Best Kettle Moraine Campgrounds in State of Wisconsin

Best Kettle Moraine Campgrounds in State of Wisconsin

May 03, 2024

Over 22,000 acres of land spanning multiple state parks and natural areas are part of the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, which is located in southern Wisconsin.

The region offers a wide range of recreational options, including hiking, birdwatching, fishing, camping, and hunting, in addition to its different ecosystems, which include restored prairie, forests, and lakes. This area is also covered by the Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive, which spans a greater part of the state.

Campsites are available at several of the bigger nature reserves in this portion of the state forest, including Whitewater Lake, Ottawa Lake, and Pinewoods. For trail riding, there are numerous campsites that are accessible by horseback.

Kettle Moraine Campgrounds

The Scuppernong Trails, Emma Carlin Trails, John Muir Trails, and Ice Age Trail are a few of the more well-known trails in the Southern Unit.

These travel through state natural areas in the Kettle Moraine, and some even link to other state parks or trails around Wisconsin. In specific areas along some of these trails, camping is permitted in a more rustic setting.

Kettle Moraine Campgrounds

There are multiple camping places in the Kettle Moraine State Forest - Northern Unit. Camping does not require a check-in. Campers ought to proceed straight to their designated campground.

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1. Greenbush Group Campground

Greenbush Group Campground

There are nine outdoor group campsites at the Greenbush group campground, which can hold up to forty people. The Greenbush Recreation Area contains the campground. On the real campsite, tent camping is the only option.

The Greenbush Trails, where campers can go hiking and off-road biking, are close to the sites. Nearby are vault toilets, drinking water, and an enclosed shelter building.

The campground does not have any showers. Camping is available at the Greenbush Group Campground from April through November.

2. Camp Kettlewood

Camp Kettlewood

"Charming campsites for both the 'indoorsy' and 'outdoorsy' alike" are available at Camp Kettlewood. Each campsite is one to two acres, giving campers their own little haven surrounded by wetlands and old-growth forests.

For your weekend in the woods, you can stay comfortably in anything from vintage trailers to platform tents.

Hike the trails, kayak the wetlands, or just unwind. They include four independent bathrooms and two outdoor showers with an open-air feel.

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3. Pinewoods Campground

Pinewoods Campground

Pinewoods features showers, pit toilets, flush toilets, and 101 campsites. This campsite does not have any sites with electricity. Adjacent to the shower building is a playground.

For individuals who would want to take in the calm that nature has to offer, their campground has a special section reserved for them.

One of the three loops, Loop 1, is a 24-hour silent zone where noise from mechanical devices, radios, and pets is prohibited, guaranteeing a tranquil stay.

Within the campground are a sanitary dump station and a recycling/garbage station as well as easy access to parking stalls. Camping is permitted in Pinewoods from mid-May until mid-October.

4. Whitewater Lake Campground

Whitewater Lake Campground

With sixty-three lovely campsites, the Whitewater Lake Campground is a rustic campground. There are pit toilets at the Whitewater Lake campground, but no showers.

About 20 miles to the north, near Pinewoods and Ottawa Lake, are showers. Campers are equipped with a sanitary dump and a recycling/garbage station.

Camping is permitted at Whitewater Lake from mid-May until mid-October. It is advised to make reservations from mid-May until mid-October.

5. Horseriders Campground

Horseriders Campground

The state forest's Horse Riders Campground is conveniently situated, and the campground itself has connections to the horse trails. The only guests allowed to camp here are those who bring their horses.

Horse campers can make use of 35 back-in sites, 20 pull-through sites, a group site that can hold up to 20 people, a picnic shelter, horse showers, drinking water, pit toilets, and manure deposit stations.

Each site in the group camp area a picnic table, a fire ring, a manure pit, and a source of drinking water. There are nine 10-by-10-foot metal pipe corrals at each of group sites A and C.

There are 12 pipe corrals and two tether post sections at Group Site B. There is a vault toilet at the group camp. A group site may only have twenty persons occupy it.

Wheelbarrows and forks are given, but it is the campers' responsibility to dispose of all hay and manure in the manure pits scattered throughout the campground. To preserve the campground's green environment, horses must be kept in approved areas.

