Tucked in the tall pines, surrounded by lakes and rivers, stretched out below starry skies sits St. Germain, Wisconsin. This outdoor and wilderness lovers paradise is a short enough drive to remain easily reachable, but far enough outside of major metros to truly feel like you’re escaping into the woods.
Anglers and paddlers will love the seemingly endless lake, pond and river options found around St. Germain—from the lakeside resorts to the quiet shores where you’ll have room to spread out. The Heart of Vilas County Trail awaits cyclists looking to explore a new path, and top quality ATV and snowmobile trails await visitors looking for a rush, no matter the season. But, St Germain isn’t just filled with picnic tables and campgrounds, there are some remarkable local restaurants, bars and breweries ready to entertain whatever appetite you may bring to the table.
The first white man to set foot on Wisconsin soil was Jean Nicolet, who was sent here by Samuel Champlain, Governor of New France, Canada. The idea at the time was to find a short route westward to India and China. In July, 1634, furnished with a few imperfect maps, Nicolet set out in a canoe to make peace with the Indians and open new territory. Many priests followed and Father Claude Allouez built the first chapel in Wisconsin in 1665, near Ashland and Washburn.
Following the priests and missionaries were the fur traders who heard of the vast amount of furs in this area. Notable among the fur traders was Nicholas Perrot, who in 1665 began a career of exploration and discovery in Wisconsin, which lasted more than 30 years…to about 1695. The king of France staged a pageant on the far shores of Sault St. Marie, at which the representatives, Simon Francois Daumont and Sieur de St. Luson, took possession of all the Western country for the French sovereignty. Nicholas Perrot was notified in advance to have all Wisconsin tribesmen send their chiefs for this great occasion, and there they persuaded the Indians to let them annex this country to France. Later Nicholas Perrot became governor general of the new French territory west of Lake Michigan. He built a number of French posts. As long as he ruled in the West, the French trade and influence was supreme. Many Frenchmen came to this territory and manned these posts. The traders were licensed by the French government and were under strict regulations. Unlicensed traders went farther into the wilderness, traded his wares with the Indians and sold his furs to the Hudson Bay Co. This caused so much trouble that the French governor revoked all licenses and in 1696 ordered all posts evacuated and all traders and soldiers to return to Ottawa, New France. Some of the soldiers, among them Jean Francois St. Germaine who had married an Indian maiden, rather than return to New France and face charges, deserted the garrison and settled with the tribe of which his wife was a member.
Many years passed of which there seems to be no record of the St. Germaine family. Later we find many members of the St. Germaine family with the Lac du Flambeau band of Indians, whose chief was Keesh-ke-mum, or Sharpened Stone, who was one of the greatest Chippewa Chiefs. The Chippewa sold all their lands by treaty in 1842 but continued living in the area. Later they moved to the Lac du Flambeau reservation as the white man moved into the territory. One of the first white men to settle in this area was James Lynch, a Canadian, who came here in 1842 to trap. He married an Indian maiden named Ramona. Nine children were born to the couple; the oldest was Biddie who later married a St. Germaine from Lac du Flambeau.
In 1857, the U.S. government sent surveyors into the area. Their records show that Big St. Germain Lake was named St. Germain Lake by the Indians. Records also show an Indian burial ground on the south shore of the lake.
In August of 1857, John Curran and Dutch Pete came up the Wisconsin River by canoe from Merrill to Eagle River, with many portages over the rapids. They mention passing St. Germain Creek (now Rhinelander) and Otter Rapids (near Eagle River). According to Mr. Curran, the St. Germain Lake was named for a beautiful Indian princess whose tribe camped on their shores.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 40.0 square miles (103.7 km2), of which, 34.0 square miles (88.1 km2) of it is land and 6.0 square miles (15.6 km2) of it (15.09%) is water.
The population in St. Germain is 2,166. There are 64 people per square mile aka population density. The median age in St. Germain is 54.1, the US median age is 37.4. The number of people per household in St. Germain is 2.1, the US average of people per household is 2.6.
Family in St. Germain
- 65.7% are married
- 9.8% are divorced
- 18.5% are married with children
- 8.0% have children, but are single
Race in St. Germain
- 92.1% are white
- 0.0% are black
- 0.4% are asian
- 0.3% are native american
- 0.0% claim Other
- 6.8% claim Hispanic Ethnicity
- 0.4% Two or More Races
- 0.0% Hawaiian, Pacific Islander
In the town, the population was spread out, with 18.4% under the age of 18, 3.7% from 18 to 24, 22.4% from 25 to 44, 30.5% from 45 to 64, and 25.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 50 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.8 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $32,969, and the median income for a family was $41,815. Males had a median income of $34,500 versus $21,417 for females. The per capita income for the town was $21,755. About 6.3% of families and 8.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.0% of those under age 18 and 6.8% of those age 65 or over.
