Activities, Hiking

Perfect sunset strolls in the Northwoods

There’s no better way to end a delightful day in the Northwoods of Wisconsin than by taking in a stunning sunset. Here are a few easily accessible trails in Oneida County that offer outstanding views.

McNaughton Lake Hiking Trail

Located just off of Highway 47 south of Lake Tomahawk, the McNaughton Trail System is part of the sprawling Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest that spans three counties in northern Wisconsin. The system follows old logging roads and is easy to traverse. It’s home to four different loops, ranging from just over a mile long to 4.31 miles in length. If you’re looking for a sunset spot, walk by one of the three lakes the trail system passes—McNaughton Lake, Helen Lake and Hawk Lake. A parking area can be found near Hawk Lake off Kildare Road.

Hanson Lake Trail

Explore this easy-to-follow trail that winds around Hanson Lake just west of downtown Rhinelander. The 2-mile trail can be accessed via a trailhead off of Hanson Lake Road near the intersection with Highway 47. The Hanson Lake Trail is appropriate for all levels and offers beautiful views of the 35-acre lake.

Hiawatha Trail and Bearskin State Trail

The Hiawatha Trail, which takes its name from the train that transported visitors to northern Wisconsin in the 1940s and 1950s, is a crushed granite path that follows the former railway. The trail starts at SARA Park in Tomahawk (be sure to snap a pic at the scenic train trestle) and travels about 6½ miles north to Heafford Junction.

There, the Hiawatha Trail joins the Bearskin State Trail, which bikers and hikers can follow all the way to Minocqua. The 21-mile recreation corridor is a popular spot for outdoor fun all year long in the Northwoods (in winter, it’s a snowmobile trail) and offers outstanding scenery for an evening stroll. Park at the northern trailhead and enjoy a incredible view of the sunset over Lake Minocqua from the Minocqua or Kawaga Trestle bridges. The trail is open from 6am to 11pm year-round, and a state trail pass is required for bikers. Find trail maps and more information here.

Discover more about Oneida County hiking trails.

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