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.

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.

 

Oneida County’s top trail systems

Cross-County skiers in Oneida County are treated to plentiful options. There are 17 trail systems open to the public, including trails that are suitable for beginners, casual skiers and seasoned racers. While there are some short options good for families and first-timers there are also longer trails that provide hours of fun. Here’s a guide to some of Oneida County’s largest trail systems.

Cassian County Two-Way Trail

Trail length: 18 miles

This north-south trail in the Town of Cassian features easy terrain that’s groomed for classic-style skiing. It’s located 5.5 miles west of Hwy. 47 on Hwy. K. There’s also a new trailhead on the north end of the trail at 5332 Beaver Lake Road.

McNaughton Trail

Trail length: 13 miles

This trail features a variety of looping options and is groomed for skate and classic-style skiing. You’ll find a trailhead with parking off Kildare Road south of Lake Tomahawk.

Minocqua Winter Park

Trail Length: 75 miles

One of the county’s best-known trail systems is also the longest in the county. It’s popular with competitive skiers as well as families and beginners. The expansive, carefully groomed trails make this a destination worth visiting. On-site amenities include a chalet serving food, a rental shop, tubing hill and skating rink. You’ll find the park west of Minocqua, off Squirrel Lake Road.

Washburn Lake Trail

Trail Length: 15 miles

If you’re a cross-country skier looking for hills, you’ll find them on this trail system. The terrain at here can offer a challenging workout, so it’s a favorite training spot for ski racers. It’s groomed for skating and classic skiing, and there are also some loops good for beginners. The trail is located about seven miles west of Rhinelander, just off Washburn Lake Road.

Snipe Lake & Ewald Lake Trails

snipe lake mapDownload a printable map (pdf)

This extensive trail system treats the user to rolling terrain and a variety of wildlife habitats and timber types. The Vilas County Forest Roads are not plowed during the winter and several segments of these roads serve as snowmobile trails. However, the Hunter/Hiking Trails can be accessed during the winter from Wilderness Trail, a Town of Cloverland Road.

Length:16.4 miles

Location:From the intersection of Hwys 17 and 70 west of Eagle River, continue west on Hwy 70 approximately 6 miles to Wilderness Trail. Turn north on Wilderness Trail and continue approximately 1 mile to the Snipe Lake Fire Lane or continue on Wilderness Trail to the Snipe Lake Boat Landing for additional parking and trail access.

Northwoods Ski Trail

NorthwoodsSkiTrail 2 NorthwoodsSkiTrailDownload/print PDF version

  • The groomed trails trails are well suited for beginner to intermediate skiers with a
    one-kilometer skate trail on steep hills for the adventurous expert skier
  • Cross country skiing during winter season only
  • Donation contribution box available at trail head, encouraged for daily trail use

Directions: The trailhead is located at Northwoods Golf Course about 2.5 miles west of Rhinelander just off highway 8 on Golf Course Rd.

Washburn Lake Trail

WashburnLakeSilentSportsTrail 2Download/print PDF version

  • Hilly terrain, intermediate to advanced
  • Separate ski and snowshoe trails
  • Groomed for skating and diagonal skiing
  • Single track bike trails
  • Heated shelter available at Perch Lake trail head
  • Trail pass required for skiing, biking and snowshoeing
  • Pets allowed in summer only

Directions: Seven miles west of Rhinelander and 3 miles north of
Woodboro & Hwy 8, just off Washburn Lake Rd.
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