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Bayfield Forest and Lakeshore Snowmobile Tour
You won't find a better way to sample the winter diversity of Bayfield County than by snowmobile. Northern Bayfield County is characterized by contours of rugged hills that roll north to Lake Superior, while the south is lakes, bogs, and rivers.More than 90 percent of the county is publicly owned. Forest dominates the land. Lake effect snow keeps 600 miles of groomed trails and more than 1,000 miles of unplowed forest roads prime for snowmobiling. Bayfield County's wilderness is interspersed with just enough services and hospitality to keep any rider happy. A snowmobile lets you sample it all.Before leaving the Village of Cable, stop at the Cable Natural History Museum for a look at the wildlife that inhabit the forest.Heading east on Trail #8, you swing south of Lake Namekagon. At the intersection with Corridor Trail #25, turn north. You'll pass 400-foot St. Peter's Dome, then break out of the woods into farmland, one of the few open stretches on the route. A plunge into the deeply cut valley of the White River adds to the fun.After junctioning with Trail #13, you merge with Tri-County Corridor Trail #2, a rail bed trail that allows access to downtown Ashland, one mile to the east. Follow Corridor #2 west two miles to Trail #13 north to the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center. This new, free, year-round facility showcases the cultural history of the Lake Superior region.Continuing north on Trail #13, you follow the shore of Chequamegon Bay to the hospitable town of Washburn, a jumping off point for side trips to the beautiful Apostle Islands.Turning inland, Trail #13 takes you to the Mt. Valhalla Recreation Area. You can pause atop Mt. Valhalla overlooking its ski slopes. Stop at the comfortable rustic chalet to warm-up by the fireplace.Less than a mile northwest of Mt. Valhalla the trail plunges into the powder-filled Sun Bowl, an 80-acre glacial pit. Cold year-round temperatures at the bottom keep trees and other vegetation from taking hold.Your next destination is Old Baldy near the junction of Trail #4 and #3. On a clear day you can see all the way to Minnesota from this popular lookout.Winding southwest on Battle Axe Road, (Trail #3), you pass through one of the most isolated sections of the forest. Just before reaching the town of Iron River you loop east and south through a lake-dotted area before jumping on Tri-County Corridor Trail #2 for a short stretch.Picking up Corridor Trail #4 and heading southeast, you'll find wonderful overviews of the White River from a ridge top run just east of Delta. Another scenic spot is just south of Mason on Trail #63 where a trestle on the old rail bed is great for spotting deer. A wrecked locomotive still lies under the ice next to the trail.Less than a mile west of Grandview you cross the impressive 583-foot long Eighteen Mile Creek trestle, 75 feet above the stream bed. If you pass through Drummond on a Tuesday or Wednesday you can stop at the Historical Museum to view wildlife exhibits and learn of the town's lumber mill past.From Drummond, hit the Wildcat Trail south to Cable to complete this winter loop through Bayfield County.