Boulder Lake, Wisconsin, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Wisconsin - Lake Superior Northwoods Region -

Boulder Lake, in Wisconsin’s Lake Superior Northwoods Region, is everything nature lovers could want. Only an hour-and-a-half from either Green Bay or Wausau, Boulder Lake is one of the jewels crowning the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. The million-and-a-half-acre combined national forests enclose an area of unique lakes, bogs, swamps, and hardwood and softwood forests which allow city dwellers to taste the call of the wild close to civilization. Two private commercial resorts on the lake offer camping, rustic cabins and lakefront vacations to generations of visitors. Other visitors reserve camping space at the National Forest Service’s Boulder Lake Campground months in advance. The 362-acre spring-fed lake draws visitors like a magnet.

The area within the two national forests consists of what was once logged-over lands that failed to provide a living to immigrant farmers. After being lost to unpaid taxes, the area was termed ‘land nobody wanted’. Through the efforts of the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps, much of the area was replanted in pines. Bridges, dams, picnic shelters and small lakeside parks were built, and the Federal government actively began to promote the lands as ideal for outdoor recreation. It didn’t take long for Boulder Lake, near the southern border of the Nicolet National Forest, to become a favorite getaway. In response to its popularity, the Forest Service has steadily improved one of its most popular campgrounds. Today, reservations are a must as campsite space is scheduled months in advance. Two fire towers built by the CCC remain near Boulder Lake and can be visited.

Boulder Lake is the main attraction of Boulder Lake Campground. A sandy beach area offers swimming and sun bathing space, while a boat launch allows private boats to access the waters. Power boating and water skiing are possible but pontoon boats, canoes and rowboats are likely just as common. The Campground doesn’t rent boats, but one of the private resorts on the east shore has pontoons and canoes for hire. Canoes and kayaks may be the most popular craft on the water, but pontoons are the boat of choice for the relatively few homeowners with property along the shore.

Only 11 feet deep at its deepest, spring-fed Boulder Lake is ideal for fishing, with largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, blue gill, panfish, walleye and northern pike all caught. In winter the boat ramp parking area stays open to provide parking for the many ice fishermen who enjoy their sport year round. The campground officially closes in September, but the roads remain open and plowed for the benefit of cross-country skiers who enjoy the campground and the trails radiating from it. The Boulder Lake Trail is available for walkers and mountain bikes; the beginning of the trail starts out on a boardwalk across a bog area where unusual bog plants and mosses display a living carpet under the trees. The two-mile trail is rated easy to intermediate and is suitable for most reasonably fit individuals, including children. Also accessible from the campground is the Nicolet Roche Mountain Bike Trail, a difficult trail in spots that is sure to challenge the most experienced mountain bike fan.

Campers have the advantage of electricity at their sites, the only Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest campground so provisioned. Picnic tables, grills, drinking water outlets, an RV dump, flush toilets and showers round out the amenities at the campground. Fall is a favorite time to visit Boulder Lake when the mixed hardwoods around the lake reflect their riotous colors in the still waters. Although the campground closes in winter, a variety of lodgings nearby cater to outdoor sports enthusiasts year round. To the east, in the tiny hamlet of Mountain, the Nicolet State Trail ushers snowmobilers into the Oconto portion of the many miles of snowmobile trails in northern Wisconsin. The trail is open for horseback riding and hiking, sharing the path with the many cross-country skiers who enjoy its snowy solitude. A few miles to the west of Boulder Lake, the Wolf River provides plenty of opportunities for whitewater rafting. A number of outfitters offer rafting adventures, while a variety of lodgings and resorts provide for more private overnight stays.

The nearest town is Langlade, a village with a proud heritage of the immigrant farmers who managed to tame the harsh environment and stayed for generations. Langlade County calls itself “The county of trails” and has trails, outdoor recreation, beautiful scenery and freshwater fishing to please every member of the family. The area has many guest cabins and rentals to suite any taste in vacation luxury. Several bed & breakfasts, quaint inns and restaurants and cafes are open to fill up the hungriest crew in nearly any price range. Hundreds of lakes, streams and ponds offer something for every Lakelubber, making this one of the best unsung destinations for the northern Wisconsin vacationer.

The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest has several natural areas that focus on such natural features as swamps, nature’s water-cleaning and filtering system. One of the most interesting is the Waupee Lake Swamp State Natural Area to the east of Boulder Lake. Although Waupee Lake itself is tiny, a vast area of protected swamp holds many unusual bog plants, birds and amphibians. To the south of Boulder Lake, the South Branch Beech Grove State Natural Area offers an entirely different kind of natural environment, with many old-growth trees towering above much smaller newer additions. The canopy is dense and the forest floor usually quite dark, carpeted with shade-loving plants – a welcome cool oasis on a hot summer’s day.

Most of the natural areas are open to any visitor with a Forest Service pass, although some areas are occasionally closed to protect nesting wildlife or plants. Most have a variety of casual trails into the interior, but certain fragile areas require visitors to stay within marked boundaries. Here, city visitors can experience something similar to what the Native American travelers and the first European fur trappers and loggers saw when they arrived. It’s an easy place to forget that bustling Green Bay is less than two hours away. So, come to Boulder Lake and the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Restore your soul and get in touch with your inner adventurer. It’s the kind of vacation that refreshes for months to come.

Things to do at Boulder Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Whitewater Rafting
  • Water Skiing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Forest

Fish species found at Boulder Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Walleye

Boulder Lake Photo Gallery

Boulder Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 370 acres

Shoreline Length: 3 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,107 feet

Average Depth: 7 feet

Maximum Depth: 11 feet

Water Volume: 2,516 acre-feet

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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