Friday, December 28, 2018

Where to go winter camping in Wisconsin

You know what season it is? Winter camping season. 

With proper planning and the right gear, you too can stay toasty warm while enjoying our state parks, forests, and recreation areas during the cold months. Have you explored our state's great outdoors once the snow falls? The sheer quiet and desolation of these snowcapped places will mesmerize you. The first time I ever went winter camping was up in the remote Menominee River State Recreation Area on the northern border of Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. I backpacked a few miles out on snowshoes to a site perched atop Pemene Falls on the Menominee River where I could literally see the UP outside my tent's vestibule. At nightfall, I saw a gazillion stars and heard only the noises of crashing waterfalls below and distant wolves howling. I didn't see a single soul for days. Sure, it got down to -18 degrees at around 2:00 AM but gosh it was spectacular.

Experiencing Wisconsin's wilderness during the winter months is like stepping into a giant snowglobe and so worth it. It's definitely something every outdoor enthusiast should try at least once. With the right planning and equipment, the rewards are surprisingly charming. Get yourself a down sleeping bag that's rated close to or at 0 degrees, a solid three-season (or four) tent, insulated winter hiking gear, and get out there. Have an RV or camper? Some state park properties like Kohler-Andrae have electric sites open year-round. It's important to note too that camping rates also change during the off-season and are usually much lower. See a chart of 2018-2019 winter camping rates here.

Here's the current list of places across the state you can winter camp at:
As always, make sure to call the park ahead of time to check conditions and confirm their winter camping sites are open. Once we begin seeing substantial snowfall and actual accumulation, I can't wait to get out and winter camp. Right now I'm hoping to plan a trip back to Tower Hill and Perrot, and maybe try out Yellowstone Lake. Until then, I'll keep dreaming of a soon-coming winter wonderland.


Updated 12/28/2018


Unknown said...

Newport State Park in northern Door County is a wilderness park that has only primitive, hike in sites year round. It is also Wisconsin's only International Dark Sky Park. Worth the drive!

Robby DeGraff said...

Yes! It's an amazing park!