Bear Lake Recreation Area


Area Status: Closed

The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest has an abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities at the Bear Lake Recreation Area including camping, fishing, swimming, kayaking and canoeing. Only electric motors are allowed on Bear Lake providing a quiet and relaxing environment. The Rat River Recreational Trail is a good nearby hiking opportunity and popular with grouse hunters and fall color enthusiasts.

The Bear Lake Campground sits on the southwest corner of 68-acre Bear Lake with some sites located along the wooded shore and ridge with outstanding views of the lake. The campground is a mix of hardwoods and pine.

Bear Lake Campground has 27 sites. A majority of campsites can accommodate campers as long as 30 feet and longer. The campground also has five tent-only walk-in sites on a wooded peninsula jutting into the lake. Drinking water, vault toilets, swim beach, picnic area and a boat landing are also provided at this location. All roads are paved with blacktop.

Bear Lake is in close proximity to the Rat River Recreation Trail. Trout fishing opportunities are also nearby on the Peshtigo and Rat Rivers.

At a Glance

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 www.recreation.gov or by calling Recreation.gov at 1-877-444-6777 or TDD 1-877-833-6777. The campground will still have first-come, first-serve sites available for those who prefer a more spontaneous adventure. 
Fees: Individual campsite fee is $15, or $7.50 with the use of an Interagency pass (access or senior). 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 the boat landing beach. This does not apply to registered campers. The Forest also has an annual pass available for $30. To learn more visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/cnnf/passes-permits/recreation.
Open Season: May 5 - November 28
Usage: Heavy
Busiest Season: Camping: June - October
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: Wabeno
Water: Drinking water
Restroom: Vault Toilets
Passes: 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. 
Information Center: Campground hosts greet visitors as they arrive, inform them of the campground regulations and assist them with their campsite. Lakewood-Laona District

General Information

Directions:

From Wabeno, drive north 5.5 miles or from Laona drive 3.0 miles to County Road T. Turn east and drive 3 miles to County Road H. Turn right (north) drive 0.75 miles to Goodman Park Road (FR2136). Turn right (east) and drive 4.1 miles to FR3770. Turn right (south) on FR3770 and drive 0.4 miles to the campground.


Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities

Mountain Biking

Rat River Recreation Trail – Located in the town of Blackwell the trail follows the route of the old Flanner Railroad. The West end runs from Grant Lane to Blackwell Junction Road and is 3 miles. The East end begins at Flanner Lane and ends at Bear Lake Lane and is 5 miles. It’s on easy and enjoyable flat terrain.

Campground Camping

Bear Lake Campground has 27 sites. The campground also has five tent-only walk-in sites on a wooded peninsula jutting into the lake. Drinking water, vault toilets, swim beach, picnic area, and a boat landing are also provided at this location. All roads are paved with blacktop.

RV Camping

A majority of campsites can accommodate campers as long as 30 feet and longer. 

No. of Sites 27
Reservation Info Campsites may be reserved through the campground reservation system at www.recreation.gov.
Size Restrictions
  • Tent only: 23, 24, 25, 26, 27
  • Back in 25 feet: 12
  • Back in 30 feet: 3, 10, 11, 13
  • Back in 35 feet: 6, 8, 21
  • Back in 40 feet: 17
  • Back in 45+ feet: 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 22
Pavement Type of Parking Asphalt

Lake and Pond Fishing

Excellent northern pike fishing. The water quality is moderate at a maximum depth of 20 feet. Besides northern pike, fish species include a variety of panfish and largemouth bass. Bear Lake is restricted to electric boat motors only. Trout fishing opportunities are also nearby on the Peshtigo and Rat Rivers

Fish Species northern pike

Boating - Non-Motorized

Canoeing, kayaking, paddling and windsurfing are some of the popular non-motorized water activities on Bear Lake.  Bear Lake only allows electric motors.  There is a boat landing at Bear Lake Campground.

Peshtigo River – Launch your canoe or kayak at Big Joe Landing on Highway 139 just north of Cavour and observe wildlife on this seven-mile section of the Peshtigo River. Quietwater enthusiasts will enjoy the segment where the river winds through dense northern lowland forest. Wildlife is especially abundant in this stretch. Watch for beaver, otter and white-tailed deer along with the occasional black bear. This is a fun run for novice whitewater enthusiasts that features several long stretches of class I and class II rapids.

Swimming

Enjoy the beautiful sandy beach at Bear Lake, which is great for swimming.

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

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Location

 
  Latitude : 
45.51232

  Longitude : 
-88.51368