Four cross-country ski trails to try

Winter is here! Northern Wisconsin is (finally) covered in snow, so that means it’s time to get out and explore. Grab your skis or snowshoes and head to Oneida County, where you’ll find trails perfect for winter adventurers of all skill levels. Here are a few you shouldn’t miss.

Minocqua Winter Park

You’ll find this sprawling winter sports complex in far western Oneida County, about a half-hour drive from downtown Minocqua. More than 50 miles of trails—all of which are groomed regularly to keep them in tip-top shape—cut through 6,500 acres of beautiful Northwoods scenery. Trails are open to classic cross-country skiing, skate skiing, snowshoeing and fat tire biking. On the weekends, bring the family for fun on the 400-foot snow tubing hill. A trail pass (or snow tubing tickets) can be purchased at the Winter Park chalet. See a trail map here and learn more about Minocqua Winter Park here.

Three Eagle Trail

The Three Eagle Trail is a non-motorized trail that connects the Oneida County community of Three Lakes with Eagle River in Vilas County. In the winter, a five-mile section of the trail from Highway 32/45 west to Sundstein Road is groomed for classic track skiing and skate skiing. The trail, which generally offers good protection from the wind, traverses beautiful Northwoods scenery, including a bridge over Mud Creek. Parking is available off Sundstein Road or off Highway 32/45 near Clearwater Lake. There is no fee to use the trail, but donations are accepted at a donation box at the Sundstein Road parking lot. See a map trail here and learn more here.

Rhinelander Area trails

If you’re visiting Rhinelander (a.k.a. Hodag Country), you’ll discover some great trails maintained by the Northwoods Nordic Ski Club. The Northwoods Nordic Ski Club is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization that oversees approximately 30 kilometers of trails at three sites: the Rhinelander Northwood Nordic Ski trails near Northwood Golf Course, the Rhinelander Community Trails near Rhinelander High School and the CAVOC Trails just east of Rhinelander. Learn more about the trails and see the latest snow report here.

Underdown Recreation Area, Tomahawk

This popular winter sports destination sits about 16 miles southeast of Tomahawk in Lincoln County, but it’s a worthwhile drive. Skiers can traverse more than 20 miles of cross-country trails of varying difficulty at Underdown Recreation Area, making it a popular destination in the winter. Trails are groomed weekly as conditions allow. Trail passes are required and can be purchased on-site (at the parking area on Copper Lake Avenue) for $8 a day or $25 for the season. See a trail map here.

Find information about more Oneida County trails here.

Snowmobile adventures

Oneida County is home to some of the finest snowmobile trails in the Midwest—1,100 miles in all. Snowmobilers return to Oneida County year after year for the great snowfall, the many resorts and restaurants that cater to snowmobilers and the routes that will take you through the beautiful Northwoods. Here are a few of our favorite spots.

Bearskin Trail

This 18-mile trail in the Minocqua Area is a level ride that will take you through some beautiful snow-covered forest. The trail is constructed on a former railroad corridor that was built in the 1880s to transport logs from the Northwoods. You can continue riding south on the same corridor via the Hiawatha Trail that runs to Tomahawk.

Three Lakes

From the heart of Three Lakes, snowmobilers can explore the beauty of northeastern Oneida County, including a portion of the Thunder Lake State Wildlife Area. Three Lakes’ trails connect to nearly 200 additional miles of snowmobiling trails, including Eagle River to the north.

Willow Flowage

The Willow Flowage Scenic Wildlife Area is a 27,000-acre parcel isolated from roads and development. Designated snowmobile trails will take you through a portion of this beautiful property. Learn more about the Willow Flowage here.

Enterprise Block, Oneida County Forest

In southeastern Oneida County, this 20,000-acre swath of county forest land is a scenic destination for trail riders who like getting away from it all. There’s very little development in this part of the county—riders will find a dense forest of hardwood, aspen, oak, balsam fir and spruce. Learn more about the county’s snowmobiling lands here.

Click here to learn more about snowmobiling in Oneida County.

Holiday shopping getaways

 
Escape the hustle and bustle this year. It’s holiday shopping season in Oneida County, and our welcoming Northwoods communities are decked out in pine boughs and twinkling lights. Enjoy the ambiance while browsing small boutiques, classic sporting goods stores and unique galleries. Here’s a quick guide to what you can discover in Oneida County.

