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Your guide to Hayward
Welcome to Hayward
If you prefer your recreation outdoors, Hayward is an all-terrain, all-season playground, a hub for (honest-to-goodness) lumberjacks, fishers, mountain bikers, and snow-sports enthusiasts alike. Maps of this corner of Northeastern Wisconsin look like a green doily spread over a blue pond — the land is so riddled with lakes that it’s a wonder highways can traverse the region — and the town’s most notable landmark is a giant, toothy statue of a muskie outside the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame. Visitors who aren’t paddling or water-skiing may be teeing up on one of the area’s eight golf courses or hiking deep in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. The city of Hayward itself is equal parts rustic and welcoming, with plentiful restaurants (don’t miss Friday night fish fry!) and shops. Wintertime visitors spend their days whizzing through the woods on snowmobiles and skis, returning to town only to warm up.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Hayward
There is never a bad time to visit Hayward, a four-season destination for outdoor activities. That said, the weather in northeastern Wisconsin is never demure: After a too-short spring in May, the temperatures can hit the 80s from June through early September, and all those lakes contribute to the mugginess of the air. Summer is peak season for hikers, fly fishers, and golfers. In July, the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Tribe, whose lands are just outside town, hold their Honor the Earth Pow Wow, drawing people from all over the Upper Midwest. The lakes grow slightly quieter in the fall, though off-road bikers descend on Hayward in September for the Chequamegon MTB Festival. From October through April, temperatures drop below — sometimes far below — the freezing point, and the thick layer of snow turns Hayward into a playground for snowmobile riders and cross-country skiers.
Top things to do in Hayward
The 56,000 acres of water in the Hayward Lakes Area are legendary among Wisconsin’s anglers, who hop from lake to lake in search of walleye, bluegill, and some of the largest muskies the Midwest produces. Chippewa Flowage is the area’s largest lake, and Lac Courte Oreilles and Round Lakes two of the clearest. Outfitters in town will supply whatever you need for a day of fishing, and you can find guide services and boat rentals if you don’t tow your own. Taking a break on land? Stop by the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame for education programs, displays of lures and record-sized catches, and perhaps a Bigfoot sighting.
Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
Drive east on Highway 77 from Hayward for about 40 miles and you enter the 858,400-acre Chequamegon National Forest. Hundreds of miles of trails for hikers and mountain bikers bring you through leafy stands of maple and oak, wide swaths of white pine, and deep ravines, and there are dozens of campgrounds to stake a tent in. If you connect with the North Country Scenic Trail, you may encounter weathered backpackers making their way along this eight-state route. In winter, dedicated bikers swap out their summer rides for fat-tire bikes, sharing the groomed trails with snowshoers.
Hayward is home to the Lumberjack World Championships every July, when burly woodspeople compete in speed-climbing, chopping, sawing, and the ever-popular log-rolling competitions. From May through September, the arena hosts a popular lumberjack show five days a week, with a family-friendly mix of comedy skits and feats of skill. Even if you can’t swing an ax yourself, you can putt-putt on a lumberjack mini golf course and load up on woodsy souvenirs.