Eagle River is a city in Vilas County, Wisconsin, United States. It is the county seat of Vilas County. Because of the many lakes in the area, the city is a popular vacation and retirement destination. The area contains many condominiums, seasonal vacation homes, and hunting cabins.
Eagle River was the site of the first permanent Indian settlement in the Wisconsin Northwoods, located on the shores of Watersmeet Lake where the Wisconsin River and Chain O’ Lakes meet. These early Indians, who were called Old Copper Indians, were succeeded by the Woodland Indians from 2,600 B.C. to 800 A.D. These Indians were probably the ancestors of the Chippewa, Potawatomi, and Menominee.
The first recorded white settler in what became Vilas County was a man named Ashman who established a trading post in Lac du Flambeau in 1818. Eagle River’s name was derived from the abundance of eagles nesting along the river. It is believed that Bethuel Draper and “Dutch Pete” Cramer camped in the area in 1853 and were responsible for naming the community. A settlement grew as other families settled in the area in 1857. The town of Eagle River was created by an act of the state legislature in 1885. Vilas County was set off from Oneida County on April 12, 1893 and named for William Freeman Vilas, a migrant from Vermont. Vilas had served for Wisconsin in the United States Senate from 1891 to 1897. In the 1850s migrants from New England, primarily from Vermont and Connecticut, constructed a number of wagon roads and trails through Vilas County including the Ontonogan Mail Trail and a Military Road from Fort Howard to Fort Wilkins in Copper Harbor, Michigan.
Eagle River is located in southeastern Vilas County at 45°55′12″N 89°15′1″W (45.919902, -89.250210), along the Eagle River, which is part of a popular chain of lakes. The Eagle River/Three Lakes Chain of Lakes is made up of 28 lakes, which is the largest number of inland interconnecting lakes in the world.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.20 square miles (8.29 km2), of which, 3.03 square miles (7.85 km2) is land and 0.17 square miles (0.44 km2) is water.
Eagle River has a cool humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb), with long, cold winters and short, mild summers. Annually the temperature drops below 32 °F (0 °C) on 190 days, and below 0 °F (-17.8 °C) on 39 days. The comfortable summers result in only one day per year on average with temperatures exceeding 90 °F (32.2 °C).
The population in Eagle River is 1,582. There are 488 people per square mile aka population density. The median age in Eagle River is 35.5, the US median age is 37.4. The number of people per household in Eagle River is 2.0, the US average of people per household is 2.6.
Family in Eagle River
- 34.5% are married
- 16.9% are divorced
- 22.2% are married with children
- 27.3% have children, but are single
Race in Eagle River
- 88.1% are white
- 1.1% are black
- 0.1% are asian
- 2.7% are native american
- 0.2% claim Other
- 2.9% claim Hispanic Ethnicity
- 4.7% Two or More Races
- 0.1% Hawaiian, Pacific Islander
The median age in the city was 43.2 years. 18% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.2% were from 25 to 44; 24.5% were from 45 to 64; and 23% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.1% male and 50.9% female.
U.S. 45 travels northbound to Land o’ Lakes. Southbound, US 45 routes to Three Lakes and Antigo.
WIS 17 travels north concurrently with US 45 and WIS 32 approximately 4 miles (6.4 km) before splitting off northeasterly towards Phelps and west concurrently with WIS 70 before turning south towards Rhinelander, Wisconsin.
WIS 32 runs concurrently with US 45 through Eagle River.
WIS 70 travels east on a winding course through the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest to Florence and west via St. Germain to Woodruff and Minocqua.
Eagle River is served by the Eagle River Union Airport (KEGV), which serves as a landing spot for seasonal home owners. Located just northwest of the city, the airport handles approximately 12,000 operations per year, with roughly 87% general aviation and 13% air taxi. The airport has a 5,000-ft asphalt primary runway with approved LOC/DME and GPS approaches (Runway 4-22), a 3,400-ft asphalt crosswind runway (Runway 13-31) and a helipad. The nearest commercial airport is located 30 miles south in Rhinelander, WI.
Whatever the season, you are sure to have a great time when visiting the Eagle River area. If you journey by aircraft, rest assured that you will find the friendliest service and accommodations at the Eagle River Union Airport. Our runway is a 5,000 foot hard surface runway with RNAV, LOC/DME, and VOR approaches, which is capable of handling many different types of aircraft; from Cubs to Falcons…we are the Northwoods Full Service Airport.
Both 100LL and JET A airplane fuel is available for your convenience. We provide this service at your airplane so you can spend less time at the airport and more time enjoying your visit in the great Northwoods.
Commuting in Eagle River
The typical American commute has been getting longer each year since 2010. The average one-way commute in Eagle River takes 19.5 minutes. That’s shorter than the US average of 26.4 minutes.
