Already dreaming of your next Northwoods getaway? Boulder Junction is home to some truly beautiful wild areas where you can enjoy fresh air and solitude. Here’s a look at three to put on your list the next time you visit Boulder Junction.
Reminder: The state’s “Safer at Home” order says non-essential travel is not permitted, so please only visit these areas if you’re already in the immediate area. Also, if you choose to visit these areas, please follow the recommended social distancing protocols and stay at least 6 feet away from others.
Catherine Wolter Wilderness Area
North of Boulder Junction near the border with Michigan’s Upper Peninsula lies the Catherine Wolter Wilderness Area, a wild tract of land that’s home to more than 2,000 acres of Northwoods forest and 15 lakes and ponds. This preserve is open to the public from sunrise to sunset for hiking, cross-country skiing, birdwatching and other low-impact activities.
Getting there: From Boulder Junction, take Highway M north to Highway B, then head west until you reach E. Bay Road. Take a right on E. Bay Road and the parking area for the wilderness area will be on your right.
Van Vliet Hemlocks State Natural Area
Located in the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest, the Van Vliet Hemlocks State Natural Area protects one of the largest old-growth hemlock forests in the Northwoods—it’s a great scenic spot for hiking and cross-country skiing, plus there are fishing opportunities on Averill Lake and Van Vliet Lake. If you’re a birdwatcher, keep your eyes peeled and your binoculars ready—there’s a chance you’ll see loons, eagles, osprey and warblers.
Getting there: Take Highway K west from Boulder Junction to Highway P, then follow Crab Lake Road to the natural area’s parking lot and trailhead.
Just south of Boulder Junction, you’ll find one of Vilas County’s biggest lakes—Trout Lake. While the lake is a popular destination for anglers, it also offers one of the area’s most scenic sites. The north and south basins of Trout Lake are separated by a wooded peninsula known as Cathedral Point, which is home to towering white pines, including some that are over 100 feet tall. Pack a lunch and head to Cathedral Point Park for a scenic picnic lunch.
Getting there: Take Highway M south from Boulder Junction to Cathedral Point Lane, follow the road to the park.