Get ready for adventure
When the snow flies, good times roll—and run, and glide and trek. Winter athletes are on the move across Wisconsin, entering ski races, snowshoe treks and winter running events in some of the state’s most beautiful destinations. These lively events offer a great workout, warm camaraderie and a chance to see some of the state’s best scenery. Start warming up: some of our favorites are fast approaching.
On Feb. 17, Wisconsin’s first outdoor winter triathlon will take place in Boulder Junction. The Forest Frenzy Winter Triathlon consists of an 8.5K cross-country ski course, a 6K snowshoe course and an 8.5K fat tire bike course. There’s a contest underway that will award one winner a prize package that includes free registration. Learn more about the marathon and enter here.
The Three Bear Sled Dog Races return to Land O’ Lakes Feb. 3-4. The events include various dog-sledding categories as well as a skijoring event, which involves a dog pulling a cross-country skier. The dogs and the skiers have a lot of fun!
On Dec. 27, ride your fat bike by candlelight in Oneida County! Head to the Northwoods for Fatbikes by Candlelight, hosted by the Lakeland Area Mountain Biking Organization (LAMBO) on the Northwoods Zip Line Trail. The trail ride starts at 6pm.
On Jan. 13, the Snowshoe Hare Snowshoe Race returns to Rhinelander. The 5K/10K race is hosted by the Rhinelander Area Silent Trails Association (RASTA) and held at Holiday Acres Resort.
One of the state’s most popular and well-known running events takes place in Stevens Point every March. The Point Bock Run, a five-mile road race, starts and finishes in front of the Stevens Point Brewery. It’s a flat and fast course that crosses the Wisconsin River twice. It ends with a big post-race party held in a heated tent. The March 3 event is limited to 2,000 people, and, like a pint of Point Special Lager, it fills up fast. Registration opens Jan. 1—be sure to register and make plans to head to Stevens Point.
There are more than 25,000 miles of snowmobile trails in Wisconsin and some of the very best spots to ride are located in northern Wisconsin! In fact, the birthplace of the snowmobile is Sayner, Wisconsin, in Vilas County!
Here are some trails you won’t want to miss:
- Eagle River – Known as the “Snowmobile Capital of the World,” Eagle River has more than 500 miles of groomed trails that circle lakes and wind through the beautiful Nicolet National Forest. The grooming here is top-notch, making for a safe, worry-free ride. Take Trail #13 which passes by the amazing 200-foot-high Eagle River Ice Castle, built every year by volunteers. End your day at Catch 22 Char House for a juicy steak and homemade cheesecake. If you’ve got a need for speed, visit in mid-January for the World Championship Snowmobile Derby!
- Boulder Junction– These trails are located in the Lake Superior snowbelt and are covered in plenty of lake-effect snow! There are more than a hundred miles of trails here, including some that run right through the downtown. Start your day at the Granary Family Restaurant on Trail #8, then ride right out of the parking lot and onto the trail. Wrap up your adventure at the Aqualand Ale House with a delicious dinner and 20 craft beers on trap.
- Germain– St. Germain is home to the “Snowmobile Hall of Fame,” a museum filled with historic snowmobiles and tributes to champion snowmobilers. The grooming techniques for these hundreds of miles of trails are so envied they are copied internationally! Warm up in front of the fireplace at the Whitetail Inn (and don’t miss the prime rib!). If you go in early February, you can catch the Radar Runs on Little St. Germain Lake, where riders compete for the fastest speeds, clocked by radar guns. Some sleds have topped 160mph!
- Minocqua– Near Minocqua, in Oneida County, you can ride into the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest and into a network of 1,600 miles of trails. Check out the Bearskin State Trail, a former railroad corridor with 13 trestles and cross lakes and streams for gorgeous views. Make a stop at the Thirsty Whale to end your day. At more than 100 years old, this restaurant serves up fries, cheese curds and amazing burgers, alongside spectacular views of Lake Minocqua.
Ride into the Northwoods
Winter is here and some of the best trails in the Midwest are waiting to be explored. Wisconsin has snowmobile destinations that are second to none, offering scenic beauty, miles of public trails and of course, plenty of snow. Ride up to these destinations on your sled or make them a home base for a weekend of adventure. Either way, you’ll find plenty of comfortable lodging, delicious dining and unforgettable riding. Here’s a quick guide to four of Wisconsin’s best snowmobile destinations.
You may encounter a few “ghost deer” while riding the forests around beautiful Boulder Junction. The community is home to a resident population of white deer, as well as some of the best riding in the Northwoods. The Boulder Junction Snowmobile Club grooms and maintains over 128 miles of trails! If you’re new to snowmobiling, Boulder Junction has a number of helpful videos to help you prep for your trip.
Rhinelander is the home of the Hodag—a mysterious beast believed to roam the Northwoods forests. You may not see the Hodag, but you’ll certainly encounter plenty of beautiful scenery. There are more than 1,000 miles of trails throughout Oneida County that link to thousands of more miles of riding in Northern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
In northwestern Wisconsin, Rusk County is home to four beautiful rivers and so much more. In the winter, there are 330 miles of groomed snowmobile trails to explore, including trails that cross the Blue Hills, an ancient mountain range that offers some spectacular riding. The old mountain range is worn by years of erosion, but still rises up about 600 feet above the surrounding forest.
This county is where it all started—the modern snowmobile was invented in Sayner-Star Lake. Today, the county still is at the center of the snowmobile world, hosting major events like the Vintage World Championship Snowmobile Derby and the Country Cat World Championship Snowmobile Derby. Plus, there are guided snowmobile rides throughout the winter! In Vilas County, you’ll find over 600 miles of trails that will take you through pristine wilderness and charming Northwoods communities.