How people in Eagle River get to work:
- 65.5% drive their own car alone
- 22.7% carpool with others
- 1.5% work from home
- 0.0% take mass transit
Colleges/universities with over 2000 students nearest to Eagle River:
- Northcentral Technical College (about 68 miles; Wausau, WI; Full-time enrollment: 3,356)
- Michigan Technological University (about 90 miles; Houghton, MI; FT enrollment: 6,078)
- University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (about 98 miles; Stevens Point, WI; FT enrollment: 9,089)
- Northern Michigan University (about 99 miles; Marquette, MI; FT enrollment: 8,258)
- Mid-State Technical College (about 109 miles; Wisconsin Rapids, WI; FT enrollment: 2,128)
- Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (about 112 miles; Green Bay, WI; FT enrollment: 6,069)
- University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (about 116 miles; Green Bay, WI; FT enrollment: 5,415)
Public high school in Eagle River:
- NORTHLAND PINES HIGH (Students: 497, Location: 1800 PLEASURE ISLAND RD, Grades: 9-12)
Public elementary/middle schools in Eagle River:
- NORTHLAND PINES ELEMENTARY-EAGLE RIVER (Students: 416, Location: 1700 PLEASURE ISLAND RD, Grades: PK-5)
- NORTHLAND PINES MIDDLE (Students: 300, Location: 1700 PLEASURE ISLAND RD, Grades: 6-8)
Private elementary/middle school in Eagle River:
- CHRIST LUTHERAN SCHOOL (Students: 51, Location: 201 N 3RD ST, Grades: PK-8)
Aspirus Eagle River Hospital is a 14 bed critical access hospital in Eagle River. There are 3 primary care physicians per 100,000 population in Eagle River compared to the statewide average of 75.6. The area is located in both a mental health and primary care Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) qualifying Eagle River as a medical desert. By 2035, Eagle River is expected to have a 92% deficit in physicians, the second largest projected deficit in Wisconsin. There are no behavioral health physicians in Eagle River.
Hospitals and medical centers in Eagle River:
- EAGLE RIVER MEMORIAL HOSPITAL (provides emergency services, 201 HOSPITAL RD PO BOX 129)
- MINISTRY EAGLE RIVER MEM HSPTL (Voluntary non-profit – Church, provides emergency services, 201 HOSPITAL RD)
- EAGLE RIVER HLTH CARE CTR (357 RIVER ST PO BOX 1149)
Outdoor Points of Interest
Our unique area is blessed with almost unimaginable natural wonders. Eagle River is geographically centered within the largest concentration of freshwater lakes in the world. There are nearly 3000 lakes within an hour’s car ride from town. Also, Eagle River is nestled between the Nicolet National Forest and the Northern Highland American Legion State Forest. In fact, there are nearly one million acres of public land for you to explore. Additionally, Vilas and Oneida Counties have 124 rivers and streams for your enjoyment. Our area is home to the World’s Largest Chain of Freshwater Lakes, the 28-Lake Eagle River Chain. The 28-Lake Chain has over 174 miles of shoreline. It spans from 5 miles southeast of the Town of Three Lakes to 1.5 miles west of the City of Eagle River. Fishing and boating are primary summer activities, our lakes are known for their trophy sized muskies but walleyes, bass, and pan fish are plentiful as well. As the seasons change, the autumn colors of our magnificent forests are truly remarkable, so bring your camera and capture the brilliant foliage. Take a boat ride on one of our plentiful lakes and pick up the beauty of the trees duplicated by their reflections on mirror-like water. Winter is time for fun in the snow -termed “white gold” by one old-timer. Eagle River was officially designated as the Snowmobile Capital of the World®, way-back in 1966. National surveys consistently rank our area among the top in the nation for recreational snowmobiling. The popularity of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing is rapidly growing as well. Skiers will find many miles of expertly groomed trails offering anywhere from a gentle terrain for beginners to hilly terrain for experts.
The people of the Eagle River area enjoy the four-season climate. We are widely known for the many events that are celebrated year around. Our four seasons are bustling with activities for everyone’s enjoyment. Choose from antique shows, marathons, craft shows, historical festivals, food festivals, etc. Also fishing, hunting, water-skiing, hiking, canoeing, kayaking and biking opportunities are abundant. The Eagle River area is a favorite destination of travelers who treasure both unlimited recreation and complete relaxation. Many who have vacationed here have chosen to relocate their businesses in Eagle River so they can experience our quality of life. Establishing a business in Eagle River offers many advantages. Among them are affordable land and housing costs, a hardworking labor force, quality schools, banks and medical facilities.