Home décor

Bring a bit of Oneida County into your home. From classic Northwoods-inspired furniture to stylish accent pieces, you’ll discover a lot of tempting items in our stores. You’ll also find holiday items like ornaments, wreaths and decorative lights. Some people even head to Oneida County just to pick up a fresh holiday tree.

Sporting goods

Oneida County’s locally owned sporting retailers take the outdoors very seriously. You’ll find not only the latest fishing, hunting, camping and trail gear, you’ll also find knowledgeable owners and salespeople who will help you make the perfect selection. They’ll even give you some free advice on where to use the gear you’re buying. If you’re purchasing a gift for someone who is not familiar with the area, jot down a few of these tips and ideas and include them with the gift­­—this is the ideal time to dream about 2019 adventures!

Clothing

In Oneida County, you’ll find small boutiques with stylish offerings and a level of customer service that’s second to none. These retailers are committed to helping you look your best and many of them have developed loyal followings. Whether you’re looking for a gift or are shopping for a special occasion, you’ll select something perfect.

Sweets

There’s never a bad time to go shopping for sweet treats in Oneida County, but the holiday season is particularly delicious. Choose from handcrafted candies, delicious fudge and more. Buy some sweet gifts… but be sure to get something for yourself!

Plan your shopping trip today. Click the links below to see retail offerings in Oneida County’s communities:

Unforgettable fall hikes

The leaves are gorgeous in Oneida County and now is the ideal time to take the spectacle in, one step at a time. Our networks of scenic hiking trails are the perfect path to enjoying the county’s best fall beauty. We have options for experienced hikers seeking a challenge, as well as gentle paths that will offer anyone an unforgettable experience.

Bailey Lake Equestrian Trail, Three Lakes

On this picturesque trail, you just might see a horse walking through the leaves. The unpaved scenic path, which was once used by loggers, runs 15 miles through a wilderness camping area east of Three Lakes. 

CAVOC Trails, Rhinelander

This 5-mile unpaved trail is hilly and scenic, perfect for those seeking a challenging hike through the woods. There are lots of looped options to explore. You’ll find the trail east of Rhinelander with an entrance off South Shore Drive. 

Enterprise County Trail, Enterprise

In southeast Oneida County, explore two unpaved four-mile loops featuring some hilly terrain through the Oneida County Forest. 

Madeline Trail, Woodruff

This 16.5-mile trail features easy to moderate terrain and some rolling hills. There are spots to take in nice views of Madeline lake. You’ll find the trailhead off Rudolph Road, about two miles southeast of Woodruff.

McNaughton Trail, Lake Tomahawk

This beautiful 13-mile trail south of Lake Tomahawk rings a few small lakes. It features largely gentle terrain, although there are a few steep hills. 

Take in the fresh air at these summer festivals

There’s something happening every weekend this summer in Oneida County, including music festivals, classic car shows, craft fairs and more. See what’s on the calendar and make plans to join the fun. Here are four upcoming events you won’t want to miss.

Snowshoe baseball games 

Snowshoe baseball? In the summer? Yep. In 1961, the town chairman of Lake Tomahawk came up with this event as a way to give summer tourists and residents another source of entertainment. The idea took off and people have been swinging, stumbling and laughing ever since. The games take place on summer evenings at 7:30pm in Lake Tomahawk’s Snowshoe Park. There’s no admission, but you’re welcome to throw a few dollars into the butterfly net that’s passed around during the game or just sit back, relax and enjoy the game.

Learn more

Hodag Country Festival

If you love country music, you need to be in Rhinelander from July 12-15 for the annual Hodag Country Festival. Join 30,000 country music fans for four days of live shows by some of the biggest names in country music, including Clint Black, Toby Keith and Neal McCoy.

Learn more

Nicolet Wheel-a-Way

On September 1, cruise down the beautiful roads of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and join the Nicolet Wheel-A-Way, a late summer tradition in Three Lakes. This fun bicycle ride is not a race, but rather a scenic tour along an 18-mile or 36-mile route. There will be a support wagon to accommodate riders’ needs and plenty of refreshments at stops along the way.

Learn more

Beef-A-Rama

Where’s the beef? In Minocqua of course, during the last weekend of September. This fun-filled festival celebrates everything beef and includes the Rump Roast Run and a Parade of Beef. There’s also a special “Calf Mile” for kids. Beef-A-Rama features cook-offs, games for all ages, great food and live music that will get you moo-ving.

Learn more.

See more Oneida County events.