Airports near Saint Germain, WI
- Lakeland Airport – 14 miles: Woodruff, WI (ARV / KARV)
- Eagle River Union Airport – 15 miles: Eagle River, WI (EGV / KEGV)
- Kings Land O’ Lakes Airport – 29 miles: Land O lakes, WI (KLNL / LNL)
Public elementary/middle school in St. Germain:
- NORTHLAND PINES ELEMENTARY-ST GERMAIN (Students: 131, Location: 8234 HIGHWAY 70 W, Grades: PK-5)
Colleges/universities with over 2000 students nearest to St. Germain:
- Northcentral Technical College (about 66 miles; Wausau, WI; Full-time enrollment: 3,356)
- Michigan Technological University (about 94 miles; Houghton, MI; FT enrollment: 6,078)
- University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (about 97 miles; Stevens Point, WI; FT enrollment: 9,089)
- Mid-State Technical College (about 108 miles; Wisconsin Rapids, WI; FT enrollment: 2,128)
- Northern Michigan University (about 109 miles; Marquette, MI; FT enrollment: 8,258)
- Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College (about 118 miles; Shell Lake, WI; FT enrollment: 2,414)
- Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (about 119 miles; Green Bay, WI; FT enrollment: 6,069)
Hospitals and medical centers near St. Germain:
- DR KATE’S WOODLAND MANOR (Nursing Home, about 9 miles away; WOODRUFF, WI)
- DAVITA – NORTHERN STAR DIALYSIS (Dialysis Facility, about 11 miles away; WOODRUFF, WI)
- EAGLE RIVER MEMORIAL HOSPITAL (Hospital, about 12 miles away; EAGLE RIVER, WI)
- EAGLE RIVER HLTH CARE CTR (Nursing Home, about 12 miles away; EAGLE RIVER, WI)
- AVANTI HEALTH AND REHABILITATION CENTER, LLC (Nursing Home, about 13 miles away; MINOCQUA, WI)
Outdoor Points of Interest
Time can seem to stand still when the early-morning mist hangs over the lake and your canoe glides across tranquil waters. Or in the still of a hunter’s blind, listening to your breath as everything else fades away. Make no mistake, it’s a different world in St. Germain. And with thousands of acres of lakes surrounded by the vast Northwoods, there’s plenty of room for everyone. We’ve got trails galore for hiking and biking, and of course we’re well known as a preferred destination for snowmobiling. It’s an outdoorsman’s paradise here, and you can count on St. Germain to make it memorable — each and every time you visit.
Snowmobiling. It’s no secret that St. Germain is a snowmobiling destination. With the largest snowmobiling club in Wisconsin, the Northwoods offers over 100 miles of trails to explore. Zoom through powdery fields and along ice-covered lakes to sample some of St. Germain’s most beautiful and rural backcountry.
Biking. Discover the best of the Northwoods and ride the Vilas County Paved Bike Trail System. With over 50 miles of paved trails, winding through landscapes forged by glaciers, alongside crystal clear lakes, this path connects five communities and joins over 83,000 miles of National Recreational Trails.
Hiking. Meander along pastoral lakes, beside covered creeks, and through lush and verdant balsam fir forests. Explore dozens of local trails surrounded by stunning views, and fit for all experience levels. From the Awassa Trail to Fern Ridge and Shannon Lake Trails, there’s something for everyone.
Water Activities. With thousands of acres of lakes, rivers and streams, there’s no shortage of waterways to explore in the Northwoods. Paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking, tubing, wakeboarding, swimming, skiing, and beyond — a day of play is never far away. Discover the many ways to experience St. Germain by water.
Fishing. A trip to the Northwoods would not be complete without a day spent on the water. With pristine waterways, qualified outfitters, and numerous tournaments in the region, St. Germain is an avid angler’s paradise. Make memorable experiences on the water and cast a line to reel in world-class catches.
ATV or UTV. Explore St. Germain’s scenic backcountry by ATV or UTV and discover untouched natural beauty like none other. Follow along trails and off-roads as they lead you through forests of towering pines, along placid lakes and serene streams, surrounded by some of the nation’s most pristine wilderness.
Trails to Explore
Take a break from the hustle and bustle this summer in St. Germain, Wisconsin. From the serenity of being surrounded by tall trees, quiet waters, and acres of lakes in the Northwoods, you can be sure to find your dream vacation.
Heart of Vilas County Bike Trail. Known as one of the best ways to explore Vilas County on two wheels, the Heart of Vilas County Bike Trail system has two different segments that roll through St. Germain. The heart trail system offers more than 52 miles of paved trails and is recognized as the national recreation trail and winds through the Northern Highland American Legion Forest and along crystal clear lakes and rivers! Don’t miss out on this fun trail while visiting St. Germain!
