Donate today: make a difference
Join the community of caretakers
Help preserve Wisconsin's State Natural Areas for future generations. Give to the Endangered Resources Fund today!
Donate today: make a difference
a natural area by name.
a natural area by county.
Explore outdoors
and find places to go.
Use our interactive map
to find natural areas.
and help care for SNAs.
Contact information
For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
Thomas Meyer
Natural areas conservation biologist

Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program North Fork Eau Claire River (No. 525)

North Fork Eau Claire River

Photo by Aaron Carlson



Within Eau Claire County Forest. T26N-R5W, Sections 2, 3, 10, 11. T27N-R5W, Sections 26, 27, 34. 367 acres.



North Fork Eau Claire River features a 3-mile stretch of the north fork from just north of Hamilton Falls to just south of the confluence with Beeman Creek. This warm-water drainage stream flows from Clark County southwest into the main branch of the Eau Claire River. Most of the site focuses on the river and adjacent cliff communities, although the southern portion extends to cover oxbows, islands, and adjacent meadows and savannas. This relatively wild reach contains several rare aquatic invertebrates including the sand snaketail dragonfly (Ophiogomphus smithi). The cliffs and steep-sided terraces harbor many more rare to uncommon plants and animals. These types of natural communities have received little recognition for their ecological reference attributes in the past. Cooperative recognition between Eau Claire County and the State Natural Area Program will provide long-term protection of this unique resource. North Fork Eau Claire River is owned by Eau Claire County and was designated a State Natural Area in 2007.


Driving directions

This area is best seen by canoe.


North Fork Eau Claire River is owned by:

  • Eau Claire County


The DNR's state natural areas program is comprised of lands owned by the state, private conservation organizations, municipalities, other governmental agencies, educational institutions and private individuals. While the majority of SNAs are open to the public, access may vary according to individual ownership policies. Public use restrictions may apply due to public safety, or to protect endangered or threatened species or unique natural features. Lands may be temporarily closed due to specific management activities. Users are encouraged to contact the landowner for more specific details.

The data shown on these maps have been obtained from various sources, and are of varying age, reliability, and resolution. The data may contain errors or omissions and should not be interpreted as a legal representation of legal ownership boundaries.


Very few State Natural Areas have public facilities, but nearly all are open for a variety of recreational activities as indicated below. Generally, there are no picnic areas, restrooms, or other developments. Parking lots or designated parking areas are noted on individual SNA pages and maps. Trails, if present, are typically undesignated footpaths. If a developed trail is present, it will normally be noted on the SNA map and/or under the "Access" tab. A compass and topographic map or a GPS unit are useful tools for exploring larger, isolated SNAs.

Non-DNR lands

Hunting and trapping

This is a non-DNR owned SNA: Opportunities for hunting and trapping depend on the land owner. Please contact them directly to find out about their rules for hunting and trapping. You can find a link to other owner websites under the "Resource links" heading above. More details regarding allowable uses of this non-DNR owned SNA may be posted, if available, under the "Access" tab above.

Back to Top

Prohibited activities

  • Horseback riding
  • Rock climbing
  • Vehicles, including bicycles, ATVs, aircraft, and snowmobiles except on trails and roadways designated for their use
  • Collecting of animals, non-edible fungi, rocks, minerals, fossils, archaeological artifacts, soil, downed wood, or any other natural material, alive or dead. Collecting for scientific research requires a permit issued by the DNR
  • Collecting of plants including seeds, roots or other non-edible parts of herbaceous plants such as wildflowers or grasses
  • Camping and campfires
  • Geocaching

For rules governing state-owned SNAs and other state lands, please consult Chapter NR 45 Wis. Admin. Code [exit DNR]

Last revised: Thursday, March 26, 2015