Sam Campbell Memorial Trail, Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Directions

Let’s take an adventure to see a portion of Wisconsin’s beautiful forests. I started my day in Rhinelander, WI, which is the largest city in the area. Start your day early and take a beautiful drive up route 17 North out of Rhinelander. Take County road A to the East over to the city of Three Lakes. Drive past town and take a left onto route 32. Drive down 32 and keep your eyes open for Military road (Forest road 2178). Drive slow and watch out for wildlife running out. In about 4 miles you will need to pay close attention where Old Military road (Forest road 2207) branches from Military road, it’s easy to miss. Not to far North you will pass Sam Campbell road and just over the hill on the left is a small turn off to park at the trail head. More details can be found at the Forest Service website by clicking here.

The Trail

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Trail map near trail head.

This trail is well marked and they provide a very nice wooden map frequently along the trail. The screw indicates where you are located. Unless you are hiking with snow cover, hiking this trail without a map is fine. At various locations are signs that describe the forest and notes from Sam Campbell. They are worth the read. Allow 2 hours to take in this gorgeous forest trail. Some of the trees along this trail are matured, tall, and left for us to enjoy. I suggest starting off by taking a right on the first trail split (which is just a loop).

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Tall red oak trees.

You will read, and discover the fauna and flora of the area. This trail does skirt along some swampy areas, although hiking after a slew of storms ended we did not encounter any issues with the trail being difficult or too muddy. Now I did this hike in early may however, any later I would imagine mosquitoes being an issue here. As with any North Woods trail, bring deep woods bug spray just in case. The informative signs are only along the first portion and within the main trail loop. However, it is worth following the signs to Four Mile Lake.

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Four Mile Lake

Very quite, such a peaceful lake. A log cabin here would put you in your own world. Once you have reached the end of the trail sit down and watch the world go by. No media or distractions, just you and nature. Perhaps a couple of ducks, and hopefully not a bear. After you have soaked in the view, you can head back and continue through the trail loop, taking the portion that was not taken when you diverted to Four Mile Lake. If you followed my original suggestion to start on the right side of the loop, stay on the right hand branching trail.

Ratings

  • 3/5 Amenities: There are no bathrooms or shelters at the trail. However given the length of the trail it’s not really needed. If you need to use the bathroom, I’m sure the grass can use some watering.
  • 5/5 Trails: Trail takes you to the great features of the area. They are well marked, and many informative signs are along the path.
  • 1/5 Backpacking: This would not be the trail to backpack. However near Four Mile lake it appears some people have camped by a clearing. This trail is meant for a short day hike.
  • 5/5 Maps: The map provided from the Forest Service online and on the trail is sufficient and frequent enough. It would be difficult to get lost.
  • 3/5 Wilderness: With the well marked trail, informative signs, and nearby cabins on Four Mile Lake this isn’t exactly wilderness. However it is far enough from the masses that the woods are very quiet and pristine.
  • 4/5 Enjoyment: This hike has a lot to offer. Plenty of information and beauty to it. If I’m ever in the area again I would come back to this trail. It’s a great, shorter day hike.

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