Ashland County, Wisconsin

Ashland County is the second-largest county in Wisconsin by total area and contains 19 of the 22 Apostle Islands.  The Chequamegon Bay region is among the best birding destinations in the Midwest, with a wide variety of habitats home to nearly 300 species.  Abundant public lands and extraordinary natural beauty provide visitors with unparalleled nature-watching opportunities in this exceptional area of northern Wisconsin.

Paddlers will discover endless waters to explore and bicyclists can choose from dozens of scenic trails.  Golfers will enjoy superb greens with fantastic pastoral landscapes and lake views.  With year-round fun on the itinerary, Ashland County is the perfect destination for avid boaters, motorcyclists and snowmobilers, as well as ATV and skiing enthusiasts.

The county seat of Ashland County, the city of Ashland, is a port on Lake Superior, near the head of Chequamegon Bay.  Known for its world-class smallmouth bass fishing, Ashland offers four seasons of fishing in which anglers will snag trout, salmon, walleye, bass, northern pike and perch, to name a few.

In addition to the greatest of the Great Lakes, the Ashland area offers visitors the Chequamegon National Forest, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and a sea of inland lakes and streams.  Fishing, sailing, canoeing, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) are all popular activities on the area’s beautiful waters.

And when it’s time to rest, you’ll find just the right lodging establishment in Ashland County to fit your needs, from charming B&Bs and fine hotels to family-owned motels and scenic resorts.  Relax in comfort with a lakeside view or go for a dip in an indoor pool.  Winter, spring, summer and fall – Ashland County is a year-round vacation destination with accommodations to suit every budget.

Main Attractions

Copper Falls

Copper Falls

Waterfalls – Some of the most spectacular waterfalls in the entire state are located in Ashland County.  Hikers will be enthralled by the breathtaking beauty of Copper Falls State Park near Mellen which features three scenic waterfalls along with canyons, streams, and a swimming beach.

Madeline Island – the largest of the Apostle Islands – is a truly magical place.  Accessible by ferry, private boat or plane, Madeline Island’s charm and natural beauty make it the perfect destination for those who want a true island getaway.  Stroll sandy beaches and relax to the rhythm of waves rolling in.  Immerse yourself in history.  Savor beautifully prepared local fare, served up with a side of lakeshore views.  Shop the galleries and cultivate your artistic spirit. You can also enjoy a game of tennis or a round of golf.

Historic Murals Tour – From Butternut in the south to Madeline Island in the north, Ashland County’s over two dozen eye-catching murals dazzle visitors all year long.  Ashland County’s pride in its rich history is evident in the more than two dozen vibrant murals from, each highlighting a particular aspect of Ashland County’s colorful past, depicting subjects ranging from lumberjacks and military veterans to its railroads, early settlers, and storefronts.

Fishing – Chequamegon Bay is well-known as a world-class smallmouth bass fishery.  Smallmouth season runs from ITBEC Ashland UNGS client with smallie 8-11-15mid-May through late October, the latter considered to be “trophy month” for “smallies.”  The 12-mile-long bay’s rock piles and breakwater structures make for perfect bass habitat.  Stream-fishing the tributaries is a popular fall pastime with the opportunity to catch coho and Chinook salmon, as well as rainbow, lake and brown trout.  Winter brings anglers out in droves for ice fishing on Chequamegon Bay where they can take their pick of excellent fishing for walleye, northern pike, perch, and bluegill.

Winter sports – Discover the winter charm of Wisconsin’s northwoods with a visit to Ashland County and the Chequamegon Bay area.  Ice and snow transform the vast wooded terrain into a pristine landscape of quiet beauty. With an annual average snowfall of 73 inches, Ashland County’s 280 miles of groomed trails are a snowmobiler’s paradise.  We also have over 1,000 miles of ungroomed forest roads for your riding pleasure.  The region’s spectacular ice caves, part of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, are like no other spot on earth.  Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are also popular cold-weather pastimes in the ITBEC sleigh & cutter rally 2013Ashland area and offer a great way to take in the area’s natural beauty at a slower pace.  Enjoy our many winter events like Book Across the Bay and the Northwoods Harness Club’s Sleigh & Cutter Rally.

Click here to find out about all of our exciting activities!

Click here to learn about our other fun and fascinating attractions!


Useful Links




Visitor Info



Contact Information

Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Bureau
1716 W. Lake Shore Drive
P.O. Box 746
Ashland, WI 54806

Click here to request free visitor information.

Click here to view the Ashland County Area Activity & Visitor Guide.