Anvil Lake, Wisconsin, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Anvil Lake.

If you’re considering Anvil Lake vacation rentals, we’ve made it super easy to explore accommodations and nearby hotels using the interactive map below. Simply click on a listing to compare similar properties, best rates and availability for your dates. Or keep scrolling to read our Anvil Lake guide!

Anvil Lake visitor and community guide

Known as the “Jewel of the Northwoods”, Anvil Lake in Vilas County, Wisconsin offers four seasons of outdoor fun and adventure. Situated in the beautiful Nicolet National Forest with clear clean water and unspoiled shoreline, this lake will quickly become your favorite vacation destination.

Anvil Lake was formed by glaciers moving across the land over 12,000 years ago. The earliest area inhabitants arrived about 4,000 years ago and were considered to be hunters and gatherers that archeologists labeled Northern Highlands or Middle Woodlands peoples. More currently, 1634 is the first documented visit by a European, Jean Nicolet, whose mission was to act as a peacemaker between the Winnebago tribe and the Ottawa. The early French realized the value of the area with an abundant fur trade with these Native Americans who traded furs to the French for guns, gunpowder, shot, and trinkets. Around the early 1900’s, lumber became the booming business of the area and the first official lake residents were 15-20 lumbermen and their families who lived on the southwest side of the lake near the sawmills. Lumber was floated across the lake to the northern shore to be loaded aboard a train and shipped to other parts of the country. After the valuable forestland had been depleted, railroad owners planned to sell the land to populate the area in order to keep the demand for railroad passenger and freight use. The 1930’s saw the arrival of the first tourists to the area on pontoon planes to enjoy an exciting nature excursion. Over the years, popularity grew as more people purchased real estate for vacation homes and permanent residences. Resorts, lodges and cabins were built enticing more vacationers to the area and some kept the rustic back to nature aspect as electricity did not reach around the entire lake until 1989. Today, visitors and residents alike appreciate this colorful history as it has established Anvil Lake as a top vacation area and scenic lake front community.

In the warm months of spring and summer, Anvil Lake offers a sandy beach for relaxing and swimming along with boating, waterskiing, jet skiing, kayaking, canoeing, and sailing. Many hiking and biking trails wind around the lake and through the forest. In the snowy frozen months, the action does not stop. The trails are used for snowshoeing, cross country skiing and snowmobiles. No matter which month of the year it is, fishing is always great whether you choose to fish on the water or the ice. Walleye, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, rock bass, bluegill, perch, crappie, pumpkinseed and northern pike are present in Anvil Lake and are waiting to test anglers’ skill.

The closest city to Anvil Lake is Eagle River that proudly boasts to be the “Snowmobile Capital of the World” and has been consistently ranked by Snowgoer Magazine as “the best overall snowmobiling vacation destination.” Numerous snowmobile clubs combine effort to groom, mark, and maintain a 500 mile snowmobile trail network that winds through the snow covered forest and across frozen lakes that is known as “The Eagle River 500.” Eagle River is also widely known for its annual ice palace which is built by volunteers each winter with over 700 “man hours” from 12-inch-thick ice blocks cut from a local lake, hauled downtown and then constructed into 20-foot high frozen structures that change yearly. Snowmobiling may be a popular winter sport, but the area is also home to cross country skiing, Nordic trails, snowshoeing, downhill skiing, and dog sledding.

Just like Anvil Lake, Eagle River is enjoyed year round. Once the snow is melted, residents and tourists venture out to enjoy the scenery as the white has turned to green in budding trees. Throughout the area, wildlife watchers will enjoy the forest’s abundant wildlife sniffing for food after a long dormancy or hibernation including black bears, deer, bald eagles, loons, grouse, and waterfowl. Birdwatchers have documented over 320 species of birds here. For the adventurous, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding are available on the once snow covered trails. With many lakes in the vicinity, boating, swimming, and on water activities begin again with each warming day.

For your time at Anvil Lake and Eagle River, numerous vacation rentals are available. Camping is a great way to fully enjoy this natural paradise and many campgrounds are available from lakefront, in the lush forest, or along one the many trails, streams or the river itself. Bed and Breakfast inns with comfortable rooms and great hosts combine for a peaceful and relaxing stay. With tranquil views and inviting amenities such as Jacuzzis, woodburning fireplaces and a variety of floor plans, resorts, lodges, vacation homes and condominiums are always a great choice for extended stays.

From quiet peaceful sports like snowshoeing and cross country skiing in a pristine snowy setting to the fast paced swooshing of snowmobiling to the warm beauty of a forest waking up from its winter sleep, to year round fishing in Anvil Lake and Eagle River, this setting is a top four-season destination. Many who visit each year decide to relocate here as Eagle River has also been voted multiple times as a top 100 place to retire by Where to Retire Magazine. Come for a visit and see for yourself why so many people choose Anvil Lake and Eagle River as their number one vacation choice.

Custom Anvil Lake house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

Things to do at Anvil Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Dog Sledding
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Forest

Fish species found at Anvil Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Anvil Lake

The Anvil Lake map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Anvil Lake photo gallery

New photos coming soon!

Anvil Lake statistics & helpful links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 398 acres

Shoreline Length: 5 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,739 feet

Average Depth: 19 feet

Maximum Depth: 32 feet

Water Volume: 7,381 acre-feet

Trophic State: Eutrophic

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