Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Biking Wisconsin's Hiawatha/Bearskin Trail

The Hiawatha Trail runs about 6 miles from Tomahawk, Wisconsin, to the Oneida County line.  The trail then continues as the Bearskin Trail for another 18 miles to Minocqua.  At the 8+ mile mark the trail ends and you are routed 5 miles on roads via green signs to the continuation of the Bearskin Trail.  I was satisfied with a 17 mile sround-trip ride, so I did not venture onto the highway portion.

I started in Tomahawk at Sara Lake Park, which can be reached from Highway 51 using exit 229 (State Route 86.)  The road becomes East Somo Avenue.  Follow it to its end and you’ll find Sara Lake Park on your right.  Pass the ball field and follow the sign for the public boat launch. Pass the launch, the public beach, a small riverfront campground, and then you reach the bike trail starting point.  Washrooms facilities are available.

You'll briefly ride along a fence line and then turn left and cross the first of many trestles as seen here where you cross the Wisconsin River on a 400+ foot long trestle...

The scenery immediately turns stunning.  Along much of the trail you are seemingly secluded, with shrouds of trees and foliage between you and the road. The only sounds I heard for many stretches were the sound of my tires on the gravel and the wind in my face.  In the winter, this is a snowmobile trail, but the remainder of the year it is clearly marked for hiking and biking only. The trail is mostly double track and in decent condition.  There had been rain overnight and puddles remained in low spots, but most of the trail was dry already.

Since it is a snowmobile route, you benefit from all the work the snowmobile club puts into the trail, including directional signs to local businesses near the trail as seen here...

At Mile 4 you reach Clear Lake and can enjoy viewing a few of the homes that surround the lovely lake.

Just before you reach Lake Nokomis, you enter  Oneida County where they call the trail is the Bearskin Trail.  It was newly graveled and graded and is a bit wider here and also more crowded since it runs through the town.  Stop for food or treats here because this is about that is available along the trail!

Parking is available in Nokomis and also at Beach Road and County N at a small park with pavilion.

Here's a view of Lake Nokomis from the trail.  This section of Wisconsin is reputed to have one of the densest concentrations of lakes in the world.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

nice depth in all the pics, makes me want to go there even it is on a mountain bike. "EL"