Lake McKinley, Wisconsin, USA

Also known as:  McKinley Lake

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Lake McKinley — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

Topics we cover in this article:

Looking for Lake McKinley cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.

All About Lake McKinley

Located in a region that has been called the “Roads to Relaxation”, McKinley Lake in Washburn County, Wisconsin offers visitors a quiet respite to relax and enjoy the beauty of the Wisconsin Northwoods. Called interchangeably Lake McKinley and McKinley Lake, mostly it is just called beautiful.

With 105 acres of sparkling clear water and over 2 miles of shoreline, a few lakefront homes and cabins are visible but that does not deter the occasional bear or moose from rambling along the shore for a drink or quick swim. Whether fishing from the shore, in a boat, or on top of the ice, anglers are always pleased with their catch of the day at Lake McKinley that may include largemouth bass, northern pike, bluegill, panfish and an occasional walleye. Swimming, beaches, boating, kayaking, canoeing, and waterskiing are all enjoyed here during the warm weather of spring and summer. But during the cold snowy months, visitors enjoy cross country skiing and snowshoeing while snowmobile trails cross right over the lake. Of course, if pure rest and relaxation are your goal, snuggling up to a warm fire with a mug of hot chocolate as you simply gaze at the winter wonderland is always acceptable.

Known as the “Crossroads of the North” for its proximity to a junction of major highways, the town of Spooner is just a short drive from Lake McKinley. Here you will find needed supplies for your stay, local restaurants that provide a touch of local color to their specialty dishes, guide services, and equipment rentals. Each summer, residents and visitors look forward to the annual Pro Rodeo that comes to town to entertain and thrill the audience with bronco riding, bull riding, roping, steer wrestling, barrel racing and the always entertaining rodeo clowns. While in town, take time to visit and see the operations of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Spooner Fish Hatchery which is the largest hatchery in the state and produces more muskie fingerlings than any other place in the world.

Besides McKinley Lake, Washburn County has over 960 lakes that provide 31,498 acres of water surface and 866 miles of shoreline to delight all outdoor enthusiasts. In addition, the Namekagon River, part of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, runs through the county providing a canoeist’s paradise. Mostly undeveloped, the Namekagon River offers canoeists a view of Wisconsin’s abundant wildlife along the undisturbed shores with multiple primitive campsites stretching along the river’s shoreline to provide overnight camping for those adventurers who want to enjoy a longer trek through the Northwoods haven.

Lake McKinley and Washburn County have gained a reputation as a recreational and retirement location as many past visitors have purchased real estate here to have as a second home for vacationing and eventual retirement. Not quite ready to make the big purchase, then vacation rentals are plentiful throughout the county that include lake front cabins, vacation homes, lodges, resorts, conference centers, bed and breakfast inns, motels, RV parks and campgrounds. With fishing, boating, canoeing, kayaking, biking, hiking, picnicking, horseback riding, golfing, hunting, wildlife viewing, bird watching, ATVs, snowmobiling, cross country skiing, snow shoeing, and dog sledding all easily available depending on which season you visit, you will experience all the wonder of the Northwoods’ outdoors.

Whether your visit is for a family vacation, fishing expedition, romantic get away, or just a quiet retreat, the Northwoods destination of Lake McKinley will meet all of those requirements. And with the reputation as the “Roads to Relaxation”, Washburn County and the great Northwoods are sure to satisfy and delight your weary spirit.

Things to Do at Lake McKinley

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

Fish Species Found at Lake McKinley

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye

Find Places to Stay at Lake McKinley

If you’re considering a Lake McKinley lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Lake McKinley Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Lake McKinley lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

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.

Lake McKinley Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 105 acres

Shoreline Length: 2 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,243 feet

Average Depth: 12 feet

Maximum Depth: 23 feet

Water Volume: 1,250 acre-feet

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

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On Lake Time Custom Coffee Mug – 11oz or 15oz


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