Modern Camping in the Northern Highland American Legion State Forest

By Maggie Die

The NHAL State Forest has four modern family campgrounds. Crystal Lake, Big Musky, Firefly and Clear Lake campgrounds have a total of 355 sites. These campgrounds have paved roadways, flush toilets and showers but no electrical hookups. These sites may be occupied up to 14 nights per visit. Generators are allowed by permit during certain hours of the day. Permits are free and can be obtained at check-in. There are also hand-pumped water and pit toilets throughout these campgrounds. Clear Lake and Crystal Lake campgrounds have dump stations, sell firewood for campers and also maintain a lost and found service for the NHAL.

Clear Lake Campground

Clear Lake Campground, sites 701-801, is located in the southern portion of the forest. It is on the southwest corner of Clear Lake. This 846 acre, exceptionally clear lake provides excellent boating and good fishing. There are six vault toilet buildings, six hand pumps for drinking water, one flush toilet building with showers, a sanitary dump station and separate trash and recycling dumpsters. This campground has a large sandy beach with a marked swimming area, water ski area, a boat landing and several boat trailer parking lots dispersed throughout the campground.
Clear Lake Campground map [PDF]

Crystal Lake Campground

Crystal Lake Campground (sites 401-501) is located in the central portion of the forest and is the most popular facility. The entire Crystal Lake shoreline is a designated beach so there are no pets allowed anywhere on the shoreline. There are also no motorized boats allowed on the lake. The campground surrounds most of the lake with access to Muskie Lake Campground. There are five vault toilet buildings, three hand pumps for drinking water, one flush toilet building with showers, a sanitary dump station and separate trash and recycling dumpsters. There is a small craft boat landing within the campground. Sites 463 and 438 are designated ADA accessible.

Near the campground, there is a large marked swimming beach, picnic area and enclosed reservable shelter. The facility also features access to a paved bike trail which goes to Firefly Lake Campground and on to Boulder Junction in one direction, and past St. Germain in the other. There is also a nature center and a hard-surfaced nature trail for the mobility impaired.
Crystal Lake Campground map [PDF]

Firefly Lake Campground

Firefly Lake Campground is located in the central portion of the forest on the north side of the lake. This 27-acre lake has excellent swimming due to the clear water and fine-sand beach. No boat motors are allowed. The campground has five vault toilet buildings, five hand pumps for drinking water, one flush toilet building with showers, separate trash and recycling dumpsters and a carry-in boat landing. This campground is only about one-half mile from the Crystal Lake Picnic Area and is accessible by the paved bike trail at the campground entrance. Site 271 and 222 are ADA accessible.
Firefly Lake Campground map [PDF]

Musky Lake Campground

Musky Lake Campground, sites 301-382, is located in the central portion of the forest on the southeast corner of Big Muskellunge Lake. The campground is located adjacent to Crystal Lake and the Crystal Lake Campground. There are three accessible vault toilet buildings, three hand pumps for drinking water, one flush toilet building with showers, separate trash and recycling dumpsters and a boat launch. A sanitary dump station can be found near the entrance to the Crystal Lake Ranger Station area. A sandy beach for swimming can be found at nearby Crystal Lake Picnic Area. Site 318 is designated ADA accessible.
Musky Lake Campground map [PDF]

More information on camping is available at Northern Highland American Legion State Forest

A selection of sites are available for reservations from May 1-September 30 at Wisconsin State Parks Reserve America

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