Boulder Junction

Get ready for a new adventure in the Northwoods of Wisconsin-Boulder Junction isn’t your typical getaway destination. Explore hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails or the area’s nearly 200 lakes, the perfect place for boating, paddling, fishing, and swimming. Visit mouth-watering restaurants to sample everything from hard-to-find craft beers to a classic Friday night fish fry. Find a great place to rest and relax at cabins, cottages, resorts, and hotels.

Don’t just take a vacation. Make your vacation BOULDER.

Town Statistics

Fifth largest town in Vilas County

  • Population: 944 (Jan 2016 Estimate)
  • Land Size: 82 square miles
  • Water Size: 18 square miles
  • Local Roads: 90.2 miles

Dwellings:

  • 376 year-round dwellings
  • 806 seasonal dwellings

Land Ownership:

  • Private 12.2 miles
  • State Land 63%
  • State Water 24.8%

History

In 1903, Milwaukee Railroad tracks were laid in the area that became known as Boulder Junction. While the railroad was built to serve the booming logging industry, the new railroad access also attracted outdoors enthusiasts who came to fish and hunt the area’s beautiful forests and crystal clear lakes. Resorts were built to accommodate the growing number of tourists.

Electricity arrived in 1925 and the Town of Boulder Junction was incorporated in 1927. Phone service was added to the area in 1930. During the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps replanted the trees that had been harvested from the land during the logging boom of the previous decades. The majestic forests you see today are a result of the large-scale planting efforts of the 1930s.

A great place to learn about the history of Boulder Junction and the surrounding area is the Boulder Junction Historical Society Museum, located on Hwy M South, next to the Community Center. The museum’s exhibits include Pioneer Corner, items from the logging era and historic photos. The museum is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Tuesdays and Saturdays from 10am to 2pm, and by chance throughout the rest of the year. Admission is free. For information on special showings, contact Josie Allen at 715-385-2617.

Boulder Junction came to be called the “Musky Capital of the World®.”

Geography

The Town of Boulder Junction is located in central Vilas County. The area encompasses the basin of the Trout and Manitowish Rivers, which flow eventually into the Flambeau River. Much of the town is covered by the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest, whose headquarters can be found on the east shore of Trout Lake. According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 100.4 square miles (260.0 km2), of which, 81.9 square miles (212.2 km2) of it is land and 18.5 square miles (47.8 km2) of it (18.40%) is water. Most of the water is smaller and medium-sized lakes, and most of the land is forested in tree typical of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence forest band. The census-designated place of Boulder Junction is located in the town.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 958 people, 445 households, and 303 families residing in the town. The population density was 11.7 people per square mile (4.5/km2). There were 1,407 housing units at an average density of 17.2 per square mile (6.6/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 98.23% White, 0.52% Native American, 0.10% Asian, 0.42% from other races, and 0.73% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.52% of the population.

There were 445 households, out of which 20.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.8% were married couples living together, 4.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.7% were non-families. 28.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.15 and the average family size was 2.62.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 17.4% under the age of 18, 3.8% from 18 to 24, 20.3% from 25 to 44, 32.9% from 45 to 64, and 25.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 50 years. For every 100 females, there were 103.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.8 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $34,722, and the median income for a family was $41,029. Males had a median income of $30,750 versus $25,556 for females. The per capita income for the town was $19,678. About 4.5% of families and 3.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.3% of those under age 18 and 6.7% of those age 65 or over.

Economy

The town’s economy depends heavily on tourism. Boulder Junction holds a trademark as the “Musky Capital of the World,” based on the fact that more muskies are caught per square mile than any other similar sized area of the world.

Airport

The town of Boulder Junction maintains the Boulder Junction Airport (FAA identifier KBDJ), located approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) north of the unincorporated community of Boulder Junction. This local airport features two grass runways for the use of smaller private aircraft.

Recreation

Winter activities include hunting, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. In summer, golf, camping, paddling, and attending events at the community park are available. Year-round activities include horseback riding, bird watching, and hiking.

The Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest is located near Boulder Junction. It consists of 25,000 acres of forest and lakes, with 54,000 acres of surface water in 930 lakes and 250 miles of rivers and streams. Within the preserve is 15,000 square miles of northern Wisconsin woodland. Because of the large number of lakes and rivers in the area, Boulder Junction has been proclaimed the “Musky capital of the world”.

Boulder Junction was formerly home to the Northern Wisconsin National Canoe Base, a national base of the Boy Scouts of America.

White Deer

Boulder Junction claims to have the largest herd of white (albino) deer in Wisconsin. The city uses white deer on its advertising and some tourists come to the city just to see the deer.

Boulder Junction Lakes

Lakes define the landscape of Boulder Junction. Spread out across the forests of Boulder Junction, you’ll find 194 beautiful lakes, perfect for swimming and boating. The unique nature of the geology and ecology of the Boulder Junction area supports some of the cleanest lakes in the Midwest. Many of Boulder Junction’s crystal-clear lakes are completely undeveloped. Boat launches are plentiful and a number of lakes feature sandy beaches.

