Solon Springs, population 600, is a northern Wisconsin summer resort community on the west shore of Upper St. Croix Lake, 30 miles south of Superior. Originally known as White Birch when founded in 1855, the town changed its name in the early 1900s, when Thomas Solon started a spring water bottling works where Leo Creek enters the lake.
Hikers will find history beneath their boots as they walk the North Country Trail in the Solon Springs area. Four miles north of town, the trail follows the Brule-St. Croix Portage, an ancient two-mile path linking the watershed of the Great Lakes with the Mississippi River. Native people led the first European visitor, Daniel Greysolon Sieur DuLhut, over the portage. Now within the Brule River State Forest, the portage today may look much as it did when DuLhut crossed it in 1680, and as it did when used extensively in the North American fur trade era of the 1700s and early 1800s.
Hikers approaching from the west pass through the pine savanna of the Douglas County Wildlife Area and cross four-lane US Highway 53 before entering the village from the south. The trail follows marked streets past Swanson’s Motel and Campground, sometimes used as an R&R stop by thru-hikers. It also passes Jimmy’s Ice Cream Shoppe, another favorite of hikers, and the Solon Springs Historical Museum before reaching Lucius Woods County Park. The park offers a developed campground and beach area with excellent swimming and fishing, as well as hiking among large white and red pines protected within the park for more than a hundred years.
Find Solon Springs on the WI-02 section map here (Long Mile Lookout to Solon Springs).
Things to do and see
VISIT LUCIUS WOODS COUNTY PARK which is also home to the LUCIUS WOODS PERFORMING ARTS CENTER. In a large bandshell built of native pine above the lake shore, weekend concerts in July and August bring popular regional entertainers to the community. You might hear an area symphony, a Chicago blues band, or a Minnesota bluegrass group if you visit on a Saturday evening.
STOP AT THE MAIN BUSINESS DISTRICT: North of the park is the main business district, with a grocery store, post office, K D’s Restaurant, a small public library in the village hall, and a branch of the Superior-based National Bank of Commerce with 24 hour ATM.
VISIT THE DOUGLAS COUNTY FORESTRY DEPARTMENT: Just west of the park, across Business Highway 53, is the headquarters of the Douglas County Forestry Department, with area maps and information. A large hardware/outdoor store, Solon Springs Mercantile, is about a mile away near US 53. Also near the highway are a gas/convenience store and dollar store.
The trail follows pine-shaded streets north past summer cabins until reaching County Highway A, where it leaves the developed area. Just a few miles ahead are the Brule Bog Boardwalk, which takes the trail through the unique cedar wetland where the St. Croix and Bois Brule rivers rise, and then the Brule-St. Croix Portage.
Trail campsites are located about a mile in each direction from the community – south at Leo Creek, north at Aden Creek.
Both the Village of Solon Springs and the surrounding Town of Solon Springs are members of the NCTA Trail Town Program. Whether you come to hike for an afternoon or pass through on a long-distance trek, they welcome you to enjoy the scenery and hospitality of northwest Wisconsin. You’re also welcomed by the North Country Trail Association’s Brule-St. Croix Chapter, maintaining and developing the trail in the Solon Springs area.
Village and Town of Solon Springs
Brule-St. Croix Chapter, NCTA
Brule River State Forest
Friends of the Bird Sanctuary
Lucius Woods County Park
Lucius Woods Performing Arts Center
Joan Salmen Library
Solon Springs Historical Museum
Solon Springs Mercantile
Swanson’s Motel and Campground