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U.S. Forest Service

Eastern Region Viewing Area


Map of Moquah Barrens area.

bearberry. Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi). Photo by Eric Epstein.

blazing star. Northern plains blazing star (Liatris ligulistylis). Photo by Larry Rantula.

sand cherry. Sand Cherry (Prunus pumila). Photo by Jeff Cate.

Moquah Pine Barrens

Forest: Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

District: Washburn Ranger District

Description: The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest provides the avid wildflower watcher with some of the best viewing opportunities in Northern Wisconsin. Perhaps one of the most fascinating areas is the Moquah Pine Barrens. Wildflowers paint a colorful quilt of blooms that attracts native birds, butterflies and other wildlife. These hardy plants thrive in this sandy, arid environment. Maps are recommended for travel.

Wildflower Walks and Festivals

Bayfield in Bloom Festival - features flower displays, garden tours, programs and Apple Blossom Run. Check the event schedule at the Bayfield in Bloom Visitor Information website or call (800) 447-4094.

Native Wildflower Garden Tours - sponsored by the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center in Ashland, Wisconsin. This year-round facility offers a variety of educational programs, exhibits and other visitor travel services. For information on garden tour schedules and events check on-line at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center website or call 715.685.9983.

Viewing Information: The first flowers to appear in spring include the barren strawberry, Canada may-flower, wild columbine, hoary puccoon and wood anemone. During the summer months, the northern plains blazing star, wild bergamot, false sunflower, showy goldenrod and harebell offer the best show of color. In the fall, the sand cherry and blueberry create a blaze of red.

Gray wolf, black bear, red fox, plains pocket gopher, eastern bluebird, clay-colored sparrows, and eastern towhees make their home in this habitat. Prescribed burning keeps this area ideal habitat for Brewer’s blackbird, upland sandpiper, tree swallow, badger, and woodchuck.

Safety First: The trail may be rough in spots. Exposed roots or muddy areas may exist at times. Foot attire appropriate for walking over rough terrain is recommended. The weather may be cool and rainy in the Spring or Fall; appropriate thermal and moisture protection is recommended.

Directions: From Ashland, Wisconsin, travel 12 miles west on U.S. Highway 2. Turn right on Forest Road 236. Continue north 6 miles to the Moquah Barrens. A forest map is recommended before exploring this remote area. Road conditions may vary.

Ownership and Management: USDA Forest Service, Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Contact the Washburn Ranger District at (715) 373-2667 for maps and travel conditions.

Closest Town: Ashland, Wisconsin.

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