Exploring the Gandy Dancer Trail

Located in the heart of Burnett County, Wisconsin, is the picturesque Gandy Dancer Trail. Spanning 98 miles, this serene trail is full of lush greenery and abundant wildlife. The section of the trail in Burnett County, WI traverses over 20 miles. Open all year round, the trail offers plenty of fun and exciting activities for everyone. Check out a few of our favorite things to do on the Gandy Dancer Trail. 

Biking and Hiking

Biking and hiking are undeniably popular activities on the Gandy Dancer Trail. Its well-maintained paths make it an ideal location for cyclists and hikers, even newbies! If you’re over 16 years old and looking to bike on the trail, just make sure you’ve got a Wisconsin State Trail Pass.

The largely flat terrain and straight trail also make it a go-to place for runners and joggers. Whether you run, jog, bike, or stroll along the trail, you are treated to beautiful views of the woods and the lakes around the trail.

Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is allowed all year round on the northern section of the trail. Going horseback riding along the Gandy Dancer Trail in Burnett County is a truly unique and exhilarating experience. Just take note that while the paths are generally well-maintained, the trail isn’t specially groomed or surfaced, so be prepared for some rough or soft sections!

ATV and Motorcycle Riding

One of the more popular activities on the trail is traveling on all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). Off-highway motorcycles (OHMs) are also allowed, though their use is limited to a one-mile stretch and only until the end of October.

ATVs are allowed on the trail the entire year, as long as you comply with state ATV laws. If you’re from out of state, you’ll need to obtain a non-resident ATV trail pass to pass through the Wisconsin segment.

Winter Recreation

During winter, you can snowmobile on the trail as long as you follow state snowmobile laws. The Gandy Dancer Trail is connected to plenty of other snowmobile trails in the county, making it ideal for enthusiasts looking to explore the area.

Aside from snowmobiling, the Gandy Dancer Trail is also open for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing exploration. Just be careful and watch out for the snowmobiles that share the trail.

Relaxing Trail Activities

For those in search of a quieter and more relaxing activity, birdwatching is a popular choice on the Gandy Dancer Trail. The diverse birdlife along the trail adds an extra layer of enchantment to your outdoor experience.

History of the Trail

While you’re reveling in the wonders of the Gandy Dancer Trail in Burnett County, WI, it’s worth taking a moment to appreciate the trail’s rich history. The northern segment begins on the Minnesota side of the St. Croix River, encompassing 31 miles in Minnesota before crossing back into Wisconsin for 15 miles, connecting with the Saunders State Trail just south of Superior. The southern segment, on the other hand, spans 47 miles in Wisconsin, meandering through charming communities such as Centuria, Milltown, Luck, Frederic, Siren, and Webster, culminating in the town of Danbury at the Minnesota border. An impressive 520-foot trestle spans the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, linking Wisconsin and Minnesota.

This extraordinary trail, with its compelling history rooted in the work crews who laid the railroad tracks, earned its name as the Gandy Dancer. These crews wielded tools from the Gandy Tool Company of Chicago and were renowned for their rhythmic harmony, earning them the moniker “Gandy Dancers.”

Visit the Gandy Dancer Trail in Burnett County, WI, and immerse yourself in its natural beauty, history, and the wealth of recreational opportunities it offers.