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Backpacking / Backcountry Camping

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Backpacking / Backcountry Camping

Postby Veeder » Wed Jul 18, 2007 4:03 pm

I'm looking to do some backpacking and perhaps camping for a night this weekend. I noticed the DNR's website has some 'backcountry' campsites but they require reservations and I'm looking for more rustic camping.

For example, in many National Forests you can just hike-in and camp wherever you'd like without a reservation.

Any ideas on places within a couple hours of Madison where the camping is truly backcountry?
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Postby Dust Mite Rodeo » Wed Jul 18, 2007 6:09 pm

Fanny Lake at the Jones Spring area, Nicolet-Cheq. NF near Langlade. Not a lot of trail distance, but very nice for the camping.

Sylvania in the UP near Watersmeet. Been too many years since I been there so I can't comment much.

Porcupine Mountains in the UP. We might be getting too far away...

Generally Wisconsin doesn't have those big grand undeveloped backcountry areas the way Wyoming and Montana do. It's more about giant fiberglass muskies.
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Postby robbie webber » Wed Jul 18, 2007 10:06 pm

I recently spent some time in the Northern Highlands - American Legion State Forest. It is huge - over 225,000 acres, and over 800 campsites.

Here's what they say aout backpack camping:

Backpack camping is permitted at no charge using the Lumberjack Trail or existing snowmobile trails. A permit is required for this type of camping. Special
permits may be obtained at the Trout Lake Headquarters, the Woodruff Service Center, or at one of the Contact Stations.


More info on the forest here.
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Re: Backpacking / Backcountry Camping

Postby joesmith » Tue Mar 02, 2010 9:35 am

You are correct that the default position is you do not need a permit or anything to backcountry camp, but there are exceptions. The closest forrest to Madison is the Chequamegon-Nicolet. Just google it, them figure out where exactly you want to go. As a side note, even if you do not need to get a permit I always stop at a ranger station to chat. I do a lot of camping, and the rangers are always very nice and helpful, I have never meet a "hall monitor" type. The reason I bring this up is bears might be waking up, and they will be hungry. The rangers should have an idea.
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Re: Backpacking / Backcountry Camping

Postby ilikebeans » Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:33 pm

Buckhorn State Park (about 1 hour 45 min drive from Madison) has a few backpack camping sites. It's not truly backcountry, but it might be the best you can do in the area, and there are many hiking trails worth exploring.

http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/LAND/par ... amping.htm

I haven't camped those sites, but did walk to one. It was maybe a mile from the camp roads. The sites are fairly isolated from one another, but there are portable toilets that a cluster of sites will share.

From this site:
Sites 8, 9, and 16 are available for winter camping on a 1st come / 1st served basis, when not on reservations. Except where noted below, all other sites are closed to camping, when not on reservations.

I believe those are backpacking sites. Regardless, I'd give them a call to make sure that information is current. Since it's a state park, be prepared to pay for an annual vehicle sticker or daily pass.

The park is quite beautiful, so I'd keep it as a candidate, even if you don't end up there this weekend.
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Re: Backpacking / Backcountry Camping

Postby Henry Vilas » Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:47 pm

joesmith wrote:The closest forrest to Madison is the Chequamegon-Nicolet.

National forest, yes. But there are many state forests that are closer.
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