Pokegama Trail

Superior is blessed with one of the largest municipal forests in the country. It has a biological diversity that makes it the largest boreal forest in Wisconsin. The 4,500 acres are a haven for wildlife and have long been a playground for hikers, canoeists and cross-country skiers. Now, mountain bikers can enjoy the beauty of the forest and the challenge of a tough single-track trail.The forest occupies the peninsulas formed by stream estuaries that flow into the Duluth/Superior harbor on Lake Superior. In fact, Pokegama is the Ojibwe word for "river bay." For the mountain biker it's an amazingly quiet, out-of-the-way place where sighting a great blue heron flying up from the lily pads and reeds is more likely than seeing another human.The Pokegema Trail is a "purpose built" mountain bike trail, meaning it was built to present a technically challenging four-mile ride. The tight and twisting single-track trail will constantly surprise you with sudden drops down to narrow foot-and-a-half wide boardwalks followed by short, steep climbs. Be sure to have your mud tires on because you'll need them on the single-track.They'll also be good on the roots and logs and for the soft sand on the northern part of the abandoned road. The single-track winds through beautiful stands of white pine, cedars and paper birch. Views of the bay are few, but are made more stunning by the shoreline stands of birch. It's a shock when you pop out of the woods at the abandoned road and all your gear shifting and bike handling skills are no longer needed. You can choose to backtrack on the single-track to the trailhead or just cruise on the flat road. A great way to get a close look at Superior's harbor is to ride the Osaugie Trail (archived on www.travelwisconsin.com). This five-mile paved trail will take you past some of the city's finest views and attractions.The "Twin Ports" harbor of Superior and Duluth is the largest bulk cargo shipper on the Great Lakes. Hundreds of "salties," ocean-going ships from around the world, make their way through the St. Lawrence Seaway to take on grain and ore at Superior. The city has a rich heritage on land, water and in the air that you'll want to learn more about during your visit. At Barker's Island, take a one-hour tour of the S.S. Meteor Maritime Museum (open May 15-Oct 15, Mon-Sat 9am-5pm, Sun 11am-5pm; 715/394-5712, www.superiorpublicmuseums.org). Built in Superior in 1896, the Meteor is the last of a fleet of sleek "whaleback" freighters designed to take-on the rough seas of the Great Lakes. The Richard I. Bong World War II Heritage Center displays WWII memorabilia as well as a Lockheed P-38 like the one flown by Wisconsin's Richard Bong in the Pacific Theater where he became America's "Ace of Aces" (open MD-Oct 31 daily 9am-5pm; 888/816-9944 or www.bongheritagecenter.org). Other glimpses into Superior's past can be seen at the ornate 42-room Fairlawn Mansion (open Mon-Sat 9am-5pm, Sun 11am-5pm; 715/394-5712 or www.superiorpublicmuseums.org) and at the Old Firehouse & Police Museum (open mid-May to mid-Oct, Thurs-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun noon-5pm; 715/394-5712). A short drive from the city takes you to a pair of excellent state parks. East of Superior at Amnicon Falls State Park, you can listen to the babbling waters of the Amnicon River as it cascades over a fault line in a stand of tall pines (715/398-3000 or www.wiparks.net). To the south of the city you'll find Pattison State Park (715/399-3111 or www.wiparks.net). Its stellar attraction is Big Manitou Falls, the state's highest at 165 feet.

Trail Length (miles)

  • 6.8

Difficulty

  • Hard