Eastern Region Viewing Area
LOCATION and PHOTOS
Squirrel corn (Dicentra canadensis) is one of many spring ephemerals. Notice the trout lily (Erythronium americanum) leaves with their purple mottling in the background. Spring beauty (Claytonia caroliniana) is also flowering. Photos by Chantelle DeLay.
Lauterman Lake Trail
Forest: Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
District: Eagle River-Florence District – Florence Unit
Description: Lauterman Lake Trail is varied, challenging, and richly diverse in old growth hardwoods, hemlock stands, shrubs, and wildflowers. The trail meanders through three naturally and topographically different areas: east of Lauterman Lake, the walk is easy, over gently rolling terrain. Between Lauterman Lake and Little Porcupine Lake, the trail is more rugged, winding among hummocks and up steep slopes. At the south end of Little Porcupine Lake, the trail traverses the northern portion of an extensive braided esker system. Eskers are sinuous land ridges formed by ancient glaciers.
Viewing Information: This site’s rich loamy soil supports a wonderful canopy of majestic old hardwood trees. The richest stands are on the south end of Porcupine Lake and in the flatter areas along its shores. Yellow birch, sugar maple, basswood, and hemlock are found throughout the esker area as well as rock elm, and hop hornbeam, both somewhat uncommon in this part of the National Forest. Wild flowers, ferns, and shrubs are abundant along all the trails, especially during the month of May before the trees leaf out. Then spring beauties, bloodroot, and sessile bellwort are arrayed in huge patches along the way. Clusters and clumps of Dutchman’s breeches, squirrel corn, toothwort, false rue anemone, and trillium species (large-flowered and nodding) grow here too. In the esker area, a hiker will see Virginia waterleaf, wood nettle, wild licorice, wild leek, large-flowered bellwort, and blue cohosh. Watch for the delicate maidenhair fern along the way, as well as the rare northern black currant. An uncommon bird, the black tern, has been sighted around the lakes.
Safety First: Trails are all designated and signed. Clambering over the moss-covered rocks, wet roots and vegetation can be treacherous: wear boots with ankle support. Tread lightly and walk softly in fragile off-trail areas. Spring weather is cool and sometimes rainy. Dress appropriately. There may be no cell phone reception due to hilly terrain and the remoteness of the area.
Directions: From Florence, Wisconsin, go west on State Highway 70 about 12 miles to the north boundary of the site. FR 2154 and FR 2553 provide interior access to the site.
Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service, Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, Eagle River-Florence District – Florence Unit.
Closest Town: Florence, Wisconsin.