If you have a passion for the outdoors you’ll love all the adventures and events that are taking place in Northwest Wisconsin this winter. Between skiing, snowshoeing, fat tire biking and winter hiking, there is so much to do! We’ve put together a list of the best winter trails to explore in Northwest, Wisconsin.
If you love to snowshoe then you need to visit Ashland County. Ashland is packed with all sorts of snowshoeing opportunities! Copper Falls State Park in the south, Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center in the heart of Ashland and Madeline Island in the north! Check out visitashland.com to learn more!
Embrace winter and enjoy the snow while we still have it – Bayfield County has groomed fat bike trails and ski trails in addition to 400,000 acres of forest to snowshoe! If you have a group with multiple interests, head to Mt. Ashwabay Ski and Recreation Area where there are 6 km of groomed fat bike trails (12 km out and back) and 40 km of classic and skate skiing trails. There is even a skijoring trail where you can spend some quality time with your canine companion! There’s a 24 hour changing room attached to the chalet along with a grill for snacks and a fireplace. Rentals are next to the “T-bar” next door to the chalet where you can enjoy an adult beverage. Enjoy views of Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands from the top of the ski hill. Help celebrate Mt. Ashwabay’s 75th season and head to the hill! More information on the ski hill’s amenities, prices and events at mtashwabay.org.
Rockman’s Woods is a little gem of a ski area. The woods are tucked onto the south side of the City of Barron and is adjacent to the Barron High School athletic fields. The 36-acre mixed hardwood forest comprises Sugar Maple and Red Oak with the occasional Basswood, Bur Oak and White Pine. The woods are known for its ability to hold snow in the winter due to most of it being on a north-facing slope. There are 3.3 km of ski trail in the woods that are lit in the evenings and are beginning to intermediate in skill level. The lights are only 3 feet off the ground, so you can enjoy the majesty of the large oaks and maples under a starry sky. We also have 2 km of trails that extend into the neighboring school property and fields.
There is a separate 2-mile snowshoe/winter hiking trail that winds through the forest. It generally gets enough traffic that snowshoes aren’t needed once you get a day or two past a storm. The trail system is maintained by volunteer members of the Barron Area Nordic Trail Association (BANTA) check them out on Facebook for trail updates. For more information about the trails in Barron County visit barroncountywi.gov.
Hayward Lakes Area/Sawyer County
Of the 300+ miles of the CAMBA system, over 50 of them are groomed throughout the winter for fat tire biking. Beginners looking for a new adventure, or experienced riders who just want to go fast, might check out the Hospital Gateway Trails or the Big Easy Loop at 00. Another trail system is the Town of Hayward Recreational Forest Trail. This trail features about 4 miles of winding snowshoe trails through scenic mixed woods and abundant wildlife. This trail also has a pavilion and pit toilet.
The biggest winter event in Hayward is the American Birkebeiner Ski Race. The Birkie takes place this year February 23-25, 2023. The Birkie is the largest cross-country skiing race in North America, and it’s the longest. Whether you’re a participant in the race or watch from the sidelines this is a winter race that you don’t want to miss! For everything Birkie, visit birkie.com.
Beaver Brook Trail: Over 6 miles of incredible hiking trails wind through the Beaver Brook Wildlife Area. This nearly 2,000-acre property offers a variety of trout streams, springs and lakes. Remnants of several homesteads can be found on the property and remnants of an old logging dam built in 1870 and removed in 1910 are still visible near the mouth of Beaver Brook. Located north of County B (between Highways 53 and 253) is a beautiful artesian well to ski past.
Totagatic Trail: Located 2 miles North of Minong on Highway 53, these trails offer scenic hiking during the summer and fall. There are multiple loops ranging in distance depending on how long of a hike you’re wanting to take. In the winter the trails are groomed for classic skiing. A warming shelter with a fire pit is located along this trail system.
Fat Tire Biking
Wildcat Bike Trails: A combination of single and double track provide a wide variety of riding skills & experiences. The trail utilizes thousands of acres of Washburn County forest land, thanks to the Washburn County Forestry Department’s support of biking in the area. The trail is groomed by Wildcat Volunteer Groomers and is maintained by the Wildcat Mountain Bike Club. The trails wind through a variety of different tree types such as mature oak, basswood, and maple. In addition, there are sections that take you through hundreds of poplar trees that remind you of Aspen, Colorado. The many acres are also dotted with glacial lakes that offer pristine viewing. You will not find any permanent building structures here as all of this land is protected, so you’ll be biking through the same landscape that you would have found two hundred years ago.
Hunt Hill Audubon Sanctuary: Hunt Hill is a 600-acre sanctuary with 7 miles of hiking trails that go around and through old-growth and cutover forests, glacial lakes, fen, bog, marsh and prairie. With varied habitats, Hunt Hill is ideal for observing a variety of wildlife within a short hike of the parking area. Trails vary from 1/3 mile up to a 3-mile loop and are open and free to the public during daylight hours year-round. In the winter, snowshoes are available for use and winter trails are kept up by volunteer snowshoe hikers. The family-friendly Discovery Trail features hidden items that are changed out monthly.
For current grooming status on these trails, please visit washburncounty.org.
Hike, bike, ski or snowshoe your way through the scenic trails of Northwest Wisconsin. Explore the trails of Wisconsin this winter. We’ll see you out on the trails!