Rock Lake CAMBA Trails
Get ready for some of the best off-road riding the Northwoods has to offer. Part of the Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association's (CAMBA) 300-plus mile system of trails, the Rock Lake Trails have been a favorite for a decade. The forest is so dense that you often ride in a tunnel of trees. The mix of pines, spruce, birch, oak and maple fill the air with a fragrance as pure as creation. When you burst into the open at Rock Lake, the panorama will surely bring a "Wow" to your lips. In autumn, the changing colors against the blue sky and lake are truly spectacular. It's a good spot to listen for the eerie call of the loon. These ancient birds love pristine, isolated places. They survive through their fishing ability and, unlike most birds, have dense bones that allow them to swim swiftly underwater. Mother loons can be seen carrying their little ones on their backs. Bald eagles are another fishing visitor to the lake. Expect to hear some loud squawking from mother loon if one comes along. The Rock Lake trail system was originally a cross-country ski trail that became popular with mountain bikers in the 1980s; too popular as it turned out. Never designed for wheeled vehicles, overuse soon caused erosion problems. Attempts to solve the rapid water runoff with rubber water bars produced mixed results and a less-pleasing ride. Then, a few years ago, CAMBA undertook an extensive project to create a single-track trail system that would replace the erosion-prone ski trail sections. These are the trails you now enjoy. Single-track riding on the Rock Lake system varies from moderate to extreme. For most riders it's actually less demanding than the cross-country ski trails that often took the most direct ascents and descents - the "fall lines" the terrain offered. The new trail design switches back on slopes at relatively low grades making riding easier and keeping water from building erosion-producing speed. That doesn't mean there isn't plenty of challenge here. Rock Lake riding is full of twists and turns, rocks, roots and frequent grade changes. On the furthest loop around Hildebrand Lake, the CAMBA trail design-demons chose to pitch some warp-10 difficulty at riders tough enough to get that far. As if there weren't enough rocks in the original trail, designers strategically placed more stone to increase the difficulty. In places you'll find multi-step drops, narrow passages, thread-thin side hill sections, and the crowning glory, a single-plank bridge at the lake's outlet. Now that's taking single-track riding to the extreme. The Cable area is known for its comfortable resorts and fine restaurants. You'll want to allow some time to enjoy them. The Cable Natural History Museum is an amazing resource to find in a tiny community. Their award-winning original exhibits will help you appreciate the magnificent wilderness you just rode through.
Trail Length (miles)