Sawyer County Attractions
An invitation to get in touch with nature's wonders comes to you from Sawyer County, with its vast woodlands and pristine waters. The tranquil beauty and the genuine hospitality touch everyone who visits Sawyer County!
Sawyer County has a long and prosperous history of lumberjacks and logging, a legacy still alive to today as Hayward is the annual host to the World Lumberjack Championships. Outdoor athletes come from around the world to challenge each other in this old world competition. The muskie fishing in the lakes of Sawyer County is also world famous. Home to the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame, 5 world record muskies have come from Hayward Lakes, including the All-Tackle World Record Muskie weighing in at 69 pounds and 11 ounces. The lakes of Sawyer County inspire community events such as the Kids-Fish-O-Rama and Fishing has no Boundaries. Visitors can find great swimming and boating on the Chippewa River, Namekagon River, and the Flambeau River. Every year winter enthusiasts flock to Sawyer County to breathe in the clean crisp winter air and see the lush forests covered in a blanket of snow. Winter is also filled with unending events and activities. Snowmobiles race across the 600 miles of groomed trails during the Winterfest races, while cross-country skiers have 200 miles of trails just for themselves.
Museums & Historical Sites
Sawyer County Historical Society & Museum
P.O. Box 384, Hayward
There is something for everyone at the Sawyer County Historical Museum. The museum guides you through the history and local lore of the Hayward Lakes area and the surrounding communities. Exhibits include logging and lumberjacks, the pioneers and their homesteads, schools, hunting, fishing, and the resort industry. New exhibits are added each year, so the museum is continuously growing. A variety of books and brochures of the history of the area, as well as Victorian and handcrafted items are on sale in the museum gift shop.
The Hideout, Al Capone's Northwoods Retreat & Museum of the Roaring 20's
12101 W. Highway CC, Couderay
Step back into Chicago Gangland history and tour Al Capone's northwoods retreat. Closed and tightly guarded for years by the gangland guns, this scenic 500-acre retreat reveals the secrets of Chicago's most notorious gangster. When taking the guided tour you will see Capone's main house with its massive hand cut stone fireplace, the unique spiral staircases custom made in Chicago, and many of the original furnishings. Also, along the tour, see the Gun Tower, where guards kept watch while the "Boss" was home, the Bunk House, and the Jail Cell. The complex's newest addition is the Museum of the Roaring 20's with exhibits including a recreation of the 1929 St. Valentine's Day Massacre, Eliot Ness and the Untouchables, and much more. Open May through December. Call for tour and special event schedules.
Parks & Nature Centers
Flambeau River State Forest
County W, Winter
The two forks of the Flambeau River create a center point for the 90,000 acres of wilderness that make up the Flambeau River State Park. The fork of the river provides visitors with more than 75 miles of natural beauty combined with the excitement of Wisconsin's whitewater rapids. The park makes a great wilderness getaway and features rustic camping, backpack camping, 60 campsites, shoreline and marked beach areas for swimming. In addition, Flambeau River State Park offers fantastic canoeing and boating. Nature adventurists will enjoy the 1.6 mile nature trail, 33 miles of hiking trails, 114 miles of off road bicycle trails, 55 miles of snowmobile trails and 22 miles of cross-country skiing.
Lake Chippewa Flowage
Wisconsin's largest wilderness lake was created more than 75 years ago when the gates of the Winter Dam were closed, thus creating the Lake Chippewa Flowage. Fed by the waters of nine natural rivers, and encompassing eleven natural lakes, the flowage contains 17,000 acres of water, 140 islands and over 200 miles of undeveloped shoreline. It is home to a wide diversity of animals and fish. Take a relaxing boat ride and share the scenery with the loons, herons, bald eagles, deer and bears, not mention the plenitude of walleye, crappies, large and small mouth bass, jumbo perch and the panfish. Winter enthusiasts will enjoy taking joyrides along the 500 miles of groomed snowmobile trails that criss-cross the Chippewa Flowage.
Highway 77, northeast of Hayward
Enjoy the peacefulness of Sawyer County's Quiet Lakes…an unspoiled wilderness protected from the rush of urban life. A 10 mile-an-hour boating law that also prohibits water-skiing protects the peacefulness of the three lakes that make up this area. Surrounded by forests, a leisurely boat ride will allow you to watch as the wildlife comes down to the lake to drink or hunt. The fishing of the Quiet Lakes is unparalleled! In fact, half a century of fishing records show that the chance of catching muskie on these Class A muskie waters is higher than anywhere else. The Quiet Lakes offer you a unique vacation experience plus all the comforts of home with more than 15 lodges and resorts in the area. Call the Hayward Lakes Chamber of Commerce for lodging information at 1-800-724-2992.
Highway 77, Northeast of Hayward
Nestled among the majestic forests of Sawyer County lies the Spider Lake Chain of Lakes with more than 65 miles of shoreline and lake depths of 68 feet. The chain of lakes with its many picnic islands can be explored by canoe, sailboat, or motor boat…while the beautiful forest that surrounds the Chain of Lakes provide miles of hiking trails…creating a nature lover' paradise.
CAMBA Off Road Bike Trail System
Chaquamegon Area Mountain Bike Association
The CAMBA trail lies in and around Chequamegon National Forest, Bayfield and Sawyer County Forests - nearly one million acres of strikingly beautiful wilderness for bikers to appreciate and enjoy. The CAMBA offers mapped routes of its 300 mile long trail, that winds through this vast, peaceful and unique area that is accessible for everyone. The entire system is heavily wooded and the chance to view local wildlife is great. It's not unusual to catch a sight of deer, bears, porcupines, eagles, and many other forest animals. Most of the trails in the system are rideable from May through November. Call for current trail conditions.
Special Things to Do
Fall Musky Tournament
Hayward area lakes, Sawyer
All anglers enjoy this annual fishing catch and release tournament on 18 area lakes. Participants receive $20,000 in prizes and all proceeds go for stocking and fish projects. Call for next fall's tournament dates.
Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival
Hayward & Cable
Welcome to one of the nation's favorite off road biking adventures…the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival. Since its inception, over 25,000 cycling enthusiasts have come to the Northwoods of Wisconsin to participate in this festival, traveling along the trails that take you through the Chequamegon National Forest. Festival events include the race, bicycle parades and a bicycle rodeo. Call for next fall's festival dates.
World Lumberjack Championship
Celebrate old world customs with lumberjacks from around the world at the Hayward annual Lumberjack World Championships. All classic lumberjack events are part of the competitions including the springboard chop, logrolling, speed climbs and Jack and Jill contests. Check our Calendar of Events for next year's dates.
Points of Interest
Wilderness Walk Zoo & Recreation Center
Highway 27, Hayward
Bring the whole family to walk the wilderness. Experience the beauty of northwoods wildlife as you tour 35 acres of woodlands and get a chance to feed deer and baby animals, see wild animals in a natural habitat, visit the farmyard and much more. Naturalist on staff to give guided tours. Open seven days a week, May though Labor Day, 10am to 5:30pm. Group rates available.
National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame
Highway 27 South, Hayward
Overlooking the Hayward area lakes, a 5 story high Musky houses the fishing hall of fame and is the gateway to Northern Wisconsin recreation. See photos and memorabilia of famous record setting anglers, including photos of the 5 record breaking muskies from Hayward waters. Call for seasonal hours.