Burnett County Attractions
Located in Wisconsin's great northwestern territory, Burnett County features the unparalled beauty of the wilderness with spectacular scenery, and offers opportunities for outdoor activities at their best!
Most of Burnett County was once buried under Glacial Lake Grantsburg which left over 500 lakes and dozens of creeks, rivers and brooks; more than 30,000 acres of water teeming with northern, muskies, panfish, trout, catfish and sturgeon. Along the St. Croix River Valley there is an abundance of fish, game, waterfowl, wild rice, deer, bear, beaver, otter and dense red and white pine forests-an area that attracted the Sioux first area settlers.
About 125 of the county's lakes have public access. Others are served by private resorts. Boat, canoe and pontoon rentals and sales, bait and tackle shops and expert fishing guides are available throughout the county. Whether you enjoy fishing, boating, water skiing, swimming or just watching the sunset over the water, Burnett County's crystal waters offer it all.
The St. Croix River, which forms Burnett County's western boundary with Minnesota, and its major tributary, the Namekagon, form the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, one of the most beautiful and least developed river systems in the Upper Midwest offering more than 150 miles of wild and scenic river canoeing and kayaking. Burnett County canoe outfitters and shuttle services provide convenient access, information and support for unexcelled wilderness canoeing adventures.
At Forts Folle Avoine Historical Park, visitors to Burnett County can adventure back in time 200 years, to the time when two competing trading companies set-up fur-trading operations here on the banks of the St. Croix.
In Burnett County, outdoor and wildlife enthusiasts will find more than 150,000 acres of densely forested public lands; hundreds of miles of groomed trails for bicycling, hiking, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and horseback riding and, 50,000 acres of restored wetlands, bogs and prairie. Home to more than 250 species of birds including rare and endangered trumpeter swans, great blue herons, ospreys, sandhill cranes, eagles, grouse, prairie chickens, ducks and geese, deer, bear, fur-bearing and prairie mammals and reptiles, Burnett County's forests, waters and wetlands offer wildlife adventures unlimited; fishing, ice-fishing, wildlife observation, birding, plant collecting, berry, nut and seed gathering and, big and small game hunting.
There are seven golf courses open to the public in Burnett County, including one that is rated among the ten best in Wisconsin; everything from par 3 to par 72, nine-hole and 18-hole courses, driving ranges and miniature golf, too. Here, shoppers will find antique, craft and specialty shops, flea markets, garage sales and craft shows.
For night-time, or anytime diversion, gaming fans will find entertainment and adventure at the casino and bingo centers operated by the Croix Chippewa in Danbury, Hertel and Sand Lake.
In August, the Chippewa celebrate their cultural heritage at the annual Wild Rice Pow-Wow. This event, open to the public, draws hundreds of dancers and singers from all over the midwest and Canada.
Dairy farming is the mainstay of Burnett County agriculture, boasting a world cheesemaking champion at the Burnett Dairy Cooperative in Alpha. World-class cheeses and exquisite fresh country produce are available throughout the county at roadside stands and "pick-your-own" farms, two county fairs and area harvest festivals.
Visitors to Burnett County can choose lodging accommodations from wilderness campsites to luxurious condos, including c
ampgrounds, waterfront resorts, log cottages, RV parks and brand new motels..Burnett County is ideal get-away to enjoy nature and the outdoors at any time of the year!
Museums and Historical Sites
Forts Folle Avoine Historical Park
Cty. Rd. U, Webster
Rendezvous with voyageurs and the Ojibwa at this historic, re-created fur-trading post. Situated on the banks of the Yellow River, the park was the site of two competing trading posts, both used in the winters of 1802 and 1803. Interpretive guides dressed in native and European clothing of the era lead visitors back 200 years, as they demonstrate the everyday activities and skills of Native Americans and early pioneers. The park also features a museum, theater, and a gift shop.
Parks and Nature Centers
Glacial Lake Complex
Burnett County has five wildlife areas managed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. They include Crex Meadows near Grantsburg, Amsterdam Sloughs near Siren, Fish Lake Wildlife Area near Trade River, Danbury Wildlife Area, and the Namekagon Barrens in the northeast corner of the county. Collectively, the complex covers more than 50,000 acres of woods, wetlands, bogs and prairie. They are home to some 250 species of birds, including trumpeter swans, great blue herons, ospreys, sandhill cranes, eagles, grouse, prairie chickens, and thousands of ducks and geese. Deer, bears, fur bearing and prairie mammals, and reptiles are plentiful. Some areas are wildlife preserves, others are open for hunting and trapping. Some areas are walk-in only, while others have marked roads and picnic facilities. For more information about the complex, contact the Grantsburg Ranger Station, located on the southern edge of Crex Meadows, at the intersection of County Roads D and F, 715-463-2896, or visit the Burnett County Tourism Information Center, located in the Best Western Northwoods Lodge, County Road K, Siren, 715-349-5999.
