What Makes The Minocqua Area Special?
Find Minocqua on a map, and it looks like there's more water to the town than land. Minocqua and the neighboring communities of Arbor Vitae, Woodruff and Lake Tomahawk — which conveniently sit some three to six hours from Madison, Milwaukee, and Chicago — are filled with over 2,300 sparkling blue lakes, streams, and ponds. They are also snuggled into the mighty Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest. This means guests can easily enjoy an incredible array of activities, both on the shore and on the water.
The Minocqua Area is the hub of the Northwoods. The Minocqua area features supper clubs, shopping, cafes, ice cream stands, outfitters, real lumberjack shows, the oldest amateur ski show in the United States, museums, and gaming.
Minocqua is the ideal resort-area town. Popcorn and fudge-scented air hums with the buzz of speedboats and the putter of pontoons. Giggles and shrieks ripple from Torpy Beach, a popular park and playground along the main street. And families meander in and out of shops and gather around lakeside tables.
For a taste of the wilderness, head to the Willow Flowage Scenic Waters Area, southwest of Lake Tomahawk. Anglers can try their luck snagging northern pike, muskellunge, or large and smallmouth bass, while paddlers can explore the flowage's numerous nooks and crannies. Over at the Bittersweet Lakes, a chain of four lakes separated by small isthmuses, it's time for an easy paddle-and-portage experience.
Hundreds of miles of paved bicycle trails crisscross the Minocqua area, ducking in and out of the woods and sometimes paralleling the roads, offering innumerable cycling experiences. One of the more popular paths is the 18-mile Bearskin State Trail, a compact granite rail-trail that starts in downtown Minocqua and heads south, traversing through pine and hardwood forest and crossing 13 trestle bridges. It connects with the six-mile Hiawatha Trail, which continues south to Tomahawk.
If hiking is more your speed, you’re in luck, as Minocqua boasts more than 600 miles of trail. For an easy walk, head a few miles north of Arbor Vitae to the North Trout Lake Natural Trail, a one-mile loop encircling a pretty black spruce-tamarack bog. The path also leads you along the Trout Lake shoreline. A little more challenging is the Star Lake Nature Trail, whose 2.5 miles roll up and down hilly terrain past Wisconsin's first tree plantings.