What do a million pennies and an elderly woman on snowshoes have to do with Oneida County? Find out this summer with a tour of Oneida County’s fascinating local history museums. You’ll learn about the rugged loggers that harvested trees here, and you’ll discover what it was like to attend a one-room school heated by a wood stove. Here are some things you can discover in Oneida County.
In the years before there were powerful snowplows clearing Oneida County’s roads, there was a small woman called “the Angel on Snowshoes.” Dr. Kate Pelham Newcomb did not have wings, but she was angelic to the residents of Oneida County who were in need of medical care during the cold winter months. Dr. Kate reached her patients on snowshoes, but she knew her patients needed more. She launched a campaign to build a hospital, and students began collecting pennies to make it possible. The dream captured the world’s imagination, and pennies began pouring in from all over the planet. The hospital was built, and in 1988, a museum was constructed to preserve Dr. Kate’s special story.
Explore Rhinelander’s logging history at this popular historical park. Take a stroll through the Rhinelander School Museum, learn about lumberjacks in the Logging Museum and check out the Soo Line Depot and the Conservation Corps Museum. You’ll also see an authentic recreation of an 1870s lumberjack camp, a wide variety of logging equipment and an outstanding collection of items and artifacts from Rhinelander’s past.
Located at the Johnson House, the oldest known home in Three Lakes, the museum has seven exhibit buildings chronicling the history of the Three Lakes area. It includes details about Native Americans who lived in the area, as well as information about the logging, farming and railroad industries. The museum also showcases Three Lakes tourism during the 1940s and 1950s and includes information on notable people and events from recent years.
This charming little museum is worth a return visit—it has exhibits that change from year to year but always include details about the Island City’s special past. Previous exhibits have focused on pioneer families, early electricity in Minocqua and waterski memorabilia. Come see what’s new—and old!
Someone special deserves someplace special, so this year, make plans to head to Oneida County. It’s a perfect destination for couples—our lodging and dining options will make your travels comfortable; our mix of outdoor recreation and indoor attractions will make your getaway unforgettable. Here are a few tips on where to stay and what to do while you’re in Oneida County.
Book a perfect retreat for two. Whether you’re looking for a romantic bed & breakfast, a cabin tucked in the forest or a hotel with a pool, you’ll find it in Oneida County. Use this listing of community pages to explore your options.
Enjoy a memorable meal in an Oneida County restaurant. We have classic supper clubs and upscale establishments perfect for a couple to celebrate the weekend (or a lifetime) together. Many of our restaurants have dramatic forest and lake views—call ahead to get the best table.
Forests in Oneida County take on a fresh new look in the winter. A blanket of white covers the forest floor, and snowflakes delicately dust the trees. Enjoy a peaceful hike or snowshoe outing and take in this quiet beauty. A good place for a winter walk is the Almon Park Trail south of Rhinelander. Be sure to take in the scenic winter views of Buck Lake.
Oneida County has a lively assortment of indoor attractions. Three Lakes Winery produces more than 30 varieties of wine and offers wine tastings. Share a bottle of one of their favorites like Wisconsin Cranberry or the Cabin Blend. Art lovers should check out the latest exhibitions at the gallery at Nicolet College in Rhinelander. In the evening, catch a show at Three Lakes Center for the Arts.
Uncovering Oneida County’s surprises
While Oneida County is known for its beautiful lakes and trails, it may be surprising that it is home to some amazing attractions. Some of these places fly under the radar and others are well-known establishments that have been enjoyed by generations of travelers. Here are a few attractions to check out on your next Oneida County getaway:
Oneida County is wine country? You bet. If you’ve never tasted the wines produced by this craft winery, you’re in for a treat. Three Lakes Winery produces wines flavored with cranberry, rhubarb and pumpkin! Stop in for a free tasting – they’re available daily throughout the year.
Take a cosmic journey next time you’re in Hodag Country. The Kovac Planetarium is a one-of-a-kind globe-style planetarium displaying a complete replica of the night skies. The planetarium was built by Frank Kovac, a paper worker who dreamed of becoming an astrophysicist.
