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4 places to get away from it all in Hodag Country

A trip to Wisconsin’s Northwoods means a chance to take a break, breathe in the fresh air and escape the hustle and bustle. Whenever you decide to visit the Rhinelander Area again, there are plenty of off-the-beaten path parks, lakes and trails to explore with plenty of room to move.

Pelican Rapids and Shepard Park

Located at the confluence of the Wisconsin and Pelican rivers, Pelican Rapids on Boyce Drive (just south of Kemp Street on the other side of the Wisconsin River) offers a boat landing and small walkway open to anglers and nature enthusiasts. Across Boyce Street, visitors will find Shepard Park—named after Eugene Shepard, the lumberman who “discovered” the Hodag in the 1890s—along the Pelican River. This small park is home to Shepard Dog Park and a walking path along the river.

Holmboe Nature Preserve

Located just across the Pelican River from Shepard Park, this hidden gem offers one of the most scenic strolls in Rhinelander. Also known as the Holmboe Conifer Forest, this 32-acre property only has about a mile of trail winding through it, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a prettier walk than this one, which takes visitors on a stroll through old-growth forest to the banks of the Pelican River. To get there, park in the back lot of Taylor Park Health Care and Rehabilitation and follow the unmarked trail to the preserve.

See more hiking trails.

Lake Thompson

This 400-acre lake located just east of Rhinelander is a long, relatively narrow lake with lots of nooks and crannies that are ripe for exploration for boaters, paddlers and anglers. Fishing fans will find lots of panfish here, as well as musky, northern pike and walleye. There are several lodging properties on the shores of Lake Thompson, including West Bay Camping Resort and Holiday Acres, and the Long Lake Nature Trail is a scenic nearby attraction. A public boat launch is available on the north side of the lake on North Shore Drive.

Find more information on fishing and paddling in Hodag Country.

Little Rice ATV/UTV Trail

Find some four-wheeled fun on the Little Rice ATV/UTV Trail west of Rhinelander. This Oneida County trail system consists of 21 miles of scenic woods trails and 15 miles of road routes located in the Lynne/Little Rice block of the Oneida County Forest. The Little Rice ATV Trail is a great place for group or family rides, as there are plenty of places to stop along the way. Oneida County’s ATV/UTV trails are open from May to early December, depending on conditions.

Find more information on ATVing/UTVing in the Rhinelander Area here.

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