Franklin Lake Recreation Area

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

If you are looking for one of the most popular camping spots within the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest of northern Wisconsin, try Franklin Lake Recreation Area off Highway 70 east of Eagle River. Its unique structures, including historic stone and log buildings, land it on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Franklin Lake Recreation Area on the Eagle River-Florence District has two camping loops with a total of 77 campsites. The campground features campsites available for tent and RV camping. Sites are equipped with tables and campfire rings with grills. Accessible flush and vault toilets, as well as drinking water, are provided throughout the campground.

There are also two historic log picnic pavilions with picnic tables that can accomodate larger groups. 

Day use facilities include an 892 acre clear blue water lake and boasts a beautiful sandy beach. The lake provides visitors with ample opportunities for boating, swimming and year round fishing. Anglers can expect a catch of walleye, northern pike, large and smallmouth bass, rock bass, perch, bluegill and trout, among others. The lake is open to all types of boating, motorized and non-motorized. 

The popular Franklin Nature Trail is an excellent way to get a sampling of nature in the Northwoods. The trail will lead you through northern hardwood, pine, and hemlock forests where some trees are over 400 years old. You can stop off at Butternut Lake and view the beautiful lake from under huge hemlock trees. The boardwalk across the bog offers a chance to see many varieties of bog plants up close. If you visit in the spring, bring along your field guide to identify the numerous wildflowers in bloom. A short loop at the beginning of this trail is accessible to persons using wheelchairs.

The campground is in a beautiful setting, among tall pines and hemlocks, perched on the edge of the clear blue waters of Franklin Lake. In addition to its scenic landscape, the campground offers access to educational programs and numerous trails in the area, with some beginning within the campground, including a 6-mile hike to nearby Anvil Lake.

So, if you like to swim, boat, fish, hike picnic or enjoy being close to town, the Franklin Lake recreation area is the place for you, conveniently located just 15 minutes east of Eagle River. Franklin Lake Recreation Area is pet friendly; see our restrictions for more information.


At a Glance

Current Conditions: Boat landing open; trails open; picnicking and beaches open. Campground opening June 12 on a first-come, first-served basis; reservations honored starting June 15
Reservations: The reservation system provides visitors the opportunity to reserve their favorite spot during specific times, ensuring a place to stay, which will be beneficial to local users as well as users traveling from afar. Sites can be reserved at or by calling at 1-877-444-6777 or TDD 1-877-833-6777. The campground will still have first come first served sites available for those who prefer a more spontaneous adventure.  
Area Amenities: Interpretive Site,Accessible,Boat ramp,Tent camping,Camping trailer,Picnic tables,Toilets,Drinking water
Fees Individual campsite fee is $18, or $9 with the use of an Interagency pass (access or senior) for lakeside sites and $15, or $7.50 for non-lakeside sites. The interagency pass applies only to the fee for the campsite physically occupied by the pass holder, not to any additional fees or campsite(s) occupied by members of the pass holder's party. There is a $5 day use pass for this recreation site. The Forest also has an annual pass available for $30. To learn more visit This does not apply to registered campers. The USDA Forest Service honors all four Interagency Recreation Passes that may be applied at National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife sites charging recreation use fees. Visit to decide which pass is right for you.
Usage: Heavy
Restrictions: Restrictions for all National Forest System lands can be found by visiting Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations 261 by clicking here. The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest specific restrictions can be found in the Occupancy and Use Restrictions for the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Campsite Capacity
  • Maximum of 8 people and 4 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.
  • Pets (except guide dogs) are not allowed in swimming 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.
Operation of all ATVs & UTVs are prohibited in campground.
Closest Towns: Eagle River, WI.
Information Center: Campground hosts greet visitors as they arrive, inform them of the campground regulations and assist them with their campsite. Eagle River - Florence Ranger District

General Information


From Eagle River travel east 7.6 miles on Highway 70 to FR 2178 (Military Road). Turn right (south) on FR 2178 and continue 2.8 miles to FR 2181 (Butternut Lake Road). Turn left (east) and travel 4.6 miles to the campground.

General Notes:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
45.92472, -89.00806
45°55'29"N, 89°0'29"W

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



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Camping & Cabins

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Campground Camping

There are two camping loops with a total of 77 campsites. Sites are equipped with tables and campfire rings with grills. Accessible flush and vault toilets, as well as drinking water, are provided throughout the campground.

RV Camping

Pavement Type of ParkingAsphalt
No. of Sites77 total campsites (37 campsites on North End; 40 campsites on South End)
Reservation InfoReservable Sites at Franklin Lake North Campground: 41-42,51-61, 75-76. Reservable Sites at Franklin Lake South Campground: 2-4, 16-40. Other campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Sites can be reserved at or by calling at 1-877-444-6777 or TDD 1-877-833-6777.
Size Restrictions

Maximum RV/ Trailer Length of Campsites
(Back-in sites unless indicated below):
Franklin Lake North Campground:

  • 30 Foot: 76
  • 35 Foot: 53, 55-63
  • 40 Foot: 32-52, 54, 64-75, 77
Franklin Lake South Campground:
  • 25 Foot: 21, 31
  • 30 Foot: 4, 16, 19
  • 40 Foot: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8-15, 17, 18, 22-30
  • Pull Through Tent: 7, 20


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Nature Viewing

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Outdoor Learning

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Water Activities

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Winter Sports

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Picnic tables
Drinking water
Interpretive Site Interpretive Trails
Boat ramp
Tent camping
Accessible Accessible flush toilets, vault toilets
Camping trailer
Areas & Activities


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