Vilas County Information Guide

Vilas County is in the northern most section of Wisconsin. The earliest inhabitants were the Chippewa Native Americans. The first trading post was established in 1818. It became an official county in 1893. It was named for Wisconsin Senator William Vilas.

Vilas County has self-defined it as part of the Wisconsin Northwoods. The Northwoods consist of five counties: Oneida, Lincoln, Langlade, Forest and Vilas.

Immediately to the north of Vilas County is Upper Michigan. Further north, about 160 miles, is Lake Superior. They are part of the Lake Superior Snowbelt which keeps them
covered in feets of snow each winter.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Vilas County has

  • Total area of 1,018 square miles (16% covered in water)
  • 857 square miles of land
  • Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
  • Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest
  • 1,318 lakes
  • Water drains to Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River