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Peshtigo Harbor Wildlife Area Trails

A haven of roughly 5,700 acres of state-owned lands are located along the Lower Peshtigo River, south of Peshtigo, Wisconsin. It includes the Peshtigo Harbor State Wildlife Area, and the Bloch Oxbow State Natural Area. The area is managed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to enhance wildlife habitat, protect natural communities, and provide nature-based recreation.

The Peshtigo Harbor Wildlife Area Trails were made possible through a grant from the Wisconsin Coastal Management Project. Marinette County Land & Water Conservation Division, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and Marinette County UW-Extension used the grant to develop better access, a variety of low-impact trails, and supporting educational materials to reveal the rich history and natural communities of this area.

Peshtigo River Trail
This canoe trail takes you on the same winding path American Indians, early explorers, fur traders, and loggers used as a main "road" for travel and shipment of goods - the river. It combines the adventure of small boat travel with the chance to learn about the area and experience it from the same perspective as people of the past.

Starting at the East Side Boat Landing in the city of Peshtigo, this water trail meanders through upland hardwood forest, eventually changes to flat marshy estuary, and ends at the mouth of the river in the bay of Green Bay for a total of 11 river miles.

Along the way, you will discover an area rich in local history and nature. The trail's interpretive map will help you plan your trip and tell you about the points of interest marked along the trail such as:

  • Natural sand banks.
  • Channels dredged during logging days.
  • River birds such as eagles, osprey and great blue herons.
  • Natural scenic shorelines and sandbars.
  • Site of the former Peshtigo Harbor settlement and lumber mill.

    This map is now available . . . see below.

    How to Get There: Take the Peshtigo Exit by Schacht Road off of Highway 41 (the north side of Peshtigo). Head into Peshtigo and turn south onto County Road B (a.k.a. East Front Street). You will soon see a sign for the City of Peshtigo East Side Boat Landing and a driveway on the right.

    Trail Tips: Use the interpretive map to plan your trip by locating the landings and coordinating length of time, sites to be seen, and weather conditions. Please be aware that there are no drop-off or pick-up services for paddlers. You are on your own to find a way back to your vehicle, unless you are participating in one of our special events (see below).

    It is best to use a canoe or kayak on this water trail due to the normally shallow channel and the seasonal rise and fall of water levels.

    We recommend this trip be taken during the summer or fall. The river has many sharp turns and snags that can be hazardous in the strong currents typically found during spring.

    Special Events:
    Group Trips - Marinette County Land & Water Conservation offers guided trips on the Peshtigo River trail for school groups and organizations in connection with its T.O.A.D. educational programs. A guide, six canoes with room for 18 people, lifejackets and paddles are available free of charge.

    Hemlock Curve Nature Trail
    The two-mile walking path leads you through the forest, beside the scenic Peshtigo River, and past a historic grove of hemlocks. Along the way, you are invited to learn about many natural and historic features of this area. The trail map guides you to the sites of interest along the path.

    How to Get There: Take the Peshtigo Exit from Highway 41. Once on Buxiness 41 in Peshtigo, go south on West Front Street (first street west of the bridge). This street eventually turns into Hale Road outside the city limits. After a few miles, turn left onto Harbor Road, then left onto Badger Road. Parking is limited.

    Trail Tips: You will need insect and tick repellant in the spring and early summer.

    Nature Programs:
    Youth - Nature lessons and activities for school groups and youth organizations can be organized through the Land & Water Conservation office.
    Family - Programs occasionally offered for all.

    Woods Road Ski Trail
    This is probably the most unique ski trail around. As you ski, you can also look for wildlife tracks and learn about how these animals endure the winter. Stations along the trail tell about many wild animals here.

    The mostly flat landscape and many loop options along this six-mile trail system make it an ideal place for kids and beginners. If snowshoeing is your thing, you can do that here, too. Whatever you choose, just get out and enjoy the beauty of winter on this trail.

    How to Get There: Take the Peshtigo Exit from Highway 41. Once on Business 41 in Peshtigo, go south on West Front Street (first street west of the bridge). This street eventually turns into Hale Road outside the city limits. After a few miles, turn left onto Harbor Road, then right onto Hale School Road. After about one half mile, the ski trial will be on the left. Parking is limited.

    Trail Tips: If you like to identify animal tracks in the snow, this is the place to come. Bring a track field guide for fun.

    This trail is suggested for winter use only. Spring and summer bring very wet ground and fall brings deer hunters. Best time is January to April.

    There are no bathroom facilities here at this time.

    Off the Beaten Path
    Here are some other interesting places to visit within the Peshtigo Harbor state land.

    Former Peshtigo Harbor and Lumber Mill Sites: This area bustled with activity from 1867 to 1897. It was the busy lumber mill and shipping port that drew a population of 500, made mostly of workers and their families. Today all that is left are the pier pilings and the shore birds. The boat landing found at the end of Harbor Road is near the site of the old lumber mill.

    Bloch Oxbow State Natural Area: Dedicated as a Natural Area in 1997, this area preserves a variety of forest types, an oxbow of the Peshtigo River, and several rare plants and animals. It honors the Gustave and Emma Bloch family who owned and farmed this land for many years. A parking area is located on County Road BB.

    Winegar Pond: This spot is a favorite for avid birders or those just wanting to take in some natural beauty. It offers needed habitat for waterfowl and shorebirds along the bay. It's also a great place to see birds rare to this region as they rest during migration seasons. To get there, follow Pond Road off County Road BB.