Burnett County Forest
Established in 1932, the Burnett County Forest covers more than 106,000 acres. The rolling landscape supports pine, aspen, northern pin oak, birch, and other species native to the county's sandy soils. The St. Croix, Namekagon, Totagatic, Yellow, Clam and Tamarack Rivers meander through the forest. There are miles of trails for snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, ATVs, horseback riding, and mountain biking. Hunters take deer, geese and ducks in abundance, along with a respectable harvest of bear and grouse during the hunting seasons. Permits are required for hunting, trapping and fishing. Berries, mushrooms, seeds and edible fruits may be gathered for personal consumption without a permit. Collecting of plants, firewood, boughs, Christmas trees, and other forest products requires a permit from the Burnett County Forest & Parks Department.
Governor Knowles State Forest
Governor Knowles State Forest stretches for more than 50 miles along the east bank of the St. Croix River, from State Highway 70 in the south to State Highway 77 near Danbury in the north. Reaching two miles wide in places, the park features a variety of unique woodland habitats and geology. Two hiking trails, each more than 20 miles long, offer intimate views of the St. Croix Valley in its natural state. Along the path are the ruins of an old paint mine where the surrounding soil shows colorful evidence of the pigments once mined there. For those unable to experience the valley on foot, a self-guided auto tour of about 40 miles is a good alternative. Picnic and launching facilities are located at the southern end of the forest. Cross-country ski trails are found in the Fox Landing area, and one of Governor Knowles' favorite trout fishing spots lies near the mouth of Iron Creek. For tour maps and additional information contact Governor Knowles State Park at 715-463-2898.
St. Croix National Scenic Riverway
The St. Croix River, which forms Burnett County's boundary with Minnesota, was one of the original eight rivers in the 1968 National Wild and Scenic Rivers act. The St. Croix and its major tributary, the Namekagon, form one of the most beautiful and least developed river systems in the Upper Midwest. Together, the rivers offer some 250 continuous miles of navigable water - and a wilderness canoeing experience without equal. Canoe outfitter and shuttle services are available in Grantsburg, Danbury, and Webb Lake.
Gandy Dancer Trail
715-349-2157 / 800-788-3164
The Gandy Dancer Trail follows the abandoned Soo Line railroad grade for 98 miles from St. Croix Falls to Superior. Trestle bridges, streams, woods, and wildlife all provide a scenic wilderness experience, while the small, rural communities along the route offer food, lodging, and amenities. The trail is open to bicycling and hikers in the warmer months, and to snowmobilers from December through March. Special trail events and activities are held throughout the year. Gandy Dancer links to hundreds of miles of multi-purpose trails in the county. The portion of the trail south of Danbury is surfaced with crushed limestone, offering an excellent recreational surface. North of Danbury, horses and all-terrain vehicles are allowed year-round.
Cross-Country Ski Trails
715-349-5999 / 800-788-3164
Five groomed trails offer more than 75 miles of scenic skiing for all levels of expertise. The trails are: Brandt Pines Trail, northwest of Grantsburg; Grantsburg Trail, on Memory Lake; Sandrock Cliff Trail, west of Grantsburg off of Highway 70; Timberland Hills Trail, in Roosevelt Township; and, Webb Lake Trail, Webb Lake.
Trade River Horse Trails
The Trade River Area, south of Grantsburg near the St. Croix River, offers some of the best trail riding in the area. The Trade River Trails, located in the Governor Knowles State Forest, cover 35 miles of varied terrain and forests along the river valley. Camping facilities and trailer parking are available at two trailheads.
Snowmobile and ATV Trails
Burnett County offers more than 300 miles of groomed, signed trails, including the Gandy Dancer Trail. The varied terrain includes forests, farmlands, lakes and streams. Trails travel through remote wilderness, but are never far from food and lodging. Maps and up-to-the-minute reports on snow conditions and activities are available at 800-788-3164 and the Burnett County tourism Information Center.
Special Things To Do
Wild Rice Pow-Wow
In August, the St. Croix Chippewa host the Wild Rice Pow-Wow, a three-day celebration of their cultural heritage. Open to the public, the pow-wow draws hundreds of dancers and singers from all over the Midwest and Canada. This colorful multi-tribal event features songs, dances, drumming, unbelievable beautiful regalia worn by tribal members of all ages, bountiful feasts, and Native American arts, crafts and food vendors.
Summer and Winter Snowmobile Events
World Championship Watercross
Memory Lake, Grantsburg
The exciting sport of watercross, where snowmobiles cross open water at top speed, began in Burnett County. The annual world championship competition, held every July on Grantsburg's Memory Lake, draws competitors and spectators from all over the world.
Clam Lake, near Siren
A take-off on watercross, this February event has the added challenge of near freezing water temperatures. Spectators thrill to see daring drivers crossing the open channel of Clam Lake near Siren on their powerful machines.
In August, sample the best of Burnett County's agricultural products, view the winning livestock, visit with the proud producers, trainers and handlers, enjoy the food, refreshments, rides, games and competitions at the two lively and colorful county fairs: The Central Burnett County Fair in Webster; and, the Burnett County Fair in Grantsburg.