Rest Lake, Wisconsin, USA

Also known as:  Manitowish Chain of Lakes

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

If you’re considering Rest 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 Rest Lake guide!

Rest Lake visitor and community guide

Located in Wisconsin’s Vilas County, Rest Lake is part of the Manitowish Waters Chain which includes 10 beautiful lakes: Manitowish Lake, Little Star Lake, Island Lake, Rest Lake, Clear Lake, Fawn Lake, Spider Lake, Stone Lake, Wild Rice Lake, and Alder Lake linked by navigable channels. Rest Lake is a natural lake with a dam that was constructed in 1887 for logging operations. The dam was rebuilt in 1926 when the Chippewa and Flambeau Improvement Company took ownership of it. Rest Lake has a winter drawdown of 5 feet from November to Spring break. This drawdown protects aquatic life and prevents spring flooding. The lake’s 808 acres of pristine blue water in Wisconsin’s Northwoods region are the perfect place to plan a vacation year round.

Rest Lake accommodates all types of boating with a mean depth of 18 feet and a maximum depth of 53 feet. Anglers reel in catches of walleye, muskie, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, northern pike, crappie, and bluegill. The Manitowish River runs through the lake and is a navigable connection to other lakes including Stone Lake, Spider Lake, and Island Lake. The Manitowish River is prime recreation water for canoeing, kayaking, rafting, and tubing.

For some off-water fun, the Rest Lake area provides an abundance of family-friendly activities. Take your kids to the Northwoods Children’s Museum to learn about topics such as science, history, art, and culture. Summer residence camps and summer day camps provide additional opportunities for children’s enjoyment. There is even the Frank Koller Memorial Library for those who fancy a relaxing vacation with scenic views and a captivating book. The North Lakeland Discovery Center is a non-profit environmental education center with wooded trails for hiking and biking during warm weather and cross country skiing and snowshoeing during winter months. These trails are also perfect for birding treks. The Center is for all ages and can be rented for weddings, reunions, or business retreats.

Rest Lake is home to the Powell Marsh Wildlife Area that has 4,300 acres of marshland, with a 1,800 acre no-entry in the middle of the marsh from September through December for wildlife refuge. The marsh is popular with hunters, birders, trappers and hikers. The lake also has two other parks near its location: Rest Lake Park and Frank B Koller Memorial Park. Both parks have picnic tables, grills, and a shallow entrance to the lake for boats. During the summer months you will find water ski shows at Rest Lake Park; Koller Memorial Park features Music in the Park Sunday Concert Series. Both parks are great places to spend time with family and friends.

A short drive will take you to some of the finest downhill ski facilities, snowmobile clubs, golf courses, horseback riding trails, and much more. The Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail has a total of five highway-based viewing guides featuring exceptional birding and wildlife watching sites. The trail has more than 80 waypoints for birding and wildlife watching. The Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest surrounds the Manitowish Waters Chain. The Forest offers a wide variety of year round recreational activities such as canoeing, hiking, birding, snowmobiling, biking and hunting.

Not to be missed are the Cranberry Marsh Tours in the fall. The event features self-guided fall color tours, a quaint arts & crafts show, cranberry samples, fresh cranberry sales, bake sales, live music, “Taste of Harvest” offered by some of the area’s local restaurants, cranberry cooking contest, pontoon cruises on the Manitowish Waters chain, and more!

Regardless of which season you plan your visit, Rest Lake will cater to your wishes. There are plenty of vacation rentals and real estate properties for sale to meet your needs. Come for a visit; you may decide to stay for a lifetime.

Custom Rest Lake house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

Things to do at Rest Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Golf
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Forest
  • Museum

Fish species found at Rest Lake

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

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Rest Lake

The Rest 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.

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Rest Lake photo gallery

New photos coming soon!

Rest Lake statistics & helpful links


Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Chippewa Flambeau Improvement Company

Surface Area: 808 acres

Shoreline Length: 7 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,601 feet

Average Depth: 18 feet

Maximum Depth: 53 feet

Water Volume: 14,258 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1887

Lake Area-Population: 700

Drainage Area: 243 sq. miles

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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