By Amy Bayer
Taylor County is a nature lover’s dream. The area is heavily forested, with rushing rivers and gentle streams, dozens of lakes, ponds and wetlands, and a bounty of wildlife.
Originally a logging destination, Taylor County has an abundance of trails converted from old logging routes and railroad tracks, and even includes the longest continuous segment of the biggest trail of them all: the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.
Visit Taylor County to experience these seven scenic natural wonders.
Locally known as the Miller Dam Lake, this 2,714-acre flowage is located in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and is surrounded by a thick hardwood forest with plenty of bicycle, hiking, snowmobile, and ATV trail access for you to explore. The flowage is connected to the Yellow River via the Miller Dam and is considered some of the best fishing in the area with several options for fishing from the shore as well as on the water.
Part of a partnership with Price County, this 26.2-mile rail trail connects Prentice to Medford. While named after the majestic white pines that line the northern section, the trail's southern section traverses past picture-perfect dairy farms.
The trailhead in Medford connects to both the popular Riverwalk along the Black River and a section of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. With so many trail choices along scenic rivers and rolling landscapes, it will be difficult to decide which direction to go.
Take a drive on Wisconsin’s very first designated rustic road, located in northeastern Taylor County. Winding around kettle lakes, over drumlins and eskers, Rustic Road No. 1 traverses five miles of spectacular forested landscapes.
Established in 1973, the Rustic Roads program was created to help preserve what remains of Wisconsin’s scenic country roads. While the road itself may not be natural, the views certainly are! To even receive this designation a road should include outstanding natural features along its borders, so just imagine the beautiful vistas waiting for you on the very first road honored with this designation.
Diamond Lake has a small county park facility on the west side with approximately 200 yards of shoreline with a boat launch, while the rest of the lake is wild and protected as a state natural area.
The 48-acre lake offers excellent fishing, paddle sports and a swimming beach – not to mention wildlife is abundant along the water’s edge since it is mostly undeveloped. From loons to deer, it is not uncommon to encounter fauna in Taylor County and its parks.
Located west of Westboro, the lake and facilities of the Mondeaux Dam Recreation Area were constructed in the 1930s to restore the area after the logging boon cleared this section of the county.
Now a part of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, there are multiple campgrounds, a 146-acre lake, several trails and a genuine artesian well. Towering trees have replaced the cleared land, and it is a great destination for exploring nature, bird watching and getting out on the water for fishing, swimming and boating.
Southeast of Rib Lake, this 20-acre park contains one of Wisconsin's last stands of majestic old growth timber, including yellow birch, hemlock, red oak and towering white pine. There is an interpretive three-quarter-mile trail that winds through the county-owned forest with wide-diameter trees more than two centuries old. Take a walk through history as you get a close-up look at a forest that was around long before Wisconsin became a state.
Located north of Gilman, the Pershing Wildlife Area is approximately 7,900 acres featuring nine ponds along with marsh and grassland habitats. Divided into northern and southern units, this wildlife area is maintained as a home for grouse and waterfowl and offers incredible bird watching opportunities.
The Fisher River runs through the area and supports several rare, threatened and endangered species, also offering opportunities for canoeing.
Check out these seven statewide natural wonders, and keep an eye on TravelWisconsin.com as we roll out more articles on scenic wonders by county.