Wisconsin
Complete Guide to Governor Thompson State Park

Complete Guide to Governor Thompson State Park

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Governor Thompson State Park offers a variety of outdoor experiences within its 2,800 acres. Visitors of all kinds find something to love at this park. People enjoy a wide range of activities here.  Camping, boating, hiking, and animal watching are all fantastic activities in this park.

Complete Guide to Governor Thompson State Park

Governor Thompson State Park is adjacent to the Peshtigo River State Forest. The Caldron Falls flowage that creates the park’s reservoir is an upper flowage. This flowage connects to the high falls and lower flowage. The Caldron Falls flowage is 1200 acres and has the lowest maximum depth of the three flowages. The maximum depth of this flowage is fifty-four feet.

Complete Guide to Governor Thompson State Park

Governor Thompson State Park is in Marinette County in Northeast Wisconsin. It’s only a thirty-minute drive from Crivitz and about three hours away from Milwaukee. This park has a variety of attractions that can be enjoyed in one day or over the course of a week.

History of Governor Thompson State Park

Governor Thompson State Park is one of the newer parks in the Wisconsin State Park system. The park was established in 2000 and is named after the state’s former governor. The park became a day-use park in 2005. Over the years, new features, including hiking trails and boat landings, have been added.

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Things to do inside Governor Thompson State Park

The Peshtigo River flows through the Caldron Falls flowage reservoir. It’s a great place to go fishing, motorboating, and kayaking. Governor Thompson State Park contains two minor lakes as well.  These are Huber and Woods lakes. Huber and Woods lakes offer fifty-three hundred feet of shoreline for water recreation opportunities that do not include motorized boating.


Enjoy a day trip to the Woods Lake area with a picnic. Hang out on the beach and enjoy wading or swimming. Boating, canoeing, and kayaking can be done on the reservoir, Woods Lake, or Huber Lake.

The shoreline of the Caldron Falls Flowage is six and a half miles long. This area provides the perfect spot for water recreation. Canoeing, flyfishing, and fishing are very popular activities in this area of the park.

There are numerous leisure activities that can be enjoyed in the park’s woodland and wetland environments. Sandhill cranes and black bears are regular sights here, as well as a wide variety of other animals.

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Camping at Governor Thompson State Park

The family campground area is located on the park’s north side, about 1/2 mile away from the Caldron Falls Flowage reservoir. There are 100 campsites separated into three distinct loops. There are tent, camper, and RV sites available with a good distance between sites. Only 16 sites have electricity available. Two sites are ADA accessible, and the bathrooms and showers are ADA compliant.

A shower and a flush toilet building are located centrally in the family campground area. There are vault toilets, drinking water stations, and parking available in each campground loop. A sanitary and a fill station are located at the campground site area entrance.

The boat access campsite area is located on the south shore of the Caldron Falls Flowage reservoir. These three campsites can only be accessed by canoes or motorized boats. Each site has a canoe rack and a place to tie up a boat. Boat campsites include a tent area, a picnic table, a fire ring, a bear-proofed food box, a bench, and an outdoor toilet.

There are restrictions on gathering and removing firewood. The park office has firewood for sale. Please keep in mind that cell service is sketchy and GPS can be inaccurate. Reservations for the park’s family campsites must be made well in advance of your stay.

There is a campground called Old Veteran’s Lake Campground on the northeastern edge of Government Thompson State Park. This park is shown on the Government Thompson State Park map.  This campground is not part of Government Thompson State Park but is part of the Peshtigo River State Forest Campground.

Governor Thompson State Park Camping Map
Governor Thompson State Park Camping Map

Governor Thompson State Park Water Sports

A wide range of water recreation activities are popular here. Park visitors take full advantage of this. There are plenty of spots to go swimming or fishing. For paddlers, non-motorized boats, and powered boats alike, there are plenty of options to explore the water. People of all ages, from families with young children to retirees, find lots of ways to enjoy water activities here.

Governor Thompson State Park Fishing

Both the Caldron Falls Flowage reservoir and Woods Lake are recommended by Wisconsin’s Dept of Natural Resources as places to take kids fishing. There is a fishing pier located on the Caldron Falls Flowage reservoir near the # 13 boat landing area. The other place for kids to fish at the reservoir is boat landing # 9.  The most popular fish caught here are bluegill and bass.

Make sure that adults have their licenses and are familiar with fishing regulations.

Governor Thompson State Park Swimming

The shoreline of the Caldron Falls flowage offers numerous opportunities for swimming. Woods Lake picnic area offers opportunities for wading and swimming. The water near the shore of Woods Lake is shallow and warm, making it ideal for young swimmers and waders.