ATV adventures

ATV riders will find a lot to love in Oneida County. There are miles of riding on trails and rural roads and routes that will take you through timeless Northwoods scenery. The 2018 riding season has arrived—here are some things to know before you rev your engines.

The trails: Head to southwestern Oneida County to launch your trail adventure. There are two trail systems that will take you through segments the 82,000-acre Oneida County Forest, across wild creeks and past woodland lakes. Miles of additional riding can be found on rural roads. The Little Rice ATV/UTV Trail System will take you through the Oneida County Forest. The trail system includes 16 miles of beautiful woodland trails and 23 miles of lightly trafficked connecting ATV road routes. There are also 76 additional miles of town roads that are open to ATV use. Parking is available at the north end of the system. See a trail map here.

The Enterprise ATV Trail System includes 13 miles of trail and a couple of short road routes in the Oneida County Forest. The trail connects to systems in Lincoln and Langlade counties. The Enterprise trailhead is located at the north end of the system. To reach the trailhead, take County Highway 17 south from Rhinelander 7 miles to Bowman Road. Take Bowman Road east 1 mile to the trail parking lot. See a map here. ATV camping is available at Enterprise Campground, located within the Oneida County Forest, about 11 miles south of Rhinelander on Shingle Mill Road. The campground is accessible via the Enterprise ATV trail or via Shingle Mill Road. There are 11 campsites with grills, fire rings and picnic tables. Restrooms and hand pump wells are also available. Fees are $10 per night per site, payable by self-registration. The campground is open from May 22 until December 1. 

The regulations: Oneida County’s trails are open from May 22 until December 2 and are open to ATVs and UTVs up to 65 inches wide. Ride safe and follow the rules—be sure to stop at the stop signs and stay below 10mph when you see caution signs like “slow,” “steep hill,” “dip,” or “turn.” See a flyer with regulations here.

Learn more about ATV/UTV trails in Oneida County.

Museum secrets

What do a million pennies and an elderly woman on snowshoes have to do with Oneida County? Find out this summer with a tour of Oneida County’s fascinating local history museums. You’ll learn about the rugged loggers that harvested trees here, and you’ll discover what it was like to attend a one-room school heated by a wood stove. Here are some things you can discover in Oneida County.

Dr. Kate Museum, Woodruff

In the years before there were powerful snowplows clearing Oneida County’s roads, there was a small woman called “the Angel on Snowshoes.” Dr. Kate Pelham Newcomb did not have wings, but she was angelic to the residents of Oneida County who were in need of medical care during the cold winter months. Dr. Kate reached her patients on snowshoes, but she knew her patients needed more. She launched a campaign to build a hospital, and students began collecting pennies to make it possible. The dream captured the world’s imagination, and pennies began pouring in from all over the planet. The hospital was built, and in 1988, a museum was constructed to preserve Dr. Kate’s special story.

Pioneer Park Historical Complex

Explore Rhinelander’s logging history at this popular historical park. Take a stroll through the Rhinelander School Museum, learn about lumberjacks in the Logging Museum and check out the Soo Line Depot and the Conservation Corps Museum. You’ll also see an authentic recreation of an 1870s lumberjack camp, a wide variety of logging equipment and an outstanding collection of items and artifacts from Rhinelander’s past.

Three Lakes Historical Society & Museum

Located at the Johnson House, the oldest known home in Three Lakes, the museum has seven exhibit buildings chronicling the history of the Three Lakes area. It includes details about Native Americans who lived in the area, as well as information about the logging, farming and railroad industries. The museum also showcases Three Lakes tourism during the 1940s and 1950s and includes information on notable people and events from recent years.

Minocqua Museum

This charming little museum is worth a return visit—it has exhibits that change from year to year but always include details about the Island City’s special past. Previous exhibits have focused on pioneer families, early electricity in Minocqua and waterski memorabilia. Come see what’s new—and old!

Spring fishing opener

On Saturday, May 5, you’ll see people heading to Oneida County lakes at sunrise. The official kickoff to the main Wisconsin fishing season happens at 5am that day, when anglers will again test their skill (and luck) in some of the best fishing waters in the Northwoods. Here’s a quick guide to spring fishing in Oneida County and what you need to plan a getaway that’s off the hook.

Land the perfect lake

Oneida County has 1,100 lakes, so the fishing options are almost endless. This bounty of lakes ranges from large and easily accessible waters to lakes that provide adventurous anglers with a backcountry fishing experience. Some of Oneida County’s popular fishing lakes include Boom Lake, Lake Nokomis, Lake Tomahawk, the Rainbow Flowage and Lake Minocqua. 

