Eastern Region Viewing Area
A small rocky tributary to McCaslin Brook. In the center of the photo is the rare Braun’s Holly Fern. Photo by Steve Janke.
A view of the forest floor in spring featuring downy yellow violet (Viola pubescens). Photo by Steve Janke.
Large-flowered bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora) flowers in spring before the leaves are fully expanded giving the plant a "wilted" appearance. Photo by Steve Janke.
Forest: Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
District: Lakewood-Laona Ranger District - Lakewood Unit
Description: Diamond Roof is a large tract featuring upland hardwoods, fast rocky creeks, mixed conifer swamps, and lakes and spring ponds. The rich hardwood soil supports the largest and showiest spring ephemeral wildflower display on the Lakewood-Laona District. Small, picturesque creeks flow around moss-covered rocks and logs, under a canopy of sugar maple, basswood, yellow birch, red maple, and hemlock. Mixed conifer swamps follow McCaslin Brook and Ninemile Creek and are dominated by white cedar, black spruce, and balsam fir. Wild lakes and spring ponds found in the area include Upper and Lower Hiawanka Lakes and McCaslin Spring.
Viewing Information: Early spring ephemeral wildflowers are the main featured attraction. Come in the first 3 weeks of May before the trees leaf-out for the best show. The rich, silty soil supports carpets of spring wildflowers that extend for miles. Common species include: spring beauty, Dutchman’s breeches, squirrel corn, yellow trout-lily, Canada violet, large-flowered trillium, toothwort, twin-leaf miterwort, bloodroot, large-flowered bellwort, blue cohosh, and downy yellow violet. The small rocky creeks are interesting all summer long with a variety of mosses, lichens, and liverworts growing on the rocks and logs. Tread softly and with care in the more fragile terrain.
Safety First: There are no established trails here so take a topographic map and compass (USGS Reservoir Pond quad available at the Lakewood Forest Service office or other map outlet). Although excellent displays of spring wildflowers a visible from the road, you will definitely want to take a walk into the woods to see these beautiful flowers up close. Many areas are rocky with uneven terrain so wear footwear with good ankle support. Spring weather is cool and sometimes rainy so dress appropriately. The main roads are gravel and in good condition, but the side roads can be slick and muddy after recent rains.
Directions: From Townsend, Wisconsin, go north on Highway 32 about 4 miles, then west and south on Diamond Roof Road (FR 2123) about 3.3 miles to McCaslin Brook and follow the creek west into the site. You may also continue on Diamond Roof Road another 2.8 miles, then northwest on Ada Lake Road (FR 2357) 0.9 miles to Ninemile Creek and follow the creek north or south into the site. Excellent displays spring wildflowers are available along Diamond Roof Road.
Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service, Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, Lakewood-Laona Ranger District.
Closest Town: Townsend, Wisconsin.