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.

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!

Fall color, fun events & more

Fall color season offers plenty of ways to enjoy the beauty in Oneida County. Here’s your guide to planning a spectacular fall getaway in any of Oneida County’s welcoming communities.

Explore these scenic trails

Where to see the best colors? Here are some trails and nature paths known for great fall scenery:

Raven Nature Trail – You’ll find this 13.5-mile scenic trail near Clear Lake, north of Minocqua. The trails are open in the fall for hiking and biking. The terrain includes some hills, and the views are breathtaking.

Awassa Nature Preserve & Hiking Trail – An easy 5 miles of trails where you can experience Oneida County’s pristine and colorful forests on this beautiful trail that wanders through stands of mature pines, oaks, maples, and a rich understory of balsam fir. The trail is located west of St. Germain.

Three Eagle Trail – This mostly level 12.7-mile trail heads through some pretty country north of Three Lakes. The trail passes through wetlands and includes nice stretches of fall color. It’s a great place for an easy walk or bike ride.

Washburn Lake Trail – This hilly trail offers a rewarding hiking experience west of Rhinelander. It’s good for fall hiking or mountain biking.

Click here to explore more Oneida County trails.

Mark your calendar for these events

Events celebrating the change of the season are fast approaching:

In mid-September, more than 40,000 motorcycle enthusiasts and others celebrate fall at the Tomahawk Fall Ride.

Also in middle of September check out Lake Tomahawk’s Lioness Annual Harvest Festival, it features an arts and crafts fair, pumpkin carving and concessions. And at St. Germain, fall festivities take place at Colorama & Pints in the Park in with live entertainment, microbrew sampling, and a human foosball tournament.

In the end of September, the Harvest Hoedown takes place in Rhinelander. There is a pig roast, live music, hayrides, face painting and more.

Check out more festivals and events in the area here.

 

Catching adventure in Oneida County

Fishing in Oneida County is pure heaven. Some of the most iconic lakes in the Northwoods are located in Oneida County, including the Rhinelander Flowage, Boom Lake and the Willow Flowage. The county has many smaller lakes that you might not have heard of, but they are all well stocked with fish and are waiting for your line. Here are a few tips for to make your next fishing trip to Oneida County perfect:

Save the date
Mark your calendar for key Oneida County fishing dates. The main fishing season for gamefish (like walleye and northern pike) starts May 6. Musky season starts May 27. June 3-4 is the state of Wisconsin’s Free Fishing Weekend, when no fishing license is required (but other rules and regulations still apply.

Seize the season
Oneida County is known for its abundant gamefish—you’ll find excellent bass fishing and great walleye action. Late spring is an ideal time to target these fish, as water temperatures are optimal. Plan your spring getaway now—the fish are waiting!

Find a guide
Oneida County has plenty of knowledgeable fishing guides who will help make your fishing trip more productive and fun. These guides not only take care of all the logistics, they have years of experience on local lakes that they are more than happy to share.

Book perfect lodging
Oneida County has plenty of accommodations that are ideal for a fishing trip, including cabins, hotels, motels and resorts. Properties are filling quickly – to find the perfect place, make your reservations now.

Learn more about fishing

Uncovering Oneida County’s surprises

Uncovering Oneida County’s surprises

While Oneida County is known for its beautiful lakes and trails, it may be surprising that it is home to some amazing attractions. Some of these places fly under the radar and others are well-known establishments that have been enjoyed by generations of travelers. Here are a few attractions to check out on your next Oneida County getaway:

Three Lakes Winery

Oneida County is wine country? You bet. If you’ve never tasted the wines produced by this craft winery, you’re in for a treat. Three Lakes Winery produces wines flavored with cranberry, rhubarb and pumpkin! Stop in for a free tasting – they’re available daily throughout the year.

Kovak Planetarium

Take a cosmic journey next time you’re in Hodag Country. The Kovac Planetarium is a one-of-a-kind globe-style planetarium displaying a complete replica of the night skies. The planetarium was built by Frank Kovac, a paper worker who dreamed of becoming an astrophysicist.

Three Lakes Center for the Arts

After World War II, hundreds of military Quonset huts were repurposed into movie theaters. Just six remain, and one is located in the heart of Three Lakes. The Three Lakes Center for the Arts is housed in a structure once owned by the SeaBees in World War II. A local sports hero, Cy Williams, designed and built the original 1946 theater. Today the building is a center for arts and entertainment and it regularly hosts movies and concerts.

 

Find more attractions

Fish big, win big on the ice

Things are about to heat up on Oneida County’s beautiful frozen lakes. When bragging rights and a full catch isn’t enough, make things a little more interesting and head to an Oneida County fishing tournament, where a good day on the lake might just fill the pockets of your parka with cash.

Here are a few places to try your luck this winter.

  • Feb. 4 – UPS/United Way Ice Fishing Jamboree. Stacks Bay on Lake Minocqua in Minocqua.
  • Feb. 11-12 – Lion’s Club Fisheree and Winter Festival. Boom Lake in Rhinelander.
  • Feb. 25 – Somo Game Club Ice Fishing Jamboree. Somo Lake in Tomahawk.

These events feature fishing contests and raffles that offer great prizes and they are a lot of fun. They just a taste of Oneida County’s winter events – they take place every weekend, on and off the lake. Find more winter festivals and events here. Discover more about ice fishing in Oneida County on our website and check out fishing reports here.

