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Wisconsin State Parks

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USA Parks
Great Northwest Region
Brule River State Forest
Brule River State Forest © Ben Prepelka
Brule River State Forest © Ben Prepelka
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6250 South Ranger Rd.
Brule, Wisconsin   54820

Phone: 715-372-5678
Email: park email button icon
The Brule River State Forest was initiated in 1907. Mr. Frederick Weyerhauser deeded 4,320 acres to the state of Wisconsin for forestry purposes. The boundaries of the forest now includes about 50,000 acres, of which about 41,000 acres are under state ownership.

The Bois Brule is one of the best known rivers east of the Mississippi. For over a hundred years, it has been known as a an exceptional trout stream. The Brule River contains resident brook, brown and rainbow trout. Lake brown and rainbow (steelhead) trout along with coho and chinook salmon migrate up the Brule annually from Lake Superior.

The river itself has two distinct personalities. The upper river (the southern portion) flows through miles of coniferous bog and is fed by numerous springs. When the river crosses the Copper Range, it begins a fall of 328 feet in the eighteen miles to Lake Superior. Here, flashing cascades tumble over rocks and ledges; between steep river bluffs forested with aspen and balsam fir.

This state forest is used by more diverse species of birds and mammals than any other northern Wisconsin acreage of similar size. The forest has many distinct landscapes that allow for the wide range of species such as deer, ruffed grouse, geese, bald eagles, osprey and songbirds. A majority of the public lands within the forest boundaries are open to hunting and trapping in season.
History of the Area
The area's first European explorers were French fur trappers who visited the region in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. They established fur trading posts along the shores of Lake Superior, including the nearby Chequamegon Bay.

In the mid-19th century, as Wisconsin became populated by settlers, timber became a valuable resource. Logging operations began in the Brule River area, harvesting the extensive forests of white and red pine. These logs were sent downstream to mills along Lake Superior, utilizing the Brule River as a natural transportation route.

With the increased demand for timber, many logging camps were established, employing hundreds of people. However, after years of intensive logging, the forests began to show signs of decline, leading to concerns about the sustainability of the industry.

In the early 20th century, the state of Wisconsin recognized the importance of conserving natural resources and established the Brule River State Forest in 1907. This marked one of the state's earliest efforts to protect forested areas from excessive logging and preserve their ecological and recreational value.

The forest's boundaries were expanded over time to include additional land that was acquired by the state. Today, the Brule River State Forest offers various outdoor recreational opportunities, including camping, hiking, fishing, and hunting. Its diverse ecosystems are home to a wide range of flora and fauna, making it an important natural area in Wisconsin.

The forest is named after the Brule River, a scenic and renowned river known for its crystal-clear waters, excellent trout fishing, and picturesque waterfalls. The river's name "Brule" is derived from the French word for "burned," referring to the Ojibwe practice of using controlled burns to manage the land for hunting and other purposes.
A Wisconsin State Park System vehicle admission sticker is required on all motor vehicles stopping in state parks, forests and recreation areas, please visit the VEHICLE ADMISSION STICKERS web page.
1. Bois Brule Campground offers 22 sites, including some with electric hookups.
2. Copper Range Campground provides rustic camping options near the river.
3. The Stoney Hill Nature Trail has a primitive campsite for backpackers and hikers.
4. Canoe Landing Sites offer dispersed camping along the river's edge for canoeists or kayakers on multi:day trips.
5. Group campsites are available at both Bois Brule and Copper Range campgrounds for larger parties of campers.

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1. After Hours Ski Trail: A 17-mile trail system, used for hiking in non-winter months; features a variety of woodland and lake views.

2. Bois Brule-Stone's Bridge Canoe Route: An eight-hour canoe trip that can be hiked along the riverbanks with multiple rest areas available.

3. North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT): This long-distance trail passes through the forest offering diverse terrain over its length within park boundaries.

4. Historical Bayfield Road Hiking/Skiing Trails: These trails follow an old military road from Fort Howard to Lake Superior built between 1868-1870; distance varies based on chosen route.

5. Stoney Hill Nature Trail: A self-guided nature walk approximately one mile long featuring interpretive signs about local flora and fauna.

6. Brule Bog Boardwalk Interpretative Loop: Half-mile boardwalk loop providing access into a unique bog ecosystem without disturbing it or getting wet feet.

7. Two Lakes Campground Walking Path: Short walking path around Two Lakes campground area suitable for all fitness levels, not known exact length but less than two miles round-trip.

8. Historic Ranger Station Self-Guided Tour: Not exactly a hike but offers short walks around historic buildings dating back to early forestry practices in Wisconsin.

9. Brule River State Forest Horseback Riding/Hiking Trails: Multi-use trails covering several miles throughout different sections of the state forest open year-round except during spring thaw conditions when they are closed temporarily due to potential damage caused by horses' hooves.

10. Snowmobile/ATV Routes: While primarily designed as snowmobiling routes these also provide additional options for summer hikes though caution is advised regarding other users.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
December 22 Nice XC Ski Place
park review stars; one to five Nice skate and classic trails, none very difficult. We almost always find it well groomed. There is a nice warming cabin.
December 21 Cross Country Skiing
park review stars; one to five Very nice system of cross country ski trails, classic and skate. Grooming is done regularly and skillfully.
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Use Mapquest and the directions provided below to create custom directions from your location to the forest:

Brule River State Forest6250 S. Ranger RoadP.O. Box 125Brule, WI 54820-0125715-372-8539

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Wisconsin State Parks