Awassa Nature Preserve & Hiking Trail. For a hike through billowing trees that provide a ton of great shade, make sure to check out the Awassa Nature Preserve & Hiking Trail. This is an easy beginner trail that meanders through 230 acres of mature pines, oaks, maples and balsam fir. There are four different loops on the trail: Maple Loop, Red Oak Loop, Pinewood Loop, and the Aspen Loop. These segments are open to the walkers, runners and hikers during the summer months!
Fern Ridge Trail. Enjoy the wide variety of wildflowers, trees, and non-flowering plants on the Fern Ridge Trail. This is an 1.4 mile intermediate level trail just for hikers and is known for the secluded and tranquil forest setting. If you’re looking to take a break and take it all in…don’t worry! There are plenty of benches throughout the park to rest and enjoy all of the serenity surrounding you.
Shannon Lake Trail. The Shannon Lake Trail, just north of St. Germain has four different trails for beginners to intermediate hikers and bikers alike: Red loop, Blue/Red loop, Red/Yellow loop, Blue/Yellow loop, and the Green/Red loop. This trail runs through areas that were logged in 1976 and 2000 and winds through a large variety of the northern hardwoods that makes for a picturesque stroll.
Great Lakes or Chains
St. Germain, Wisconsin is one of the more popular areas to visit in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. There is so much to do here for the outdoorsman with the area lakes and pristine wilderness. With it being sandwiched between Arbor Vitae and Eagle River, you have plenty of stores, restaurants and accommodations close by to go along with some very good multi-species lakes right in town.
There are several good muskie lakes in the St. Germain area. Many anglers come here to fish for muskie and there are some very big fish reported from the area lakes every year. This area produces fish in the low to mid 40 inch range routinely and fish up to 50 inches are possible here. Walleye are popular here with reports of good catches on several of the lakes. On some of the bigger lakes, there is some trophy potential too. St. Germain has become a much better largemouth bass fishing destination than it used to be many years ago. On many of the lakes, largemouth bass are a secondary species of fish, but there are several lakes that do offer some pretty good fishing for largemouth bass. Northern pike, smallmouth bass, crappie and bluegill round out the fishery here and depending on the lake you choose to fish, you may be able to get into some nice panfish, smallmouth bass or northern pike.
Big St. Germain Lake. Big Saint Germain Lake is a 1622 acre lake located in Vilas County. It has a maximum depth of 42 feet. Visitors have access to the lake from one public boat landing. Fish include muskie, walleye, northern pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, trout and panfish. The lake’s water is moderately clear.
Little St. Germain Lake. Little Saint Germain Lake is a 972 acre lake located in Vilas County. It has a maximum depth of 53 feet. Visitors have access to the lake from a public boat landing. Fish include muskie, walleye, northern pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and panfish.
Lost Lake. Lost Lake is a 539 acre lake located in Vilas County. It has a maximum depth of 20 feet. Visitors have access to the lake from one public boat landing. Fish include muskie, walleye, northern pike, largemouth bass and panfish.
Found Lake. Found Lake is a 336 acre lake located in Vilas County. It has a maximum depth of 21 feet. Visitors have access to the lake from one public boat landing. Fish include muskie, walleye, northern pike, largemouth bass and panfish.
Lake Content. Lake Content is a 239 acre lake located in Vilas County. It has a maximum depth of 42 feet. Fish include muskie, walleye, northern pike, largemouth bass and panfish.
Moon Lake. Moon Lake is a 131 acre lake located in Vilas County. It has a maximum depth of 38 feet. Fish include Musky, Panfish, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike and Walleye. The lake’s water is moderately clear.
Stella Lake. Stella Lake is a 95 acre lake located in Vilas County. It has a maximum depth of 9 feet. Visitors have access to the lake from a public boat landing. Fish include Panfish, Largemouth Bass and Northern Pike.
Art Centers, Community Centers, and ETC
St. Germain Community Center located at 545 Hwy. 155
The town facilities may be used by town organizations and individuals with advance planning and permission.
St. Germain Community Park
St. Germain Community Park offers outdoor recreation and nature preservation. A public space open to the general public, the Park offers open spaces under the maintenance of the Saint Germain Parks Department.
Snowmobile Hall of Fame and Museum
Stop in and see historic sleds, trophies, clothing and Ramstad Photo Collection. The museum is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the rich and exciting history of snowmobiling at both the recreational and competitive levels through the operation of a museum, hall of fame and library for the sport. Annual inductions honor the men and women that have played significant roles at the racing venues, design and manufacturing arenas, local clubs, state associations and national organizations.
Average Home Price Sold
2018 Ave Price Sold: $233,810.77
2021 Ave Price Sold: $361,114.55
2023 Ave Price Sold: $411,436.91