Governor Thompson State Park Boating

Kayaking, canoeing, and motorboating are all popular ways to spend your time in the park. The busiest boat launch in the park is the # 13 boat landing, located on the reservoir.  There are two concrete launches, a dock, a pier, and parking available at this launch.

–>There are no motorized boats allowed on Woods Lake.

water at governor thompson state park

Boat Rentals Near Governor Thompson State Park

Need to rent a boat or other watercraft for your adventures at Governor Thompson State Park? Here are two places that are less than ten miles from the park!

Popp’s Marine (on High Falls Flowage) Location: W11581 County Road X, Crivitz, WI  54114

Governor Thompson State Park is only a seven-minute drive from Popp’s Marine. Popp’s Marine offers both motorized and non-motorized boats for rent. Motorized fishing boats come in a variety of sizes and horsepower, so you can rent the right one for your needs. Pontoons come in five different varieties, all of which can be rented.

The non-motorized boats available for rent include paddleboats, aluminum canoes, and rowboats. Pop’s Marine also offers kayaks, double kayaks, and stand-up paddleboard rentals.

Twin Bridge Four Seasons Location: W11355 Co Rd X, Crivitz, WI 54114

Governor Thompson State Park is only an eight-minute drive from Twin Bridge Four Seasons. Twin Bridge Four Seasons offers a variety of pontoons to rent. If you are staying at a nearby lake, they will bring your pontoon to your location for a fee.  They also provide ATV and UTV rentals.

Hiking at Governor Thompson State Park

There are sixteen miles of hiking trails to explore at Governor Thompson State Park. Most of the trails are rated as easy because they are wide and relatively smooth.  The marked trails range from less than a mile to three and a half miles. Some of these trails go by rock formations, and others go through the woods.

Bring bug spray, wear long pants, and douse your clothing to prevent ticks. You can find all the hiking trails on the park map. The main trails are clearly marked in the park with signs.

Complete Guide to Governor Thompson State Park

Flowage Trail – Length: 1.9 miles (one way)

This trail links Boat Landing 13 with Huber Lake. This is almost a 4-mile hike because it does not loop back.

Forest View Trail – Length: 3.5 miles

This trail begins at Woods Lake and loops through the forest back to Woods Lake.

Granite Path Trail – Length: 2.1 miles

This trail begins at Woods Lake and takes you in a meandering loop through the woods. The loop incorporates other trails for your return to a Woods Lake gate entrance.

Hills Trail – Length: 1 mile

This trail links off the Flowage Trail in a loop using a part of the Thunder Mountain trail.

Otter Trail – Length: 1 mile

This trail begins near the Woods Lake entrance station. It ends at one of the Woods Lake entrance gates.

Pine View Trail – Length: 1 mile

This trail is a small loop beginning and ending at a Woods Lake entrance.

South Bay Trail – Length .3 miles

This biking trail links Campground Road to Boat Landing 13 Road.

Sunset Trail – Length: 1.4 miles

This trail is a half-loop with each end connecting to the Flowage Trail.

Thunder Mountain Trail – Length: 2 miles (one-way)

This trail starts on one of the roads outside the family campground. The trail ends up near Huber Lake. This is the longest trail hike in the park because it does not loop back.

Whippoorwill Trail – Length: 1.7 miles

This trail begins at the Woods Lake Visitors Center and loops back to a Woods Lake entrance.

Governor Thompson State Park Trail Map
Governor Thompson State Park Trail Map

Picnicking at Governor Thompson State Park

A one hundred-and fifty-foot-long sand beach may be found at the Woods Lake picnic area. This stretch of sand and water is ideal for young swimmers and beachgoers alike. There is a lot of room for children to run and play in the grassy area. This area of Woods Lake features picnic tables, vault toilets, and changing rooms. The nearby enclosed shelter can be reserved for parties and other events.

There isn’t a direct trail from the family campground site to Woods Lake. Walking to Woods Lake from the family campground requires the use of many trails. This can be confusing. It’s best to drive from the family campground to the Woods Lake picnic area.

Golfing Near Governor Thompson State Park

Governor Thompson State Park is within a thirty-minute drive of two top-notch golf courses. As a result, it is a popular destination for golfers.

DeSmidt’s Golf Course and Country Club

Location: N7559 Shaffer Road Crivitz, Wisconsin 54114. Governor Thompson State Park is a seventeen-minute drive from DeSmidt’s Golf Course and Country Club.

DeSmidt’s Golf Course and Country Club offers two nine-hole golf courses. The course’s par-29 course makes it ideal for both novices and seasoned players. The par-36 course has separated fairways that are great for golfers of any skill level. There are thousands of flowers, snow-white sand bunkers, and greenery on this stunning course.  Golfers can stop in after a day of golf at DeSmidt’s spacious and friendly clubhouse to enjoy sandwiches or the Friday Night Fish Fry.

