About Phelps

Phelps: A Gem in Vilas County

Phelps, Wisconsin is a gem that few people know about!

Phelps is located about 15 miles northeast of Eagle River, Wisconsin, in Vilas County. With a population of just over 1,500 people, this small town is nestled within the 650,000-acre Nicolet National Forest. Nearly 75% of the land in the township is Nicolet National Forest. And Ottawa National Forest is just two miles to the north in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The headwaters of the mighty Wisconsin River and the Deerskin River begin in Phelps and other waters flow into Lake Michigan.

Phelps is a great place to start a business, raise a family, and send your children to a world-class, award-winning school while living in the beauty of the Northwoods of Wisconsin. The School District of Phelps has a tradition of providing high-quality education in a creative environment, and you won't find a friendlier small town in Wisconsin.

Discover a fantastic four-season destination for all outdoor enthusiasts, or the community you have been looking for to call home!




Acres to Roam


Miles of Trails


Snowmobile Trails

On The Lakes

With over 40 lakes and the Wisconsin River, you are never far from the water in Phelps!

Whether you prefer to spend your #LakeTime fishing, boating, or just paddling quietly along, you will find the ideal waterway for your lake enjoyment in Phelps, Wisconsin!

On The Trails

Vilas County is well-known for its fantastic trail systems for any season!

Find backcountry hiking trails, off-road biking trails, beautiful country road ATV routes and more to explore this summer. Or ride hard on 40 miles of snowmobile trails that connect to an extensive county-wide system.

In the Woods

Get in touch with nature in Phelps this year!

With wildlife aplenty and acres of national and state forested land, Phelps is ideal for hunting, trapping, backcountry camping, and bird watching - whatever outdoor adventure is calling your name!

History of Phelps, Wisconsin

The history of Phelps, Wisconsin, is inextricably intertwined with the fur trading and logging days of the 18th and 19th centuries, and later, with the tourism trade. The first Europeans in the area were French fur traders. Inhabited by Chippewa Indians, Lac Vieux Desert was a crossroads for the fur trade.

The abundance of rich forest land drew the first business to the area in 1896. Not long after that, a town was settled. The town’s biggest growth spurt took place from 1906 to 1912 when Finnish people moved to the area to farm and work in the lumber mills and forests. Originally known as Hackley, the town was renamed Phelps in 1912 (due to confusion with another Wisconsin town named Hatley).

Interested in joining the Phelps Chamber of Commerce?

Download the Phelps Chamber membership form.

Phelps Chamber of Commerce

Stop by and see us at the Phelps Chamber of Commerce! We’d love to share what we know about Phelps and the surrounding area.

We can provide information about Phelps Chamber of Commerce membership, local Phelps businesses and things to do, or the upcoming events in Phelps, Wisconsin.

We can help make your Vilas County vacation the most memorable ever!

Visitor Guide