Brunet Island State Park, on the Chippewa and Fisher rivers, offers more than 1,300 acres of scenic beauty, wildlife and recreational opportunities. Quiet lagoons and channels are excellent for canoeing and wildlife watching. The landscape in Chippewa County is a product of the most recent Ice Age. The rolling terrain carries a wide variety of forest types and is home to a multitude of wildlife.
Activities and recreation
There are more than 8 miles of hiking trails at Brunet Island, including nearly two miles of the Ice Age national Scenic Trail. Geocaching has become a popular activity at Brunet Island and there are a variety of caches located within the park.
There is a 1-mile hike/bike only trail link from the park entrance to the Old Abe State Trail, which runs from Cornell to Chippewa Falls. Bicycles are allowed on park roads and trails, except for the Jean Brunet Nature trail. The 2-mile main road through the park includes a designated bicycle and pedestrian lane.
The South Campground has 24 sites with electricity. A campsite accessible for people with disabilities and a shower building with flush toilets are in this campground.
The North Campground has no electric service, but many of the 45 campsites are on the shoreline of the Chippewa River or its bays.
Buoys and ropes for your safety mark the swimming area. Only coast guard approved flotation devices are allowed in the beach area. Please, no food or beverages on the beach. Pets are not allowed in the beach or picnic areas. No lifeguards are provided, so swim at your own risk.
Boating, canoeing and kayaking
The island is on a stretch of water extending about 3.5 to 4 miles from the Cornell dam to the Holcombe dam. There is excellent flat water paddling through numerous channels among undeveloped islands in the northern portion of the park. Flow fluctuations can have a significant impact on water levels. This means that you have to watch out for rocks, particularly on the south end towards town.
The park's boat ramp is on the island not far from the entrance road. There is a boat mooring area near the South Campground and boats or canoes can be moored at many of the North Campground sites. Canoes and kayaks can be rented from various places in Cornell and Holcombe.
Picnic areas and playgrounds
Brunet Island has nearly 20 acres of picnic area available to visitors. The picnic area is on the south and west sides of Brunet Island and offers a scenic view of the Chippewa River and surrounding countryside. A playground and ball diamond are at the southeast end of the picnic area.
Remember to use care and confine fires to designated rings, grills and fireplaces and extinguish them before leaving. Wisconsin State Parks have a carry incarry out policy for day-use, so be prepared to take your trash with you. Litterbags can be found in dispensers at the pavilion and flush toilets/changing stalls in the picnic area. State regulations prohibit pets in picnic areas and on beaches.
You can catch a wide variety of fish including northern pike, walleye, small mouth bass, catfish, crappie, muskie and yellow perch. There's an accessible fishing pier near the north camp area and another fishing pier near the south camp area. A Wisconsin fishing license is required.
Anglers of any age may check out basic fishing equipment free of charge at the park office. This equipment was donated by the Tackle Loaner Program. Call the park office to find out what equipment is available.
Hunting and trapping
Hunting and trapping are allowed in the open areas of the park during the Wisconsin state parks hunting and trapping time frame. Trapping is not permitted in closed areas as noted on the park hunting map or within 100 yards of any designated use area, including trails. Certain trap types are restricted on state park properties.
Brunet Island has about 4.3 miles of cross-county ski trail groomed for classical style skiing only. The trails wind through rolling glacial hills and along the Fisher River. Call the park office for the latest trail conditions. During the winter months, the parks hiking trails have become popular routes for visitors to snowshoe.
The park does not monitor or measure ice conditions. Ice thickness and safety can vary from day to day and from location to location. Use your best judgment about the safety of the ice.