Lake Laura Hardwoods contains an old-growth northern mesic forest on the south shore of Lake Laura in central Vilas County within the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest. A boat launch that doubles as a parking area is found at the end of Deerfoot Road.
As denoted by its number, Lake Laura Hardwoods was the 500th natural area designated and a plaque is accordingly displayed. As if often the case, the weather on this day was overcast and dreary with occasional drizzle. At first, I walked along the shoreline which had a fairly wide area of mud flats due to the chronically low water leves in northern Wisconsin. There are no trails here, so one can wander around the forest anywhere west of Deerfoot Road. The highlight of the forbs was the eliptic or large-leaved shinleaf as well as Indian pipe, a flowering species without chlorophyll. The forest here is old-growth and impressive. Trees tower above you in a mixture of pine and hardwoods. Wet depressions are interpersed throughout the site while other forest openings contain sedges. A smaller lake, Salsich Lake, is found in the southern portion of the site. This is a fairly large site which one could take the bulk of a day to explore. I wouldn’t mind returning to this site and exploring Salsich Lake and the southern portion of the site further, but it is not at the top of my revisit list.
More of my photos (and full-res) from Lake Laura Hardwoods can be viewed here.
|Natural Communities / Geology||Lake, Northern Mesic Forest|
|Easy to Find||Yes|
|Best Seen By||Foot, Kayak|