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Overnight on NCT in Rainbow Lake Wilderness
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Stuart Burke
(burkest) - F

Locale: Collegiate Peaks Wilderness
Overnight on NCT in Rainbow Lake Wilderness on 05/12/2008 20:54:53 MDT Print View

My wife and I got out for an overnight last Saturday in the Rainbow Lake Wilderness on the North Country Trail in Bayfield County, WI. We were originally planning to be out for five days but we had to cut the trip short because my wife's knees and ankles were bothering her.

We started out Saturday morning at the highway 63 trailhead in Drummond. A friend of ours dropped us off and hiked in a few miles with us.

Here we are at the trailhead


The trail is marked with a mixture of blue paint blazes and yellow diamonds nailed to the trees. The yellow diamonds must be the older signing convention because the trees seemed to be trying to devour the diamonds.

diamond in tree

The first few miles of the trail goes through rolling terrain and mixed second and third growth forest. After 3.5 miles we reached Overby lake. For the rest of the hike we went from lake to lake. Here is a picture of Overby lake

overby Lake

You can see that the lake level is low because there are no trees around the present shore line. All of the lakes we saw were like this.

Here are some bosom-like growths on a tree that we had to stop to admire

Tree busom

Six miles after the trailhead we entered the Rainbow Lake Wilderness.

Rainbow Lake Sign

I thought that the list of prohibited activities in the wilderness area were very specific.

No hang gliding!

I was really disappointed because I packed in my hang glider and now I could not use it!

We camped at Bufo lake Saturday night. Here is a beaver den on the shore of the lake.

Beaver Den

And our campsite


It started raining on us at 8 PM. We stayed dry and cozy in our double rainbow. We played a few games of cards and turned in for the night. The rain stopped by the time we woke up Sunday morning. We were cold so we got hiking quickly to warm up. We passed Rainbow lake and Tower lake as we finished crossing the wilderness area. A mile after we left the wilderness we stopped for a break and we decided to call for a ride and get picked up. My wife's body was not up for the stress of walking with a 15 pound pack for 8 miles a day. She had a good time though and wants to do more day hiking to build up to longer trips. She is now also open to using trekking poles to take the pressure off her knees and ankles.

Edited by burkest on 05/12/2008 21:00:02 MDT.

Chad Lorenz
(ChadL) - MLife

Locale: Teton Valley, Wydaho
NCT Rainbow Lakes on 05/13/2008 09:39:58 MDT Print View

Stuart, thanks for the pics! I was thinking about hiking out that way this weekend, were the bugs out yet? I was climbing on the North Shore (Carlton Peak, Wolf Ridge) this past weekend and a few skeeters and flies were coming out... Thanks! Chad

Joe Geib
(joegeib) - F

Locale: Delaware & Lehigh Valleys
Nice Trip on 05/13/2008 11:18:06 MDT Print View

Nice looking trip, despite the unseasonably cold weather. You were out hiking, I was writing a paper.

Stuart Burke
(burkest) - F

Locale: Collegiate Peaks Wilderness
Re: NCT Rainbow Lakes on 05/13/2008 11:40:14 MDT Print View


There were no mosquitos or flies out but there were a large number of ticks. I would definitely recommend the stretch of trail in the Rainbow Lake Wilderness it was better than I was expecting. The trail itself is in rough shape because it is a wilderness but the area is very beautiful.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Overnight on NCT in Rainbow Lake Wilderness on 05/13/2008 14:04:50 MDT Print View

I bet I had plans to check out Rainbow at least three or four different times last summer but never did. Thanks for the trip report, Stuart!

Chad Lorenz
(ChadL) - MLife

Locale: Teton Valley, Wydaho
NCT on 05/14/2008 07:48:11 MDT Print View

Thanks Stuart! I've only been out there for pulk trips in the dead of winter, and was at Overby Lake about two months ago. No northern lights, but plenty of stargazing!