Count your catch

Walleye and northern pike will be prime targets for anglers in May, but they are just the start of the action on the water. The musky season kicks off May 26, and the summer harvest season for bass starts June 16 (the catch and release season for bass is May 5-June 15). See the state’s key fishing dates and license information here.

Stay on the water

There’s nothing like waking up to a view of an Oneida County lake. Oneida County’s communities have numerous lodging options that will get to close to—or on—the water. Your options include traditional fishing cabins with facilities to clean your fish to classic resorts and hotels and motels. Need trailer parking? No problem. Most Oneida County accommodations will have plenty of room for your boat.

Hook a great meal

After spending a day on a beautiful lake, you’ll probably work up a whale of an appetite. Take a look at some of the great dining establishments you’ll find throughout Oneida County.

County forest recreation guide

Oneida County is a place for people who love the outdoors. Nearly a quarter of the land in the county is public, open for anyone to enjoy. These lands include more than 80,000 acres managed by Oneida County. This county-owned land is broken into three sections, called “blocks,” that are home to winding trails, wild streams and vast tracts of hardwoods. Here’s a quick guide to help you explore each section of this wild forest. 

Cassian/Woodboro Block

In south central Oneida County, this 15,000-acre block includes a nice mix of Northwoods landscape. The forest includes aspen, oak, hardwood and pine trees. The Cassian/Woodboro Block includes bogs, wetlands and marshes, so it’s a great place for birdwatching. It’s also a popular silent sports destination; the Washburn Lake Trail, Nose Lake Trail and the Cassian Two-Way Ski Trail are all located in this block. The trailheads for all have parking and are ideal places to enter the forest. See a map of the forest block here.

Enterprise block

The Enterprise block is a square section of county forestland that covers 20,000 acres in southeast Oneida County. The forest is a mix of hardwoods, aspen, oak, balsam fir and spruce trees, and it has a nice mix of recreation options. In the southwest corner of the block, you’ll find the Enterprise Campground and ATV trail. In all, the Enterprise block has 12 miles of off-road ATV trails. In the northeast corner of the block there’s also a fat bike and primitive ski trail. The Enterprise Block is bordered by Lincoln and Langlade County. See a map here.

Lynne/Little Rice block

This block in the southwest corner of Oneida County is the largest section of county forest, covering more than 40,000 acres. It has a nice mix of trails and relaxation spots. There’s a picnic area and boat landing at a small lake called Bass Lake; there’s another picnic area near a scenic river spot (Willow Rapids) and a popular recreation trail, the Lynne/Little Rice ATV Trail System. That system includes 20 miles of woodland trails and 16 miles of connecting ATV road routes. You can access the trails on the north side of the forest block; you’ll find three parking areas. See a map here.

Interested in more trails? Order our free Travel & Trail Guide and explore many more miles of forest beauty.

 

Romantic getaways in Oneida County

Someone special deserves someplace special, so this year, make plans to head to Oneida County. It’s a perfect destination for couples—our lodging and dining options will make your travels comfortable; our mix of outdoor recreation and indoor attractions will make your getaway unforgettable. Here are a few tips on where to stay and what to do while you’re in Oneida County.

Cozy lodging

Book a perfect retreat for two. Whether you’re looking for a romantic bed & breakfast, a cabin tucked in the forest or a hotel with a pool, you’ll find it in Oneida County. Use this listing of community pages to explore your options.

Delicious restaurants

Enjoy a memorable meal in an Oneida County restaurant. We have classic supper clubs and upscale establishments perfect for a couple to celebrate the weekend (or a lifetime) together. Many of our restaurants have dramatic forest and lake views—call ahead to get the best table.

Outdoor beauty and recreation

Forests in Oneida County take on a fresh new look in the winter. A blanket of white covers the forest floor, and snowflakes delicately dust the trees. Enjoy a peaceful hike or snowshoe outing and take in this quiet beauty. A good place for a winter walk is the Almon Park Trail south of Rhinelander. Be sure to take in the scenic winter views of Buck Lake.

Attractions

Oneida County has a lively assortment of indoor attractions. Three Lakes Winery produces more than 30 varieties of wine and offers wine tastings. Share a bottle of one of their favorites like Wisconsin Cranberry or the Cabin Blend. Art lovers should check out the latest exhibitions at the gallery at Nicolet College in Rhinelander. In the evening, catch a show at Three Lakes Center for the Arts.