Situated in the middle of the state forest, the campground offers convenient access to the 33-mile bridle trail that winds through the entire park. Two loop routes are also available: the 4-mile Forest Lake Loop and the 2.5-mile Crooked Lake Loop.

When utilizing the official bridle paths in the state forest, horseback riders (16 years of age and up) are required to possess a state trail pass.

First weekend in May is when the campground opens, and last weekend in October is when it closes.

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6. Ottawa Lake Campground

Ottawa Lake Campground

In the Southern Unit, Ottawa Lake Campground is the only campground open all year round. There are 100 sites available, including two shower houses, 49 electrical sites, flush toilets, and a winter pit toilet facility.

There are reservable accessible cabins specifically for individuals with impairments, as well as accessible sites. For registered campers, a hygienic dump and recycling/garbage station are available.

7. Pinewoods and Hickory Woods Group Camps

Pinewoods and Hickory Woods Group Camps

Large groups can enjoy camping together in a stunning, natural setting at the group camps located in the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest.

There are four spacious campsites at Pinewoods Group Camp, each of which may hold up to 40 people. There are two sites at Hickory Woods that can hold up to 40 people each, and there are five sites that can hold up to 20 people each.

These camps are located in the Whitewater Lake Campground and the Pinewoods Campground, respectively. Campers can use pit toilets and drinking water in the group camping.

You can camp in Pinewoods from April 1 through the Wednesday prior to the deer gun shooting season, and in Hickory Woods from mid-May to mid-October.

It is advisable to make reservations for the Pinewoods from April to October, and for the Hickory Woods Group Camps from mid-May to mid-October.

8. Backpack Shelters

Backpack Shelters

There are just three official trail shelter locations along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail where you can camp in a primitive backpack all year round.

Depending on where the camper parks, backpack sites are isolated, distinct from other forest amenities, and entail hikes of anywhere from half a mile to ten miles. Each site has a fire ring, pit toilet, and covered trail shelter.

While most of these locations have parking lot within a mile of the site, these locations are not reachable by car. All waste needs to be packed out and all equipment needs to be backpacked to the location.

Reservations are only valid for one night and are restricted to ten persons per night. But a different site might be designated for a third site or a second location for a second and third night.

To utilize these shelters, you must have a camping permit. All year long, reservations are accepted.

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9. Long Lake Campground

Long Lake Campground

The Long Lake campground has 200 campsites, showers, and vault and flush toilets. The Long Lake Recreation Area contains the campground.

There are campsites that are accessible to those with disabilities. For registered campers, a hygienic disposal area and a recycling/garbage station are available.

Camping at Long Lake Campground is available from the first weekend in May through the middle of October.

10. Mauthe Lake Campground

Mauthe Lake Campground

One shower structure with flush toilets in the 300 loop, 51 electricity sites, and many vault toilets are among the 135 campsites at Mauthe Lake Campground's amenities.

The Mauthe Lake Recreation Area is where the campground is situated. Playground equipment is located near the seashore. Seasonally, there are canoe and kayak rentals as well as food and drink booths.

There are also accessible campsites for those with disabilities. For registered campers, there is a hygienic disposal area as well as a recycling/garbage station. The campground at Mauthe Lake is open for camping all year round.

11. Camp Wandawega

Camp Wandawega

Vintage campsite Camp Wandawega offers well-worn yet cherished cabins for Airbnb rentals. This is the spot for you if you enjoy a true summer camp vibe combined with a rustic yet stylish look.

Enjoy the private beach, fishing pier, hiking, biking, tennis, shuffleboard, archery, and horseshoeing that they have to offer. Alternatively, take shots of the surroundings nonstop. Also, there is a spacious parking area.

Examine their Manifesto of Low Expectations before making a reservation. Nor should you be misled by the phrase "cabin." Despite not having heat or air conditioning, they are nonetheless excellent.

Bottom Line

There you have it—a wonderful location with an incredible view. A well-maintained campground with a spacious, private ambiance, lake vistas, wildlife, and sunsets—the finest of many worlds combined into one. This is one of those uncommon websites.

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