Around the Horn Tour

Here's a chance to test your legs on a challenging route "around the horn" of the Bayfield Peninsula. It pays off with a jackpot of scenery and attractions at the very top of the state.The course profile shows some tough hills on this ride. If you round the horn clockwise, the last eight miles into Cornucopia are one of the best downhill runs anywhere; pedaling is purely optional on some stretches. But, be prepared: there are no services available on the long hauls between Washburn and Cornucopia or on to Red Cliff. If that payoff doesn't seem worth the considerable effort of the long climb on Cty. C, you might consider a more modest 26-mile ride out-and-back on Hwy 13 between Washburn and Bayfield. There are plenty of great views along that part of the route too. The "Around the Horn" tour is from a collection of 19 great on-road routes presented in the Ashland & Bayfield County Bicycle Map available from the area contacts listed. The map includes tours as short as 11 miles, some on easy terrain, to premier challenges like this tour. Summer fun in this neck of the Northwoods is often defined by the performance schedule of Big Top Chautauqua. For more than two decades the "Carnegie Hall of tent shows" has brought a series of national headliners and original productions to their blue canvas tent atop Mt. Ashwabay (performances June-LD+, 888/244-8368 or www.bigtop.org). No visit to the Bayfield Peninsula would be complete without getting out on the lake. Boat tours and sea kayaking are popular and readily available. A ride on the Madeline Island Ferry to La Pointe with your bike, car or on foot is an easy way to take in the sights (operating Apr-Jan 15, 715/747-2051 or www.madferry.com). Just a few steps from the ferry dock is the palisade of the reconstructed fur trading post that houses the Madeline Island Historical Museum (open daily MD-early Oct; 10 am-5pm; 866/944-7483 or www.wisconsinhistory.org/madelineisland). Six miles east of La Pointe the quiet beauty of Big Bay State Park beckons (715/747-6425 or www.wiparks.net). Back on the mainland in Bayfield you can visit the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Visitor Center in the old county courthouse (open daily May-Oct, 8am-5pm, 715/779-3397 or www.nps.gov/apis/) and the Bayfield Maritime Museum (June, Sep & Oct daily, 10am-5pm; July & Aug 10am-7pm, 715/779-9919 or www.bayfield.org). The lore and legend of the area's native Ojibwe, French fur traders and missionaries, sailors, shipwrecks and lumberjacks is displayed at the Washburn Historical Museum (Open daily, Apr-Aug 10am-4pm; Mon-Sat, Sep-Dec 10am-2pm, 715/373-5591). The museum is located in a striking 19th Century bank building built with locally quarried sandstone, the same stone used in many of New York City's famous brownstones. At the end of the day you'll agree that the beautiful Bayfield Peninsula is indeed a horn of plenty.