U.S. News and World Report asked a number of retirement experts for their best guesses of where the quality and cost of life would draw retirees in the future. Eagle River was named many times over, along with seven other small towns or rural areas. This small Northwood’s community has previously been ranked the #1 retirement community in Wisconsin by Rand McNally. In January 2002, Eagle River was named as one of the Top-100 retirement communities in the United States by the popular Where to Retire magazine.
SPORTS AND RECREATION
Common recreational activities include boating, camping, fishing, swimming, hunting, golfing, ice fishing, and snowmobiling. Bald eagles can be viewed here, the source of the name “Eagle” River.
Eagle River is known as the “Snowmobile Capital of the World” because of the World Championship Snowmobile Derby held for over 50 years at an ice oval on the north side of the city. There are over 500 miles of groomed snowmobile trails in the county. The World Snowmobile Headquarters and International Snowmobile Hall of Fame are located in Eagle River.
The Wisconsin Hockey Hall of Fame is in Eagle River Stadium in Eagle River. The stadium is home to the Eagle River Falcons in the GLHL. Eagle River has been the host of the Labatt Blue USA hockey pond hockey championship games. Both of these have earned Eagle River the nickname “The Hockey Capital of Wisconsin.”
Eagle River has a public golf course, located on East McKinley Street.
We’re pretty relaxed round these parts, except those few days of each year when we’re setting up a castle worthy of royalty. You heard that right. Each year, the Eagle River volunteer firefighters and volunteers from the community put in more than 700 hours of hard work to build a palace of ice by cutting nearly 3,000 12-inch-thick ice blocks from a local lake, hauling them to downtown Eagle River and stacking them into place to build the impressive structure you see here.
This popular attraction brings motorists, snowmobilers, locals and visitors hoping to see the massive 20-foot-high structure in all its glory on 116 S Railroad St. Each year brings a different shape, opaqueness and size. The castle is constructed annually (weather permitting) on the weekend closest to the New Year by the Eagle River Volunteer Fire Department. Plan your trip to come see the 2018 ice castle before it’s too late.
- Afterglow Lake Resort Trails
- Anvil Lake Trails
- Franklin Lake Trail
- Hidden Lakes Trail
- Mud Minnow Lake Trail
- Nicolet North Trails
- Nordmarka Trails
- Shannon Lake Trail
- Ski Hill Trails
- Snipe Lake and Ewald Lake Trails
- Spectacle Lake-Kentuck Lake Trail
- Tara Lila Trails
- Three Eagle Trail
- Winman Trails
- MEMORIAL DAY ARTS AND CRAFTS SHOW – MAY 28, 2022
- UP NORTH BEERFEST – JUNE 10 & 11, 2022
- 4TH OF JULY PARADE/ PARTY IN THE STREET – JULY 4, 2022
- BURGER BASH – JULY 9, 2022
- PAUL BUNYAN FEST – AUGUST 17, 2022
- NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP MUSKY OPEN – AUGUST 18 – 21, 2022
- LABOR DAY ARTS AND CRAFTS SHOW – SEPTEMBER 4, 2022
- SEPTIMBER RIDE – SEPTEMBER 10, 2022
- CRANBERRY FEST MARSH TOURS – SEPTEMBER 29 – OCTOBER 2, 2022
- CRANBERRY FEST – OCTOBER 1 – 2, 2022
- OLD FASHIONEDS UP NORTH – NOVEMBER 12, 2022
- MULES UP NORTH – MARCH 4, 2023
Great Lakes or Chains
Lower Eagle River Chain of Lakes
The Eagle River Chain of Lakes consists of 10 lakes connected by the Eagle River, and encompasses 14 miles between the two endpoints that includes 70 miles of shoreline for the system.
The two endpoints are known as the Burnt Rollways Dam at the top to the lower end where everything goes into the Wisconsin River through the Otter Rapids Dam. Since both ends consist of dams, the Chain’s water level is controlled by Wisconsin Valley Improvement Corporation at Burnt Rollways and Wisconsin Public Service at Otter Rapids where the Chain feeds the Wisconsin River.
Additional tributaries are the Deerskin River, Mud Creek, Rice Creek and the Wisconsin River.
Because the Chain is located in a busy tourist area of Wisconsin, the Chain is arguably the most high profile system in northern Wisconsin and highly sought after among recreationists and anglers. It is an integral part of Vilas County, and along the shores you will find many boat landings, public parks, motels and resorts and campgrounds.
The Eagle River side of the chain actually flows north from the Three Lakes side of the chain. It flows from Cranberry, Catfish, Voyageur, Eagle, Scattering Rice, Otter, Lynx, Duck, Yellow Birch and finally Watersmeet Lake.
