The Best of the Outdoors 2022: Hiking, Biking, Camping, and More

We asked about the best spots to be active in the Chippewa Valley. Here’s what you said

V1 Staff, photos by Andrea Paulseth

RIDE ON. The Chippewa River State Trail, which runs between Eau Claire and Durand, was voted the Best Trail for Biking by Volume One readers.
RIDE ON. The Chippewa River State Trail, which runs between Eau Claire and Durand, was voted the Best Trail for Biking by Volume One readers.

Each year for the past 15 years, we’ve asked readers to vote on their favorite things, people, and places in the Chippewa Valley. Here are the winners in the outdoor-related parts of our most recent Best of the Chippewa Valley Reader Poll.  


1st Place: Stoney Creek

2nd Place: O’Neil Creek Campground

3rd Place: Coon Fork County Park

Stoney Creek RV Resort (50483 Oak Grove Road, Osseo) is terrific family-run campground with more than 160 overnight sites. For a full range of fun activities as you camp, check out O’Neil Creek Campground (14912 105th Ave., Chippewa Falls). And summertime and off-season camping are available to camping die-hards at Coon Fork County Park (E25501 County Hwy. CF, Augusta). –Sawyer Hoff


1st Place: Chippewa River State Trail

2nd Place: Old Abe State Trail

3rd Place: Red Cedar State Trail

Readers voted the Chippewa River State Trail to the top, which is no surprise with its beautiful views of the Confluence, peaceful prairies, and sandstone bluffs. The Old Abe State Trail, running from downtown Eau Claire all the way to Cornell, offers riders the chance to view a truly freeing experience. Running 14.5 miles, the Red Cedar State Trail begins in Menomonie and passes through marshland bottoms, forests, and farmlands before connecting with the Chippewa River State Trail. –Parker Reed


1st Place: Chippewa Moraine Ice Age Trail

2nd Place: Beaver Creek Reserve

3rd Place: Hoffman Hills State Recreation Area

The Chippewa Moraine Ice Age Trail (13395 County Hwy. M, New Auburn) features barrens, bogs, dolomite, and more continental glaciation structures that will take you back into the Ice Age. Beaver Creek Reserve (S1 County Hwy. K, Fall Creek) trails pass through 400 acres worth of wildlife and more. Last but not least, Hoffman Hills State Recreation Area (740th St., Menomonie) allows visitors to explore over 700 acres of prairie and wetland ecosystems. Don’t forget to visit the 60-foot observation tower in summer, because it’s closed for winter.  –Kelly Carlson


1st Place: Big Falls County Park

2nd Place: Ray’s Beach on Lake Wissota

3rd Place: Lake Wazee

Is there sand in my eyes or am I seeing this right?! Big Falls County Park (600 Big Falls Forest Road, Fall Creek) claimed first on the list for best beach once again! It must be the timeless beauty of nature that leaves people wanting more. Now, from the South Side of Lake Wissota to reclaiming second is Ray’s Beach (18124 County Hwy. X, Chippewa Falls). It’s sticking to the hearts of the community, like the sand inside your swimsuit! And finally, back again in third is Lake Wazee (N6302 Brockway Road, Black River Falls). Whether you’re looking to canoe/kayak, swim, or lounge, this beach is nothing but fun in the sun.  –Reonna Huettner


1st Place: Lake Wissota

2nd Place: Chippewa River

3rd Place: Lake Holcombe

Grab your boat, pontoon, or personal watercraft and hit up beautiful Lake Wissota in Chippewa Falls for some of the best action on the water. Even though the reference to it in Titanic wasn’t exactly accurate, it’s still beautiful year-round.  Splash around or lay down a towel on its sandy beach and catch some rays. Looking to kayak, canoe, or tube? The Chippewa River is the perfect place to relax and enjoy scenic beauty. But if fishing is what you desire, you must check out the waters of the gorgeous Lake Holcombe filled with all the greats: walleye, musky, panfish, bass, and more. –Jen Ekblad