Hunter’s Glen Golf Club

Location: W7572 Old W Road, Crivitz, Wisconsin 54114. Governor Thompson State Park is a twenty-six-minute drive from Hunter’s Glen Golf Club.

Hunter’s Glen Golf Club offers a championship course with eighteen holes. The challenging fairways include sand bunkers, long grass, and woods. This course was designed by award-winning golf architect Rick Jacobson.

Golfers can purchase food and beverages from the Clubhouse Bar & Grill to take with them while they are out on the course. After a round of golf, golfers can relax on the clubhouse’s outdoor deck with a meal. There’s also a pro shop where you can get golf gear and supplies.

Governor Thompson State Park Hunting Map
Governor Thompson State Park Hunting Map

Hunting and trapping in Governor Thompson State Park

Certain types of hunting and trapping are allowed in this park during certain times of the year. Check with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for hunting and trapping season times.  Neither hunting nor trapping is allowed in certain areas of Governor Thompson State Park.

Governor Thompson State Park in Winter

Governor Thompson State Park is absolutely stunning in the winter season. Visitors enjoy walking the trails, skiing, sledding, and ice fishing in the beautiful winter scenery.

winter in peninsula state park

Governor Thompson State Park is a popular destination for all types of skiers in winter. There are trails that are tracked for diagonal skiers and trails that are groomed for skate skiers. Cross-country skiers also flock to the park. A favorite winter pastime for children is sliding down the sledding hill. The Wood’s Lake shelter is a favorite spot to warm up for those enjoying winter recreation here.

Governor Thompson State Park and Dogs

Let’s start with the obvious: dogs shouldn’t be left unattended and you should pick up the poop. Waste should be disposed of in dumpsters or trash receptacles.

Dogs are allowed in most campgrounds, trails, roads, and outlying areas of the parks. They must be on a leash no longer than 8 feet at all times, if they are not under control at all times, they can be seized and subject to local laws pertaining to stray animals.

ID tags are a good idea if your dog isn’t micro-chipped. If you do lose your pet you can contact the Marinette County Humane Society at (715)-856-6111.

Rabies could be a thing as there are wild animals like raccoons your pooch could come in contact with so make sure your pooch has all current vaccinations.

Other animals like deer, chipmunks, squirrels, gray wolves, skunks, fishers, elk, and porcupines can be found there.

Pets are not allowed in the following places:

  • Buildings
  • Picnic areas and picnic shelters
  • Beaches
  • Playgrounds
  • Marked Nature Trails.
  • No Pets are allowed on the ski trails when they are snow-covered.

Of course, if your dog is a service animal, those rules do not apply.

State permit

You will need a Wisconsin State Park System vehicle admission sticker to get into Governor Thompson State Park. This permit also allows you to get into all the state parks, forests, and recreation parks in the State.

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Restaurants Near Governor Thompson State Park

There are a handful of places to eat near Governor Thompson State Park. The best places to eat near Governor Thompson State Park are in the town of Crivitz.  Here are our favorites:

Sportsman’s Café Location: W11402 County Road X, Crivitz, WI 54114

Crivitz’s Sportsman Café is a cozy, homey spot perfect for families.  This café offers a huge breakfast menu and standard fare for lunch. The Friday fish fry includes both shrimp and fish entrees. This café also has a kid’s menu, weekly specials, and a breakfast buffet.

Sportsman’s Café can be affected by power outages due to weather, so make sure to check their Facebook page for updates.

Tony’s Dockside Bar and Grill Location: 12327 Eagle Rd, Crivitz, WI 54114

Tony’s Dockside Bar and Grill is the perfect place for boaters to stop and dine. This Northwoods restaurant sits right on the shores of the Peshtigo River. As the name implies, boaters dock their boats right in front of the restaurant. Landlubbers can also dine outside on the deck and enjoy the Northwoods view. The Dockside Grill’s lunch and dinner options include locally sourced burgers, sandwiches, and a Friday Fish Fry. In addition to cocktails and handcrafted fare, they also serve traditional Wisconsin fare.

Keep an eye on Tony’s Dockside Bar and Grill’s Facebook page for details about meal specials, events, and performances.

Soup to Nuts, Inc. Location: 508 Henriette Avenue, Crivitz, WI 54114

This gem of an eatery is in downtown Crivitz. Soup to Nuts is family-owned and operated. Every morning, they make fresh hamburger buns and sandwich bread. Breakfast, lunch, a kid’s portion menu, and “Soup of the Day” are among the entrees. Watching your ice cream sundae being made at the classic 1950’s soda fountain is the best part of this eatery. Shakes, malts, and ice cream sodas are other popular ice cream treats served here.

