Hipcamp host Dean W.,
Hosted by

Winter camping info:  I will open availability for winter camping but depending on the snow amounts we get here in "Big Snow Country", you may have to hike 1/2 mile to the campsite instead of 1/4 mile.  If the snow is too deep, I will have a parking area plowed in the gravel pit and then it's a matter of following the signs to your campsite. Please ask any questions you may


Winter camping info:  I will open availability for winter camping but depending on the snow amounts we get here in "Big Snow Country", you may have to hike 1/2 mile to the campsite instead of 1/4 mile.  If the snow is too deep, I will have a parking area plowed in the gravel pit and then it's a matter of following the signs to your campsite. Please ask any questions you may have. Thanks!

IMPORTANT: If you book this campsite, you will receive detailed directions and other important information after you make your booking. PLEASE make sure you log into your Hipcamp account to read that. Thanks.

If you’re looking for a campsite where you can interact or see other campers, this campsite isn’t for you. You will have LOTS of privacy here.

This is a sister site to 2 of my other sites on the same 40 acres along the Bad River; "Eagle Pines on the Bad River" and "A Tree Tent on the Bad River".   In the national forest, there is no camping allowed within 75 feet of water but here you will be camping about 15 feet from the water. This is a hike to tent site that is less than 1/4 mile and should take about 5 minutes to hike to camp. There is a canoe and paddles for you to use at the campsite but I have no life jackets so bring those if you prefer to use them. The river is only about 2 or 3 feet deep in most of the river. You can also canoe/kayak to this site and If you choose to do that please message me for details on that. This will be a primitive tent site with a pit toilet with a toilet seat, a fire ring and grill, and a bow saw to cut firewood you locate nearby.  I'll also have some large blocks of wood cut to use for sitting on around the fire. There is plenty of dead and down firewood to collect in the nearby woods.

Within a 5 minute hike are one of the nearby waterfalls and with another 1/2 mile hike is another set of falls. If you're more adventurous, there is the largest falls in the general area that is about a 2 1/2 mile hike each way on the abandoned railroad tracks. Or, you can drive to within a 3/4 mile hike of this falls by driving north of Cayuga on Hwy 13 and turning left/West on the next road (Forest Road 184/Conley Road) and driving west until you come to the bridge and tracks and parking there to hike 3/4 north on the railroad tracks. Cross 3 railroad bridges and look for the trail on the left about 100 yards north of the 3rd bridge.

I’ll have a map for hiking in an ammo can at the campsite.  

There is enough room to place at least six 2/3 person tents and room to place larger tents. 

There are Brook Trout in the river and the best way to catch them is with a #1 spinner or with a sinker and worms.

There is no Poison Ivy, no Poison Oak, and no poisonous snakes or spiders in this area.  

Bears or bear sign have never been seen at the campsite because campers have been very good about having no food in their tents or eating in the tents.  There is a 3 gallon ammo can at the campsite to use for storing food.  If you have food waste or food wrappers, please burn it completely in the fire ring.  

I have now extended the hiking trail past the first waterfalls that will follow the river and eventually lead to the railroad tracks instead of having to backtrack on the same trail to get back to the tracks. Then, once you get to the tracks, if you turn right you will head towards waterfalls #2 and if you turn left you will head back towards the campsite.  The hiking map won't reflect the trail extension.  

This is the woods and wilderness, not a populated campground where there is an insect control program.  The bugs could be minimal or they could be bad since this is a woods.  Insect numbers depend on many variables including how much rain we've had, how cold or warm the weather is, or insect hatch efficiency.  I'm sorry but I cannot control how good or bad the bugs are.  

I will set the refund policy for 100% up to 3 days prior to check in.  Please do a check on the weather outlook at least 3 days before you arrive to see if the weather will be nice for at least part of your stay.  If you cancel within 3 days before your arrival, I am sorry but the system won't provide a refund.  If you need to cancel, please cancel at least 3 days prior to your arrival date so you can be refunded and others can have a better chance to schedule a stay.  Thank you for understanding this. 

There are numerous signs posted for directions to the campsite and the waterfalls.  IMPORTANT: Detailed directions should be provided after you book but, do not turn at the blue address sign, turn right 150 feet past the blue address sign to get to the parking area.  Please read the directions carefully.  Thanks.  There are good options for hammock trees also.

