Rough Wood Camping in Wisconsin

by Clayton Yuetter

Those looking for more adventure than sleeping in cabins or campers can offer can consider roughing it in the woods in Wisconsin. Public forests all through the state have undeveloped places where a tent can be set up.

Off Site Camping Spots

Many public forests in Wisconsin that do not necessarily have official campgrounds, but are still open to tent camping. Black River State Forest (, for example, includes 68,000 acres of land in Jackson County. The Northern Highland - American Legion State Forest, which also allows rough camping, consists of 225,000 acres of land in the northeast part of the state. Permits are required for backpacking or wilderness camping.

Official Campgrounds

The range of amenities offered at sponsored campgrounds in Wisconsin varies -- some offer bathrooms and running water. Wyalusing State Park, for example, has views of the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers and more than 100 tent sites. Wildcat Mountain State Park, in Ontario, Wisconsin, has hiking trails.

Winter Camping

Winters in Wisconsin tend to be some of the coldest in the country, making camping in the snow an intense experience. Many state parks are open during the winter, including Governor Dodge State Park in Dodgeville and Devil's Lake in Baraboo.

Firewood Rules

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource, or WDNR, has specific rules concerning firewood when camping. Fires must be contained in rings or grills and cannot be left unattended. Burning garbage is not allowed. Firewood cannot be brought to the site from more than 25 miles away. This is to prevent the potential spread of diseases and pests. Also, wood cannot be obtained from areas known to be infested with the Wisconsin emerald ash borer.