Only in Eagle River – The Tom Hill Chickadees

Recreation trails are open year-round in the Eagle River area for seasonal activities like hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling (just to name a few!).

While that’s not unique to Wisconsin, the winter warming area on the Anvil Lake Trail definitely is special. Visitors can hike or snowshoe out about a half mile from the access point off Military Road to feed chickadees right out of their hands. And they can keep their hands warm by a freshly stoked fire!

Tom Hill, who volunteers with the Forest Service, goes out on Saturday mornings during the winter to make sure the fire pit and the picnic area is ready for trail-goers. And yes, he makes sure there’s birdseed available, too.

Whether by boot, snowshoe, or ski, people can do their best impression of a statue and have little chickadees land right on their hands to eat. Sure, this extraordinary interaction with nature is possible in other places in Wisconsin, but the friendly conversation from Hill and the warm fire he provides during cold winter days make this something truly exclusive.

“This has always been my passion,” says Hill. “I’m just lucky enough that I am able to spend some of my time here, sharing it with others.”

Hill has been an avid hiker and outdoor enthusiast his whole life. He enjoys greeting anyone who embarks on the trail, which features mature hemlock and white pine throughout the forest it snakes through. The path to the warming area Hill maintains was recently updated from the Military Road parking lot and marked with blue diamonds on trees.

Ya might say, “Only in Eagle River.”

Did you know the Eagle River area has more than 100 miles of recreation trails? Hiking and snowshoeing are just two of many ways to traverse trails in our neck of the woods. Discover more information about spring activities on our website.