The fishing on the Eagle River Chain is one of its draws. It is known for its musky fishing and it is a host for many tournaments. The bass fishing is good as is pan fishing. Walleye fishing is improving. The beauty of this chain and other chains is the structure varies from lake to lake. You can pan fish in the shallows in midday and go hit some structure late in the day.
The Eagle River side of the Chain has 15 bars and restaurants. That is a big draw for the chain. There are several sand bars to park your boat. There are boat launches on the Wisconsin River, Eagle River, Yellow Birch (T-Docks), Duck Lake, Eagle Lake, Catfish Lake (Braywood), Cranberry Lake and at the Burnt Rollways Dam. It really is a boaters paradise!
Cranberry Lake. Cranberry Lake is a 924 acre lake located in Vilas, Oneida Counties. It has a maximum depth of 23 feet. Visitors have access to the lake from a public boat landing. Fish include Musky, Panfish, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike and Walleye. The lake’s water clarity is low.
Catfish Lake. Catfish Lake is a 1012 acre lake located in Vilas County. It has a maximum depth of 30 feet. Visitors have access to the lake from a public boat landing. Fish include Musky, Panfish, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike and Walleye. Catfish Lake is the largest lake on the Eagle River side of the chain. It’s been called the “centerpiece” of the Eagle River Chain.
Voyageur Lake. Voyageur Lake is a 143 acre lake located in Vilas County. It has a maximum depth of 14 feet. Fish include Musky, Panfish, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike and Walleye.
Eagle Lake. Eagle Lake is a 575 acre lake located in Vilas County. It has a maximum depth of 34 feet. Visitors have access to the lake from a public boat landing. Fish include Musky, Panfish, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike and Walleye.
Scattering Rice. Scattering Rice Lake is a 263 acre lake located in Vilas County. It has a maximum depth of 17 feet. Visitors have access to the lake from a public boat landing. Fish include Musky, Panfish, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike and Walleye.
Otter Lake. Otter Lake is a 174 acre lake located in Vilas County. It has a maximum depth of 30 feet. Fish include Musky, Panfish, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike and Walleye. The lake’s water clarity is low.
Lynx Lake. Lynx Lake is a 307 acre lake located in Vilas County. It has a maximum depth of 48 feet. Visitors have access to the lake from a public boat landing. Fish include Musky, Panfish, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike and Walleye. The lake’s water clarity is very clear.
Duck Lake. Duck Lake is a 106 acre lake located in Vilas County. It has a maximum depth of 20 feet. Fish include Musky, Panfish, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike and Walleye. The lake’s water clarity is low.
Yellow Birch Lake. Yellow Birch Lake is conveniently located right in Eagle River. The lake is the only one on the Eagle River Chain that has a mostly sand bottom which makes it nicer for swimming than the other lakes on the chain. The shallow nutrient rich waters of Yellow Birch make for good fishing. Yellow Birch Lake is a 192 acre lake located in Vilas County. It has a maximum depth of 23 feet. Visitors have access to the lake from a public boat landing. Fish include Musky, Panfish, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike and Walleye. The lake’s water clarity is low.
Watersmeet Lake. Watersmeet Lake is a 107 acre lake located in Vilas County. It has a maximum depth of 12 feet. Fish include Musky, Panfish, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike and Walleye. The lake’s water is moderately clear.
Silver Lake. Silver Lake is a 57 acre lake located in Vilas County. It has a maximum depth of 19 feet. Visitors have access to the lake from a public boat landing. Fish include Musky, Panfish, Largemouth Bass, Northern Pike and Walleye.
Art Centers, Community Centers, and ETC
Warehouse Community Art Center
The Warehouse Community Art Center serves as Eagle River’s artistic hub, providing quality education, programming and events that explore all aspects of creativity for all ages and abilities. A variety of volunteer opportunities with flexible hours are available for anyone seeking a rewarding way to serve/give back to our community.
Eagle River Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center
The Eagle River Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center was established in 1948 by a group of local business owners. Their goal was to improve local business methods, advance area conditions and advertise and promote the growing tourism industry. Sixty-seven years later the Chamber still operates under the same philosophy.
The Eagle River area has become one of the most popular family vacation destinations in the country. Chamber Membership has grown over the years as a result of the ever- expanding business growth. Eagle River is the Vilas County seat and hub of year around recreational activities. The Chamber helps promote the area by conducting many events throughout the year. Local residents realize the value of working together and in having a forum to help facilitate controlled growth.
PRE-COVID AVERAGE PRICE AND POST-COVID AVERAGE PRICE
Pre-Covid Ave Price Sold: $128,602.63
Post-Covid Ave Price Sold: $179,899.59