SNAs are open to the public, access may vary according to individual ownership policies. Public use restrictions may apply due to public safety, or to protect endangered or threatened species or unique natural features. Lands may be temporarily closed due to specific management activities.

Users are encouraged to contact the landowner for more specific details. The data shown on these maps have been obtained from various sources, and are of varying age, reliability, and resolution. The data may contain errors or omissions and should not be interpreted as a legal representation of legal ownership boundaries. To create your custom map where you can zoom to a specific location, please use the DNR's Mapping Application.

Property Map [PDF]

McCaslin Mountain is owned by: US Forest Service