The hours vary because this is the classic “mom and pop shop”. Make sure to check if Soup to Nuts is open before setting off from Governor Thompson State Park.

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Hotels Near Governor Thompson State Park

There are several comfortable places to stay while exploring Government Thompson State Park and the surrounding area. Where are some places where you can stay and feel at home? Here are some inviting options to consider:

Twin Bridge Resort Location:  N9661 Parkway Rd, Crivitz, WI 54114

This rural resort offers three cabins. The cabins have two to three bedrooms and all the comforts of home. The rustic cabins have been carpeted and are tastefully furnished. Everything is supplied for your stay, except towels. The resort is modern and tasteful. A fountain and seating are provided on the resort’s well-kept grounds.

The Supper Club has a bar and a dining area. The bar area is an expansive room with cushy stools and several TVs. The dining area is cozy and comfortable. Dining options include the Supper Club’s specialty, stuffed tenderloin. There is also a soup and salad bar.

Snowmobilers and ATV riders will appreciate this resort’s location. The Iron Snowshoe Trail system, snowmobile, and ATV trails lead right onto the resort’s property.

Detailed directions to this resort are provided online. The resort staff are happy to answer phone calls for help with directions.

Popp’s Resort Location: W11581 Co Rd X, Crivitz, WI 54114

Popp’s Resort is located on the shores of the High Falls Flowage. Here, vacationers may stay, eat, and rent watercraft all in the same place. The boat docking area and fish cleaning station are convenient services for vacationing visitors. A basketball and tennis court, as well as a grass beach, are available for group games.

Popp’s Resort has several types of lodging available for rent. Visitors have four different lodging types to choose from.  Rental choices include a motel suite, a lake view cottage, a lakeshore cottage, or a lakeshore home. Every rental unit has an equipped kitchenette, TV, bathroom showers, and bed linens are provided.

There are eight motel suites separated into two locations on a hill. There are four units located at the top of the hill and four units located at the bottom of the hill. A nice feature of the suites is the chairs, charcoal grill, and campfire pit provided in front of each four-unit section.

The eight Lakeview cottages and three Lakeshore cottages are great for those who want to enjoy a homey, comfortable stay while exploring Governor Thompson State Park. The three Deluxe Lakeshore homes can be rented for luxurious accommodation for vacationers enjoying a weeklong stay. The cottages and homes are popular rentals for big families and groups.

Another benefit of staying at Popp’s resort is the other onsite services. The Bait and Sport Shop offers pontoon and boat rentals, fishing licenses and equipment, a guide service, and even an on-water gas dock.

A cocktail bar and a dining room are located right next door to Popp’s Resort. Rene’s Dining Room is a family-owned business that provides great dining experiences for lunch and dinner.

Pets are only allowed in two of the cottages.

beautiful view of governor thompson state park

Hilltop Resort Supper Club Location: N10120 Parkway Rd, Crivitz, WI 54114

This family-owned and operated resort is in the middle of the Peshtigo River State Forest. The vacation motel offers two semi-private units. The units each have two bedrooms and a kitchenette.

The picnic tables and grills in front of the motel rooms are a popular amenity for guests. The resort also has mobile homes available for rent. Each mobile home is furnished and has three bedrooms. Mobile home guests have access to outside grills on their decks. A fire pit and wood are provided for all guests to use in the communal area of this rustic resort.

The Hilltop Resort’s Sports Bar and Supper Club are near the resort. The menu is typical of Supper Club fare, including roast duck and a Friday Night Fish Fry. Casual lunch fare is offered on weekends. The Sport’s Bar also provides flatscreens, a pool table, video games, and karaoke for entertainment.

Call ahead to get your pet approved and to confirm the Sports Bar and Supper Club hours.

Where is Governor Thompson State Park?

Governor Thompson State Park is located at N10008 Paust Ln, Crivitz, WI 54114

Directions to Governor Thompson State Park from Crivitz:

Take Co Hwy A to Newton Lake Road in Stephenson for 6.3 miles. Then continue on Newton Lake Road to Co Hwy X/Co Road X for about 4 1/2 miles. Continue for another 3/4 of a mile until you get to Ranch Road. Take Ranch Rd to Paust Lane for about a mile. Paust Lane will take you into the park.

Directions to Governor Thompson State Park from Milwaukee:

Get on I-794 for about two minutes then take I-43 N and US-141 N to Henriette Ave in Crivitz. Once you are in Crivitz take Co Hwy A to Newton Lake Road in Stephenson for 6.3 miles. Then continue on Newton Lake Road to Co Hwy X/Co Road X for about 4 1/2 miles. Continue for another 3/4 of a mile until you get to Ranch Road. Take Ranch Rd to Paust Lane for about a mile. Paust Lane will take you into the park.

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