After World War II, hundreds of military Quonset huts were repurposed into movie theaters. Just six remain, and one is located in the heart of Three Lakes. The Three Lakes Center for the Arts is housed in a structure once owned by the SeaBees in World War II. A local sports hero, Cy Williams, designed and built the original 1946 theater. Today the building is a center for arts and entertainment and it regularly hosts movies and concerts.
Find more attractions
Things are about to heat up on Oneida County’s beautiful frozen lakes. When bragging rights and a full catch isn’t enough, make things a little more interesting and head to an Oneida County fishing tournament, where a good day on the lake might just fill the pockets of your parka with cash.
Here are a few places to try your luck this winter.
- Feb. 4 – UPS/United Way Ice Fishing Jamboree. Stacks Bay on Lake Minocqua in Minocqua.
- Feb. 11-12 – Lion’s Club Fisheree and Winter Festival. Boom Lake in Rhinelander.
- Feb. 25 – Somo Game Club Ice Fishing Jamboree. Somo Lake in Tomahawk.
These events feature fishing contests and raffles that offer great prizes and they are a lot of fun. They just a taste of Oneida County’s winter events – they take place every weekend, on and off the lake. Find more winter festivals and events here. Discover more about ice fishing in Oneida County on our website and check out fishing reports here.
When the musky season in northern Wisconsin opens on May 24, Oneida County is the place to be.
Oneida County’s lakes are famous for their trophy-sized musky. Some of the area’s most famous musky lakes include Boom Lake, Lake Nokomis, Lake Tomahawk, the Rainbow Flowage and Lake Minocqua. There are hundreds of outstanding musky lakes to choose from, with many of the lesser-known lakes producing enormous fish each season.
During the first few weeks of the musky season, the water temperatures are cool and musky move slowly. Retrieve small bucktails and crankbaits over shallow bays and flats. It doesn’t take very many weeks for the lakes to warm up and the fishing action to heat up. Don’t miss the fun of tying into one of these monster fish.
There’s still a lot of snow in the Northwoods, but it’s not too early to start looking to spring. A great way to watch the forest wake up from its long winter slumber is a hike along one of Oneida County’s many trails.
One of the most beautiful trails is the Raven Trail. This 13.5 mile trail runs through dense forests and around scenic lakes. Wildlife is abundant in this part of the forest. A separate nature trail provides excellent birdwatching opportunities in the spring. Biking and leashed dogs are allowed on all but the short nature trail.
The trail is moderately hilly, with some steep hills. Low spots will of course be muddy in the spring, but that’s part of the fun of hiking at this time of the year.
To get to the trail from Woodruff, take Highway 47 east for about 3 miles, then drive north on Woodruff Road.
Find more great Oneida County trails to try this spring.
The final weeks of the main fishing season are among the best. As the seasons change, musky, walleye and northern pike can be so active it’s almost possible to overlook the beautiful autumn backdrop. In fact, fall brings some of the best trophy fishing of the year. Fish often seem the most eager to bite in the middle of the day, when the sun is high and the water starts to warm a bit.
You’ll find plenty of places to fish; Oneida County is home to 1,100 lakes. Oneida County is a fisherman’s paradise, part of one of the largest concentrations of freshwater lakes in the world.
What you won’t find in Oneida County is a lack of open space on the water. On some great fall days, you might just have the lake to yourself.
The fishing on these days can be simply outstanding. Enjoy it, and good luck.
Learn more about fishing in Oneida County.
Right now, the conditions in Oneida County are perfect for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The snow cover is excellent and regular snow showers have kept trails in tip-top shape. Oneida County offers 10 snowshoe trails and 17 cross-country ski trails. When it comes to silent sports, there are few places like it in the Midwest. Don’t let the best snow conditions of the winter pass you by. Grab your snowshoes or your skies, hop in the car and drive to Oneida County. You’ll find eight communities offering a wide variety of lodging options. See a full list of trails and plan your trip today.
Click to download a printable Adobe PDF version of the map below
Located near St. Germain, this system of loops has a nice mix of beginner and intermediate level routes. There’s a loop around Shannon Lake that is especially scenic. You’ll find the Shannon Lake trail 2 1/2 miles northeast of St. Germain, off County Highway G or off Found Lake Road.
Download/print PDF version
- Level trails along dike system
Directions: Located just off of Hwy 45, three miles north of Three Lakes.