The Drop Tine Bar & Grill in Cayuga 1  1/2 miles away from the parking area has great food and drinks.  They're open at 3 Tuesday-Wednesday and Noon Friday-Sunday. They’re closed Mondays and Thursdays..

As a heads-up, this probably isn’t a good campsite if you need to have many items at the site that you would have to carry from your vehicle. It’s a 1/4 mile hike over irregular terrain from the parking area to the campsite. There are wet areas, rough/rocky areas, and hills on the path to the campsite. There is no paved or gravel path. I’ll include pictures of the trail in the image group.

So that you are aware;  Hipcamp will be adding a "service fee" (15-20%) when you complete the booking to cover their site management and other things that is somewhat a high %.  I believe it's excessive and I just realized they did this in March 2021.  I don't get any of this service fee and they also take an additional 10% from the price I list to cover the $1 million in insurance for you.  The total % Hipcamp gets is 25-30% which I and other folks that offer campsites do not appreciate as we have discussed this on social media sites for Hipcamp hosts.  I am very sorry for this and I will do everything I can to ensure you enjoy this very special wilderness on the Bad River.    

Campsite area
Bring your own tents
1 site
Up to 14 guests per site
Walk to listing
No wheelchair access
Campfires allowed
Toilet available
Pets allowed
Kitchen available
No potable water
No showers
No picnic table
No wifi
Pack it out
Laundry absent
Have a question? Send Dean a message!
  • Check in: After 12PM
  • Check out: Before 11AM
  • Cancellation policy: Moderate
  • On arrival: Go straight to camp
  • Minimum nights: 1 night
  • Accepts bookings: 9 months out


Offered on the Host's property or nearby.


Great mountain biking on the nearby forest roads and ATV trails.


Brook Trout fishing is good in the nearby deeper pools.


There is a canoe for you to use at the campsite. Please turn the canoe upside down when you’re done using it and secure it to ...Read more

Off-roading (OHV)

Within 1 mile of the main ATV trail to Clam Lake and Hayward.


Natural features you'll find at Balsam Shores on the Bad River in Wisconsin.


Just a few minutes of hiking to the nearby waterfalls.

River, stream, or...
Swimming hole

Places to see near Bad River Wilderness

15 Reviews

This listing has no reviews yet.
If you stayed here and have some insider info for us, let us know!
Hipcamper Morgan

Great spot, hike in

Morgan H.
recommends this listing.
October 14th, 2021

Great stay, great spot! Dean had dry firewood ready for us when we got there. Only comment is that it’s a 1/4 mile HIKE in, it’s definitely a hike (uneven terrain, small trail, etc). We had a great time!

Hipcamper Stephanie

Off the beaten track (literally)

Stephanie D.
recommends this listing.
October 8th, 2021

Very peaceful, well-marked path to the site. Fall colors were starting to turn, so it was extra gorgeous, especially at the waterfalls

Hipcamper Christy


Christy B.
recommends this listing.
October 5th, 2021

Gorgeous, private site. And you can't ask for a lovelier host- many little touches to make us welcome & comfortable!

Hipcamper Shannon


Shannon P.
recommends this listing.
September 1st, 2021

It was a wonderful spot! So peaceful and beautiful. I would definitely stay here again. I would love to check out the tree tent next time.

Hipcamper Roam

Such a lovely place to stay!

Roam W.
recommends this listing.
August 28th, 2021

I loved this campsite. It was beautiful. There was plenty of wood that was easy to collect for fires. The waterfall was absolutely beautiful. There weren't many bugs pestering us. It's in a nice location for getting to the places we were visiting. It was quiet and peaceful. I expected the tree tent site would have people in it but there wasn't anyone there, so it was nice to not have to worry about that. It was nice being by the river. There were so many frogs, it was a fun entertainment feature. There were so many beautiful tall trees. It was such a joy to spend a few nights there.

