Four Counties Snowmobile Tour

Four counties mean four times the snowmobiling fun on this loop through Central Wisconsin. A dozen small towns and two cities lie along the route. You'll pass farm and forest scenery as well as visit vast cranberry marshes. Opportunities to explore other trails are nearly endless; Clark County has 295 miles of trail, Jackson County has 260 miles, Portage County has 235 miles and Wood County has 226 miles. Starting in Junction City and traveling south on Corridor Trail #21, you'll cross scenic Mill Creek on your way from Portage County into Wood County and the town of Rudolph. There, Wisconsin Dairy State Cheese makes Cheddar, Colby and Monterey Jack. You can watch from an observation deck; then purchase their tasty cheeses. Taking Corridor Trail #26 west, you'll cross Moccasin Creek on the way to Vesper. As you ride, the land transforms from farm to forest. Near Dexterville and the Corridor Trail #23 shortcut, you'll ride into a vast lowland pine forest that was once covered by glacial Lake Wisconsin. Ten thousand years ago, melt water from the continental ice sheet flooded more than 1,800 square miles here; an area larger than the bay of Green Bay. These lowlands in the old lake basin are perfect for cranberry marshes. West of Dexterville you'll pass miles of cranberry marshes as you head into Jackson County - the cradle of Wisconsin's cranberry industry. