Wanoka Lake Recreation Area

Area Status: Open

Wanoka Recreation Area is located off an ATV route that connects to local ATV trails and other open routes. Visitors may ride their ATV or smaller UTVs to and from the route.  ATVs may not be used to drive around the campground for fun. ATVs need to be kept on their trailers or on the parking spur on the site.

Located approximately 7 miles east of Iron River, this campground is located on a 15-acre lake that has panfish and trout. Wanoka Lake Campground has 20 sites. Each site has a defined parking spur, fire ring, picnic table, and tent pad, and can accommodate RV's up to 35 feet. Please help to not increase the size of the area and keep all equipment on the parking spur. There are two pull-through sites.  Drinking water and vault toilets are available. There is a carry-in-boat access.

Did you forget something? Don't sweat it! The small town of Iron River can meet your camping supply needs ranging from groceries to firewood.  If you need an out-of-state fishing or ATV/UTV license, Iron River gas stations have these available for purchase.

So, if you like to fish, kayak, hike, bike or enjoy being close to town, then the Wanoka Recreation Area is the place for you, conveniently located just a short drive from Iron River.

At a Glance

Reservations: There are no reservable sites at the Wanoka Campground. All sites are available on a first-come basis. Holding sites for others is not permissible.
Fees: Individual campsite fee is $15/night, payable at the fee envelope tube at the site. Nightly fees are half of price shown with use of Interagency Senior or Access Pass. Interagency Pass discounts apply only to the fee for the campsite physically occupied by the pass holder.
Open Season: May 5 - October 31
Usage: Heavy
Busiest Season: Campground: Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend
Restrictions: Campsite Capacity
  • Each site includes a defined parking spur fire ring, picnic table and tent pad. Please help to not increase the size of the area and keep all equipment on the parking spur.
  • Maximum of 8 people and 3 vehicles at each camp site.
  • Vehicle capacity limit includes vehicles, wheeled camping units and trailers.
Pets and Animals
  • Pets must always be restrained or on a leash while in developed recreation areas.
  • Saddle or pack animals are allowed in recreation sites only where authorized by posted instructions.
Firewood Closure Order
  • Our firewood closure order prohibits the possession, storage, or transport of any firewood that originates from more than 25 miles from your campsite. Firewood certified by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Transportation and Consumer Protection can originate from more than 25 miles from National Forest destination.
  • Both certified firewood and Kiln-dried, untreated/unpainted/unstained/construction/dimensional lumber that is free of any metal or foreign substance is approved. Pallet boards are not approved.
  • No chainsaw use within the designated campground.  Visitors may go outside the campground to collect firewood using a chainsaw for their use while camping.
ATV & UTV egress and ingress is allowed in campground.
Closest Towns: Iron River. Visit the Iron River Chamber of Commerce HERE.
Water: Drinking Water
Restroom: Vault toilets
Operated By: U.S. Forest Service
Information Center:   Maps are provided at the fee station. Washburn District Office

General Information

Directions: Follow US Hwy 2 East for about 7 miles and turn right (south) on Forest Road 234

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Mountain Biking

The Valhalla Recreation Area is nestled amongst the tree covered rolling hills of Bayfield County, Wisconsin.  This recreation area encompasses both motorized and non-motorized trail systems meandering through hardwood and pine forests.  The Valkyrie and Teuton Trails are primarily managed for cross-country skiing.  During the off season, hiking, mountain biking, and geocaching are allowed.

Click here for more information.

Road Cycling

Bicycling on paved forest roads is popular in the vast Moquah Barrens north of the campground.

Campground Camping

Wanoka Campground has 20 campsites. Each site includes a defined parking spur, fire ring, picnic table, and tent pad. Drinking water and vault toilets are available.

No. of Sites 20

RV Camping

All sites can accommodate RV's up to 35 feet. Campsites include a parking spur, fire ring, picnic table, and tent pad. Drinking water and vault toilets are available.

No. of Sites 23
Reservation Info There are no reservable sites, all are on a first-come basis.
Size Restrictions (Back-in sites unless indicated below):
  • Back in 30 feet: 3-8, 10-12, 14, 20
  • Back in 35 feet: 9, 13, 15-19
  • Back in 45+ feet: 1
Fire Information There are accessible fire rings at each campsite.
Corrals RV up to 35 Feet
Pavement Type of Parking Asphalt
No. of Accessible sites 20

Lake and Pond Fishing

There is carry-in boat access only to 15-acre Wanoka Lake, which has panfish and is popular with trout anglers.

River and Stream Fishing

Fishing opportunities can be found at Wishbone, Clay, Reynard and Beaver Lakes in the nearby Rainbow Lake Wilderness Area.

Click here for more information.

Ice Fishing

Fishing is popular year round on this 15-acre lake for panfish and trout. There is no boat landing.

Day Hiking

North Country Trail – The majority of the North Country Trail on the Washburn District is located on flat to gently rolling ground, marked with blue rectangular painted blazes except in the Rainbow Lake Wilderness. For those who don't want to hike the entire distance of the Trail within the Forest, here are some interesting places to hike on the trail within the District: Rainbow Lake Wilderness - This is a great hike in the fall. The trail passes by Wishbone, Reynard, Bufo, Rainbow, and Tower Lakes. Much of the trail follows old narrow gauge logging railroad beds. Lake Owen - The trail follows the north shore of Lake Owen for about two miles. Click here for more information.

Valhalla Recreation Area – Hiking trails meander through hardwood and pine forests nestled amongst the tree covered rolling hills of Bayfield County in the Valhalla Recreation Area.  The Valkyrie and Teuton Trails are popular in the summer and fall.

Click here for more information.


North Country Trail – The North Country National Scenic Trail is managed primarily as a long distance hiking trail. A long term goal for this trail is to have a continuous hiking trail from New York State to North Dakota. Many people enjoy hiking short sections of this trail or backpacking longer sections of the trail. Click here for more information.

Horse Riding

Horseshoe Lake Saddle Trail – Whether you are looking for a pleasant afternoon ride or an extended visit, the Horseshoe Lake Saddle Trail 11 miles north of Ino is a perfect adventure for any horseback rider. The terrain is gently rolling with a sandy loam surface ideal for horse riding. The trail weaves through towering pine and hardwood forests as well as through the area’s open barrens. Click here for more information. (area is unavailable)

Viewing Wildlife

Moquah Pine Barrens – Gray wolf, black bear, red fox, plains pocket gopher, eastern bluebird, clay-colored sparrows, and eastern towhees make their home in this habitat. Prescribed burning keeps this area ideal habitat for Brewer’s blackbird, upland sandpiper, tree swallow, badger, and woodchuck. Maps are recommended for travel. If you want to increase your chances of seeing wildlife, head out early in the morning, right after sunrise. The animals are less skittish in the morning and are trying to warm up after the chilly overnight.

Viewing Plants

The Washburn District provides the avid wildflower watcher with some of the best viewing opportunities in Northern Wisconsin. Perhaps one of the most fascinating areas is the Moquah Pine Barrens. Wildflowers paint a colorful quilt of blooms that attracts native birds, butterflies and other wildlife. These hardy plants thrive in this sandy, arid environment.

Viewing Scenery

Whether you are interested in plants, scenery, touring the backroads and trails with binoculars or camera can allow you to take advantage of fantastic viewing and photographic opportunities.

OHV Trail Riding

Interpretive Areas

Drummond Woods Interpretive Trail – This short 0.75-mile trail near the village of Drummond is relatively flat and easy to hike. The trail traverses through a northern hardwood forest and is a wonderful short hike to view fall colors, but don’t want to go a long distance. It has several interpretive stops with information signs at each stop. The trail is used for snowshoeing in winter months. Click here for more information.

Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center Boardwalk Trail – This short trail offers two half-mile loops with great wildlife viewing opportunities of birds, waterfowl, muskrat, frogs and turtles. The trail is open year-round and visitors are welcome to walk, snowshoe or cross-country ski.

Visitor Centers

Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center – This beautiful building 2.5 miles west of Ashland has an observation tower, viewing platform, 100-seat theater, interpretive and historic exhibits and regional visitor information and trip planning for Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The Center property is adjacent to the Whittlesy Creek National Wildlife Refuge. Signature bird species include migratory raptors, Bald Eagles, and spring warblers. Click here for more information.


Bladder Lake Day Use Area – Picnic under the trees at the Bladder Lake Day Use Area near Trail 31 (Iron River Trail) and the Moquah Barrens Wildlife Management Area. The area features great berry picking and a nearby beach area. Please note there is a $5 day use fee. Annual passes are also valid. Click here for more information.

Horseshoe Lake Day Use Site - This day use site has parking for up to 4 vehicles; and 2 tables and grills for picnicking.  There is a staircase that leads down to the lake. Click here for more information. (area is unavailable)

Scenic Driving

Fall Color Auto Tours – There are three self-guided fall color tours beginning in Cable and three beginning in Hayward. Each tour is between 40 to 70 miles long and winds throughout both the Great Divide and Washburn ranger districts. Brochures are available at both the Cable and Hayward Chambers of Commerce that have maps of each tour as well as a narrative description of the route.

Boating - Non-Motorized

No motors are allowed on this 15-acre lake and there is no boat landing. There is carry-in access only for non-motorized activities.


Canoeing, kayaking, paddling and windsurfing are some of the popular non-motorized water activities on Winoka Lake. 


North Country Trail – Dog sledding is allowed on the North Country Trail except where the trail follows the Penokee Mountain ski trail. Trail Length: 27.5 miles on the Washburn Ranger District. The majority of the Trail in the District is located on flat to gently rolling ground. Click here for more information.

XC Skiing/Snowshoeing

Valhalla Recreation Area – This ski trail network is centered around the Valhalla Chalet located outside of Washburn on Highway C.  The Teuton cross-country ski trails are 10.2 miles of groomed trails for both classic & skate skiing.  The Valkyrie trails are 11.1 miles of groomed trails for classic cross-country skiing.  Snowshoes are allowed on Loops A, B and Little A. Click here for more information.