Lake McKinley, Wisconsin, USA

Also known as:  McKinley Lake

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

If you’re considering Lake McKinley 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 McKinley guide!

Lake McKinley visitor and community guide

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.

Custom Lake McKinley house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

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

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Lake McKinley

The Lake McKinley 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 McKinley photo gallery

New photos coming soon!

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

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