Boaters in Boulder Junction have a lot of beautiful options, including larger lakes suitable for a family cruise in a pontoon boat and smaller lakes better for canoers and kayakers. Here are three accessible Boulder Junction lakes that provide a classic Northwoods boating experience:

Boulder Lake. A good bet for boating is located on the northwest side of downtown Boulder Junction. This 516-acre lake has lots of small bays and inlets to explore. There’s a boat landing on the north side of the lake near the airport and a second landing on the west side.

White Sand Lake. This 746-acre lake is worth visiting for the drive there—it’s located just off County Hwy K, a beautiful Wisconsin Rustic Road. The lake’s water is incredibly clear, and the lake is surrounded by forest. You’ll find lake access just off of County Hwy K on the lake’s south side.

Lost Canoe Lake. Another lake with access off County Hwy K is Lost Canoe Lake, a 279-acre gem southeast of Boulder Junction. You’ll see a lot of wildlife on this beautiful lake. Keep your eyes open for that lost canoe!

Community Info

Boulder Junction in the Northwoods of Wisconsin is more than just a great place to take a vacation. It’s also an outstanding place to live, work and do business. Learn more about the people, organizations and resources that make Boulder Junction such an exceptional community.

Boulder Junction Community Center. Built in 2013, the Boulder Junction Community Center is home to the library, town offices, and versatile meeting and banquet spaces. The facility can accommodate meetings and gatherings ranging from 18 to 285. Full warming kitchen available.

Boulder Junction Public Library. The Boulder Junction Public Library serves as the gathering place for our community, connecting residents and visitors to information, technology, education and culture in a welcoming environment. You can borrow adult and children’s books, large print books, e-books, books on CD, DVDs, reference materials, magazines and databases. The library also provides access to more than 500,000 additional books and other materials through the automated MERLIN system. There are seven public-access computers with Microsoft Office Suite and Internet access. The library offers free wireless Internet service during regular hours and 24/7 outside the building – no password required. Adult and children’s programs are held year-round and are free to the public.

Schools And Township

The Town of Boulder Junction is the fifth largest town in Vilas County, covering 82 square miles and home to 1,019 people. The area offers excellent schools, a high quality of life, outstanding outdoor recreation and extraordinary natural beauty.

Elementary – North Lakeland School

12686 Co Rd K, Manitowish Waters, WI 54545 / Phone: (715) 543-8417

Elementary school age students from Boulder Junction, along with students from the townships of Land O’ Lakes, Manitowish Waters, Presque Isle and Winchester attend North Lakeland School. The school is known for its excellent academic programs, low ratio of students to staff, unique outdoor education program, and innovative use of class configuration and technology.

High School – Lakeland Union High School

9573 WI-70, Minocqua, WI 54548 / Phone: (715) 356-5252

Students from Boulder Junction attend Lakeland Union High School, located in Minocqua. Lakeland Union High School offers a full range of academic and vocational programs to students.

Nicolet College

5364 College Drive, Rhinelander, WI 54501 / Phone: (800) 544-3039

The center of higher education in the Northwoods offers 70+ career programs, University Transfer and Liberal Arts, Continuing Education, Outdoor Adventure, Learning in Retirement, theatre events, community library and art gallery. nicoletcollege.edu

Vilas County UW-Extension

330 Court Street, Eagle River, WI 54521 / Phone: (715) 479-3653

Extends the resources and research of the University of Wisconsin System statewide. UW-Extension includes Cooperative Extension offices in 72 counties and three tribal nations, 12 Small Business Development Centers, Outreach and E-Learning programs delivered via the 26 UW System campuses and distance-learning channels

Healthcare

When you’re in Boulder Junction, you’re just a short drive away from quality medical services. Boulder Junction emergency healthcare is provided by our highly qualified Volunteer Fire Department and EMS by calling 911.

  • Achilles Foot and Ankle Clinic, S.C. – 723 Elm Street, PO Box 528, Woodruff, WI 54568 | Phone: (715) 358-9777 | Fax: (715) 358-9737
  • Aspirus Woodruff Clinic – 611 Veterans Parkway, PO Box 1910, Woodruff, WI 54568-1910 | Phone: (715) 358-8610
  • Howard Young Medical Center/Aspirus – 240 Maple Street, Woodruff, WI 54568 | Phone: (715) 356-8000
  • Marshfield Clinic – 9601 Townline Road, PO Box 1390, Minocqua, WI 54548 | Phone: (715) 358-1000
  • Calming Stone Massage, LLC – 5453 Ada Street, Boulder Junction, WI 54512 | Phone: (715) 614-4378
  • The Spa at Manitowish Waters – 5968 County Hwy W, Manitowish Waters, WI 54545 | Phone: (715) 543-2535

Volunteer Opportunities

Boulder Junction is a small community with a big heart. The Boulder Junction Chamber of Commerce hosts several events each year. We are always looking for individuals who are interested in sharing their talents and becoming involved. Chamber sponsored events with volunteer opportunities include:

  • Frozen Tozen – February
  • White Deer Triathlon – May
  • Star Spangled Jubilee – July
  • Musky Jamboree Weekend – August
  • Colorama Arts & Crafts Show – September
  • Harvest Fest – October
  • Christmas Walk – November
  • Christmas Kids Day – November

To find out more about Vilas county and all the wonderful things that the Northwoods has to offer click here.