Rustic Campgrounds in the Northern Highland American Legion State Forest

By Maggie Die

Many people have come to associate the Northern Highland American Legion State Forest (NHAL) with smaller, quieter, traditional rustic-style campgrounds. Typically, these campgrounds range from about 20 to 70 campsites, usually having a wider spacing than modern campgrounds. They have only minimal facilities including hand-pumped water, pit toilets and no electricity. Many campers feel offering this traditional style of camping is a special niche for the state forests. The NHAL has 14 rustic campgrounds totaling 505 campsites. These sites may be occupied up to 14 nights per visit. Indian Mounds, Big Lake, Plum Lake, Sandy Beach, and South Trout are rustic family campgrounds that offer reservable sites.

The following are a list of rustic campgrounds in the immediate Boulder Junction area:

Big Lake Campground

The Big Lake Campground, sites 1801-1870, is located in the northern portion of the forest on the northwest corner of Big Lake. This 835-acre lake is known for excellent fishing of walleyes, muskies and small mouth bass. There are four vault toilet buildings, three hand pumps and separate trash and recycling dumpsters. There is a boat launch within the campground. Firewood is available for sale at the campground.
Big Lake Campground map [PDF]

North Trout Lake Campground

North Trout Lake Campground, sites 1401-1448, is located in the central portion of the forest on the northeast corner of Trout Lake. The 3,816-acre lake provides good swimming and excellent fishing and boating. This campground has three vault toilet buildings – all ADA accessible, three hand pumps for drinking water, a sanitary dump station, separate trash and recycling dumpsters, a large area to access the water and a boat launch with parking. Firewood is available for sale at the campground. Also available is access to a nature trail and the hard-surface bike trail that runs from North Trout Campground to nearby Boulder Junction, Sayner, St. Germain and the Crystal Lake Campground. All sites in this campground are on a first-come, first-served basis.
North Trout Campground map [PDF]

Plum Lake Campground

Plum Lake Campground, sites 1201-1218, is located in the central portion of the forest on the southwest corner of Plum Lake. The 1,108-acre lake offers good boating, swimming and fishing. The campground has one vault toilet building, one hand pump for drinking water and separate trash and recycling dumpsters. A fishing pier and access to the water are located adjacent to the campground.
Plum Lake Campground map [PDF]

Razorback Lake Campground

Razorback Lake Campground, sites 2101-2154, is located in the central portion of the forest on the southwest corner of Razorback Lake. This popular campground is great for swimming, boating and fishing. The campground has three vault toilet buildings which are all ADA accessible, three hand pumps for drinking water, separate trash and recycling dumpsters, a large area to access the water and a boat launch. Firewood is available for sale at the campground. All sites in this campground are on a first-come, first-served basis.
Razorback Lake Campground map [PDF]

South Trout Campground

South Trout Lake Campground, sites 1001-1023, is located in the central portion of the forest on the southeast corner of Trout Lake. This 3,816-acre lake is very deep and offers excellent boating and fishing. Swimming is limited because of the stony beach. The campground has one vault toilet building, one hand pump for drinking water, separate trash and recycling dumpsters, a boat launch and access to the hard-surface bike trail which goes to Crystal Lake and St. Germain in one direction and Boulder Junction in the other. A sanitary dump station is available at the North Trout Lake Campground.
South Trout Campground map [PDF]

East Star Lake Campground

East Star Lake Campground, sites 1601-1630, is located in the central portion of the state forest on the southeast corner of Star Lake. The 1,206-acre lake is well known for excellent fishing and swimming. The campground has two vault toilet buildings, two hand pumps for drinking water and a large area to access the water. There are separate trash and recycling dumpsters near the campground entrance. The boat landing is adjacent to the main camping loop with a vault toilet building, hand pump for water and a parking area. Two of the vault toilet buildings in this campground are ADA accessible. All sites are on a first-come, first-served basis.
East Star Lake Campground map [PDF]

West Star Lake Campground

Star Lake West Campground, sites 1701-1718, is located in the central portion of the forest on the northeast corner of Star Lake. The lake provides excellent swimming and there is a large area to access the water within the campground. Star Lake is also known for quality fishing and boating experiences. The campground has two vault toilet buildings, one of which is ADA accessible, two hand pumps for drinking water, separate trash and recycling dumpsters, a boat launch and a nearby nature trail. Firewood is available for sale at the campground. All sites in this campground are on a first-come, first-served basis.
West Star Lake Campground map [PDF]

Starrett Lake Campground

Starrett Lake Campground, sites 1301-1344, is located in the central portion of the forest on the southeast corner of Starrett Lake. This 66-acre lake allows electric motors only with slow-no-wake speed. Swimming is good with fair fishing for bass, panfish, northern pike and even walleye are taken occasionally. This campground has three vault toilet buildings, three hand pumps for drinking water, separate trash and recycling dumpsters and a boat launch. There are two large areas to access the water. Firewood is available for sale. All sites in this campground are on a first-come, first-served basis.
Starrett Lake Campground map [PDF]

Upper Gresham Lake Campground

Upper Gresham Lake Campground is located in the central portion of the forest on the northeast corner of Upper Gresham Lake. This lake is better known for good fishing and boating than swimming, however, there is an area within the campground to access the water. There is also an ADA designated fishing pier located adjacent to the boat launch area as well as parking and a hand pump for drinking water. Within the campground, there is one vault toilet building which is ADA accessible, two hand pumps for drinking water and separate trash and recycling dumpsters. Firewood is available for sale. All sites in this campground are on a first-come, first-served basis.
Upper Gresham 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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