Lake Arbutus, Wisconsin, USA

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

If you’re considering Lake Arbutus 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 Lake Arbutus guide!

Lake Arbutus visitor and community guide

Nestled in the northwest corner of the Black River State Forest near scenic Hatfield, Wisconsin, 839-acre Lake Arbutus offers visitors and residents excellent opportunities for fishing and recreation. Located in both Clark and Jackson counties, the lake spans the border between the Mississippi-Chippewa Rivers region and the Central Sands Prairie region. Lake Arbutus offers year-found activities such as water skiing, boating, canoeing, swimming, horseback riding, hiking, cross country skiing, and snowmobiling will make your stay on the lake highly enjoyable.

With over nine miles of shoreline and two county parks, Lake Arbutus is a fantastic place to spend a day or a week. Located on the shores of the lake, both parks offer camping, showers, picnic and play areas, covered shelters, boat launches, swimming beaches and hiking trails. For anglers, the lake boasts great fishing. Northern pike, musky, crappie, walleye, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and bluegill all make their home in the lake. Kayak and boat rentals are available for those who would like to explore the water.

On the northwest shore of Lake Arbutus, Russell Memorial Park and Campground offers lake access for boaters, spacious campsites, RV hookups, beaches, swimming areas, showers, picnic areas and play areas for children. For hikers and bikers, Russell Park is located near the Levis Mound Recreational Area, known for its excellent mountain bike and scenic hiking trails.

Lake Arbutus was created by an impoundment on the Black River, one of the top white water kayaking rivers in the state. On the third Saturday of every month from April to September, area flood gates open giving white water enthusiasts the time of their life. Paddling the rapids in the 12.5 mile stretch from the town of Neillisville to tranquil Lake Arbutus is a popular adventure with kayakers. The Black River begins at the outlet of Black Lake in Taylor County and flows nearly 200 miles before reaching the Mississippi River. Two dams impound water on the Black River. The Hatfield Dam and a second impoundment at Black River Falls are used for hydroelectric power.

For vacation rentals and real estate, a number of fishing and hunting lodges, resorts, private homes, cottages, bed and breakfasts, cabins and motels can be found on and near Lake Arbutus. Whether you’re looking for a rustic woodland retreat or a lakefront lodge with all the amenities, you’ll find it at Lake Arbutus.

Additional outdoor recreation can be found at the Black River State Forest, encompassing approximately 68,000 acres of public land. Located east of Lake Arbutus, the Forest offers many recreational opportunities, including hunting, hiking, skiing and ATV riding. The forest also includes campgrounds, an indoor group camp, and opportunities for backpack camping. The East Fork Campground is open in the spring after the snow melts through the end of the deer gun season in November. This campground is located at the north end of the Forest, southeast of Hatfield. Half of its campsites are situated along the banks of the East Fork of the Black River.

Winter sports enthusiasts will find premium skiing conditions during the winter months. Opportunities for downhill skiing, tubing, snowboarding and slopes for all ages and abilities can be found near Lake Arbutus.

The wooded land surrounding Arbutus Lake also has an abundant wildlife population which attracts many sportsmen to the area. Whitetail deer, turkey, and black bear along with ducks, geese, and ruffled grouse provide ample opportunity for hunters.

Those looking for a little more hustle and bustle will find Lake Arbutus conveniently located within a few hours drive of several major cities: Madison, WI, 145 miles; Eau Claire, WI, 57 miles; Minneapolis, MN; 155 miles; Chicago, IL, 267 miles; Cedar Rapids, IA, 213 miles; Milwaukee, WI, 200 miles; La Crosse, WI, 55 miles; Black River Falls, WI, 14 miles; Dubuque, IA, 160 miles and Green Bay, WI, 160 miles.

Located in the heart of Wisconsin and nestled in some of the most beautiful forested land in the state, Lake Arbutus is a great place for a weekend vacation spot, year round get-away or for many, a place to call home. Whether you like to fish, hike, bike, kayak or hunt, Lake Arbutus and the surrounding communities have something to offer everyone.

Custom Lake Arbutus house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

Things to do at Lake Arbutus

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Forest

Fish species found at Lake Arbutus

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

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Lake Arbutus

The Lake Arbutus 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.

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Lake Arbutus photo gallery

New photos coming soon!

Lake Arbutus statistics & helpful links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: North American Hydro

Surface Area: 839 acres

Shoreline Length: 12 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 883 feet

Average Depth: 16 feet

Maximum Depth: 50 feet

Water Volume: 13,397 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1910

Drainage Area: 1,215 sq. miles

Trophic State: Meso-eutrophic

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