Snowmobile season! Five reasons to ride Oneida County

Oneida County is second to none for winter fun and that’s especially true when it comes to snowmobiling.If you’ve been on these trails before you know what a special place Oneida County is to ride. If you’re new to Oneida County’s trails, you’re in for a treat. The season passes quickly- be sure to plan your trip today. Here are five reasons why you should plan a snowmobile trip to Oneida County this winter.

Expansive trails

In Oneida County, the snowmobile trails are nearly endless. They stretch more than 1,000 miles connecting all of Oneida County’s beautiful communities. The trails connect with trails in neighboring counties and you can always find new routes to explore.

Great lodging

Oneida County offers a wide range of trailside lodging options for snowmobiliers, including hotels, motels, cabins and resorts. You’ll find plenty of parking for your trailer and warm, comfortable accommodations that will help you relax, recharge and be ready for more fun on the trails.

Tasty restaurants

It’s easy to work up a little hunger on the trails and Oneida County has plenty of tempting reasons to park the sled. Trail side restaurants and taverns serve snowmobiliers delicious burgers, cheese curds, fish frys and more.

Well groomed

Oneida County snowmobile clubs work tirelessly to ensure the trails are open and ready for fun. They have a small army of volunteers who work day and night to keep the trails in good condition. Be sure to thank these great individuals and be sure to support their fundraising events and activities. See a list of Oneida’s snowmobile clubs here.

Outdoor beauty

The big reason to ride Oneida County’s snowmobile trails is the spectacular scenery you’ll encounter. Oneida County is home to some of Wisconsin’s most pristine wilderness areas. It’s like riding through a different world – you’ll ride through towering stands of snow-covered pine, past beautiful windswept frozen lakes and through winding woodland paths. It’s all yours to explore.

oc snowmobiling

Fall hiking guide: chasing colors and fun

Fall is an outstanding time to take a hike in Oneida County. Across the county you’ll find trails perfect for an autumn hike. Hikers of all abilities will find an ideal route – Oneida County is not only home to smooth and gentle paths, but also has more rugged terrain that’s great for people seeking a bit of adventure. Right now, Oneida County’s forests are ablaze in color and peak days will be here soon. For the latest scoop on the changing colors, go to http://oneidacountywi.com/.

Here are some trails to check out this fall:

Madeline Trail, Woodruff

This 16.5-mile trail features east to moderate terrain and some rolling hills. You’ll find the trailhead off Rudolph Road, about two miles south of Woodruff. See map.

Bailey Lake Equestrian Trail, Three Lakes

You’ll likely see a horse or two on this 15-mile unpaved trail that’s located in a wilderness camping area east of Three Lakes. See map.

McNaughton Trail, Lake Tomahawk

This 13-mile unimproved trail south of Lake Tomahawk features largely gentle terrain, although there are a few steep hills. See map.

CAVOC Trails, Rhinelander

This 5-mile unpaved trail is hilly, perfect for a more challenging outing. You’ll find the trail east of Rhinelander with an entrance off South Shore Drive. See map. 

Enterprise County Trail, Enterprise.

In southeast Oneida County, explore two unpaved loops that feature some hilly terrain. See map.

 

Get out on the trails!

oc blog aug 2015Summer is a great time to explore Oneida County on two wheels. Here are some notable biking routes in Oneida County.

Bearskin State Trail

This 18-mile trail—a former railroad corridor that runs alongside Bearskin Creek—travels through Minocqua, Hazelhurst, Goodnow and Harshaw. Cyclists will find beautiful Northwoods vistas as they traverse lakes and streams. A trail pass is required for bicycling. Learn more about the Bearskin State Trail.

Mud Lake Trail

Mountain bikers can enjoy eight miles of single-track mountain bike trails near Mud Lake, three miles north of Rhinelander. Ride through pine forests and over log bridges. You can find parking at two lots off of Crystal Lake Road. Learn more about Rhinelander area trails.

Shannon Lake Trail

Shannon Lake, which sits just north of Little St. Germain Lake in northern Oneida County, is home to a multi-use trail system that welcomes mountain bikers, cross-country skiers, snowshoers and hikers. Trails range from 2.3 miles to 7 miles. Learn more about St. Germain area trails.

Four great biking routes

Biking with kids? Expert rider? Somewhere in between? Oneida County has you covered.

Here are a few great trails that offer something for every rider.

Bearskin State Trail

This beautiful 18-mile trail follows the Bearskin Creek along an 18-mile former railroad corridor. This trail features gentle riding and is suitable for families with children. The trail is covered with a surface of compacted gravel. The trail runs from Minocqua south towards Tomahawk and passes between Bearskin Lake and Little Bearskin Lake.

Mud Lake Trail

This fun trail, located about 3.5 miles north of Rhinelander, includes a series of loops. The system mostly comprises of single track and double Train mountain bike trails. The trails host two mountain bike races each year.

Raven Nature Trail

This is a moderately hilly system and it include some steep climbs. The trails are used by hikers and bikers in the summer; cross country skiers in the winter. The trail is located near Clear Lake, North of Minocqua.

Washburn Lake Trail

This trail system is located seven miles west of Rhinelander and about three miles north of Woodboro. The terrain is hilly, and features single trail trails ideal for moderate to advanced riders.

Looking for a fun and challenging trail event? Make Plans to attend the Rock’n Root Endurance Series September 12.