I can name downsides, but none of them were deal breakers or things that would deter me from coming back. The fire pit is small, which sometimes was a little bit of a hassle, but it was clear that design had a purpose and does help with cooking food. It just took an adjustment. The water in the river was too low for canoeing, which was a slight bummer, but that's weather related, not something controllable. Was not a huge loss when it comes to enjoying the site. There were some wasps, but they didn't cause much issue, just something to be aware of. The frogs like to jump on your tent at night, which is comical. The neighbor's dog barks in the distance, but that helped with feeling safe from bears. The carrying things a quarter mile was a bit of a hassle, especially with the terrain being up and down, rocky and has a lot of dips. But it was very manageable. I was definitely worried about that part when booking. The only concern I have about that part of it is if you were to get stuck in a thunderstorm, trying to get back to your car in a heavy rain would be really difficult. There are so many parts of the path that in a wet scenario could result in some minor injuries and could be prevented by trying to fill in the big dips in the ground or some wood to go over them. But I anticipate the owner is building this up into a location with many camping sites to enjoy, so I am confident the path will likely improve a bit with time and get safer to traverse in the dark or the rain. I was glad I brought toilet paper since the stuff that was there was all wet. The pit toilet was nice to have.

I had a wonderful time at this site. I would recommend it 100%. The only hesitancy I would have on recommending it is just in the ups and downs of the path getting to the site, if someone isn't agile and able to handle it, that's the only situation in which I would not recommend it. There are some very tiny downsides, which you will get anywhere you go, but they were very very very minor and the waterfall on the property by far outweighs them all. It was such a nice feature to have. It was about 10 minutes to walk from the campsite to the waterfall on the property. It was so beautiful and is a wonderful way to start the day.

The owner had a saw, rake, grill grate, and metal box at the site. There are three logs for seating, so bring chairs if you want somewhere comfy to sit. You can tell a lot of thought was put into putting this together. The tree tent site is very close nearby, but you can't see it when you are at the site. We only saw it when we walked the path to get to the waterfall.

I really enjoyed this site. I fully intend on booking this site again in the future. I liked it a lot and definitely want to go back. It is such a gem!

Plenty of space for a tent or even twoBalsam Shores on the Bad RiverView from the siteBalsam Shores on the Bad River
Hipcamper Jay
Jay S.
recommends this listing.
August 17th, 2021

Great spot. Great communication from host. Helpful directions and description of the area. Can’t beat a canoe ride down the Bad River at sunset.

Balsam Shores on the Bad RiverBalsam Shores on the Bad RiverBalsam Shores on the Bad RiverBalsam Shores on the Bad River
Hipcamper Jacob

Nice stay!

Jacob G.
recommends this listing.
August 16th, 2021

Good campsite with a nice canoe and easy access to the river. The campsite feels very secluded but a little less when both other campsites are occupied on the river. We had brief interactions with the other campsites while canoeing. The river is nice and there is a decent amount of it that you can canoe directly from the campsite. We also did the 2.5 mile hike up the train tracks to the largest waterfall and found it to be a workout! Dean was nice enough to leave wood for us (I would suggest bringing a hatchet to chop the wood into smaller pieces as the bow saw is kind of hard to use). The bugs weren’t terrible as long as you are on top of using bug spray. Overall the site was perfect for a few day getaway

Hipcamper Tina

Lovely site on the river

Tina U.
recommends this listing.
August 1st, 2021

This is a really sweet spot. It's a short hike from the parking area to the camp, but footing is challenging, i.e. rocks, roots, a couple of big steps. The site is large and level with a great spot for your tent. There's a small fire receptacle, three log stools, and one plastic lawn chair. Bring your bag chairs if you want a comfortable place to sit. Plenty of hammocking trees.

The river is quiet and shallow. Lots of frogs and a few snakes. Mosquitoes but managable. We could occasionally hear our neighbors at the Tree Tent site but only saw them when they canoed past.

The pit toilet is great! Actual toilet seat and surrounded by camo tarp. Bring toilet paper as what was there was rather damp.

We hiked down the railroad tracks to the large waterfall. It took us about an hour. Totally worth the effort! The second waterfall/rapids is a beautiful spot too. More accessible with big flat rocks where you can sit and watch the water.

The owner has clearly thought this through and it's wonderful that he can share this beautiful country with us. All in all, a very peaceful and pleasant stay. Recommend!

Hipcamper Grant
Grant C.
recommends this listing.
July 26th, 2021

Dean was kind enough to leave a pile of firewood for us when he heard we were arriving late. Saved us a lot of trouble on the first night. The spot is beautiful, the canoe was perfect, and the mosquitoes responded to bug spray just fine. It’s a little work humping our stuff in but nothing unmanageable. Great time!

Bad River Wilderness
United States
1 Site

Lists including Balsam Shores on the Bad River

74 camps including Camping Off The Grid and Primrose Meadows