Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Discover Langlade County's Beauty by Bike

Along with the snowmobile, ATV, hiking, snowshoe and ski trails are a Mecca of biking opportunities in the County of Trails.   Whatever your skill level or mood level, there is a bike trail for you.  Recreationalists have a choice from a leisurely paved road ride on some of the most beautiful scenic country roads in the northwoods  to rolling off-road logging grades throughout the 127,000 acre County Forested lands to some of the most technical single track that Wisconsin has to offer (yes, the State).  Within the past few years, the County is being recognized as a mountain biking destination within the State.  The Wisconsin Off-Road (mountain bike) Race Series (WORS) and Wisconsin Endurance Mountain Bike Series (WEMS) has held races in the County as well as the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) and DNR holding sustainable trail building workshops in the County.

For the road-rider, there are various self-guided tours throughout the County.  Throughout these tours bikers will find fragrant evergreen forests, sparkling blue jewels of lakes, meandering brooks, and rushing rivers.  The sweeping vista of verdant farmland framed by distant wooded hills will make hearts sing.    These tours are mostly in the form of loops:  The Red River bike route is broken down into two sections, the Phlox Pond route and the Moose Lake route. Both of these routes are 21 miles in length. The Pearson scenic bike route consists of four routes, the Jack Lake route, Post Lake route, South Loop, and North Loop. To the north is the Summit Lake scenic bike route that consists of the Black Oak Lake route and the Town Line Lake route. Finally, there is the 32 mile Eau Claire Dells bike route which is mostly flat terrain with a few rolling hills.   An event that has become a favorite of many is the Annual Lakes to Leaves bike tour.   This ride, sponsored by the Antigo/Langlade Chamber of Commerce is held in the autumn, showcasing some of the most beautiful fall foliage in the State.  All skill levels are welcome and encouraged as there are various distanced-rides to choose from.

If you prefer fatter tires, then there is a treasure of single-track hidden away in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest just south of Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  It is currently 14 miles long with excellent flow. It has drops, boulders, and challenging climbs built from the incredible natural features found in Northern Wisconsin. The trail's surroundings include lakes, springs, creeks, giant boulders, and dramatic tornado affected areas.

Nicolet Roche is unique in several respects. It was purpose-built from scratch without the use of any existing trail or double track.  Along the way, expect to encounter incredibly sized boulders in a half-dozen trail sections.  One section is even named MOAB – “Mother of All Boulders”.  These huge landscape features dot the forest floor and offer high skill challenges.  However if your riding is not up to tackling these stone monsters there always alternate routes available.  Beyond the boulder fields, you will find more fun riding with short steep sections traversing 20 to 50 feet in elevation.  The riding here is a bit easier.  For beginners, many forest service roads offer slightly milder riding options as well as trails up in the Jack Lake/Veterans’ Memorial Park area.  Also, mountain biking is allowed on the Boulder Lake Campground Trail, a 1-1/2 mile ride around a bog on the forest floor or boardwalks.

Another great riding destination in the Summer/Fall season is out in the Polar area at Gartzke Flowage Cross Country/Snowshoe area.  There enthusiasts will find beautiful terrain that follows the ski trail system and is considered beginner through intermediate.  One of the beautiful features of the Flowage is the cabin that sits in the mid-section of the system.  This is a perfect spot for a picnic lunch as it overlooks the Flowage and its entire splendor.

Being surrounded by Menomonie County to the South and State and County Lands to the West adds to the feeling of isolation on the trail. Also using the additional forest roads and two National Forest campgrounds (Boulder Lake and Boot Lake Campground), the trails can be ridden point-to-point for an epic daylong ride. 

For maps or any information on biking or all other recreation including events in the County of Trails contact or download the FREE Langlade County App for your Android or iPhone.

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