Discover the Smallest Town in Wisconsin – Everyone Could Fit Into a Charter Bus

Young black and white calf at dairy farm. Newborn baby cow
© Napaphat Kaewsanchai/

Written by Jennifer Geer

Updated: October 6, 2023

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Wisconsin is full of small, charming towns nestled among the green pastures and rolling hills of farms and dairies. A common sight along the road is white and black dairy cows roaming the countryside. 

Although Wisconsin is home to some mid-sized cities (such as Milwaukee, Madison, and Green Bay), much of the state is made up of smaller towns. But what is the smallest town in Wisconsin? Read on to find out.

Holstein dairy cows on the Dunnum Family Farm.

Dairy cows are a common sight in rural Wisconsin.

©Rawpixel Ltd / CC BY 2.0 – Original / License

What is the Smallest Town in Wisconsin?

The smallest town in Wisconsin is Cedar Rapids, with a population of 36, according to the 2020 U.S. Census. Since the average mid-sized charter bus can accommodate up to 36 passengers, this means the whole town of Cedar Rapids, WI, could fit inside one.

About Cedar Rapids: The Smallest Town in Wisconsin

Cedar Rapids is a rural town, located in the picturesque setting of northern Wisconsin’s hardwood forests. Farmhouses and farmland are sparsely spread out around the town. 

Located in Rusk County, the town covers about 35 square miles. It’s about an hour from Chippewa Falls, and four hours north of Madison. Surrounded by forests and farmland, to the north is the Skinner Creek Hardwoods State Natural Area and Flambeau River Hardwood Forest.

Rusk County: An Outdoor Wonderland

Chequamegon-Nicolet is a National Forest in Northern Wisconsin

Northern Wisconsin is home to forests, lakes, and streams.

©Jacob Boomsma/ via Getty Images

Situated in the eastern half of Rusk County, the land is scenic and remote. The leading industry is manufacturing, followed by agriculture, trade, education and health. Further, it’s a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, Rusk County is home to farmland, rivers, lakes, and hiking trails. 

Rusk County is full of small towns, although Cedar Rapids is the smallest. With its 80,000 acres of forests and many scenic waterways, it’s an ideal vacation destination for outdoor adventurists. 

What Is There to Do in Rusk County?

Outdoor lovers can find miles of adventure in Rusk County. It’s home to the Blue Hills, four rivers, and miles of remote forest trails. Some of the popular destinations include the following. 

Blue Hills

Sun in the Trees

People come to the Blue Hills for skiing, mountain biking, backpacking, and snowshoeing.

©Dave Jonasen/iStock via Getty Images

In the west of the county is the Blue Hills. The Blue Hills are the remnants of an ancient mountain range, older than the Rockies. Formed by a volcano millions of years ago, today, you can see the exposed volcanic rock that remains. People come to the area for skiing, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, backpacking, and snowshoeing.

Skinner Creek Hardwoods State Natural Area

To the north of Cedar Rapids is the Skinner Creek Hardwoods State Natural Area. The rolling terrain is home to a mature hardwood forest and is located near where Skinner Creek meets the Fork of the Flambeau River. The state designated the land to be a State Natural Area in 2010. Unlike state parks, State Natural Areas are usually isolated, with few facilities. Certain activities, like camping, are prohibited, but visitors can come to hike the trails, fish, hunt, or view the wildlife.

Flambeau River Hardwood Forest

The Flambeau River State Forest is a state park along the Flambeau River in northern Wisconsin.

The Flambeau River State Forest is a state park along the Flambeau River in northern Wisconsin.

©Jeff the quiet / CC0 – Original / License

The Flambeau River Hardwood Forest is a hardwood and conifer forest with many miles of hiking and biking trails. Some activities you can do in the forest include camping, canoeing down the Flambeau River, and fishing for trout, bass, walleye, and sturgeon.

Wildlife Around Rusk County

There are many different species of wildlife living in the remote area of Rusk County. Some of the species you may encounter include the following.

Ruffed Grouse

ruffed grouse

Ruffed grouse is a medium-sized game bird. The bird lives in forested areas and is often hunted in the fall.


The ruffed grouse is a game bird commonly hunted in Rusk County. The round, plump birds can be found foraging within the mixed hardwood and coniferous forests.

White-Tailed Deer

Deer are abundant in Wisconsin and can be found in a variety of habitats including forests, farmlands, swamps, and grasslands. 


Bull Elk - Photograph taken in Elk State Forest, Elk County, Benezette, Pennsylvania.

The elk population has increased in Wisconsin thanks to conservation efforts.

©Paul Staniszewski/

In the 1880s, the elk population was completely wiped out in the state. In the 1990s, a population of elk was reintroduced in Wisconsin. Consequently, today, there is a population of around 400 living in the state.

Wild Turkey

Once abundant in the state, by 1881, wild turkeys (also known as eastern turkeys) had disappeared from Wisconsin. In 1976, the state of Wisconsin traded the abundant ruffled grouse for 29 wild turkeys from Missouri. Today, wild turkeys once again roam the dairy state.

Black Bear

American Black Bear in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Around 25,000 American black bears roam Wisconsin today.

©Orhan Cam/

Wisconsin has a robust black bear population, which has increased in the last 30 years. It’s not uncommon to find bears roaming around in Rusk County, near the town of Cedar Rapids. 


With four rivers in the county, the Jump, Chippewa, Thornapple, and Flambeau, the region is a prime spot for anglers. Fish found in the area include panfish, walleyemuskellungebass, and northern pike.

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About the Author

Jennifer Geer is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on animals, news topics, travel, and weather. Jennifer holds a Master's Degree from the University of Tulsa, and she has been researching and writing about news topics and animals for over four years. A resident of Illinois, Jennifer enjoys hiking, gardening, and caring for her three pugs.

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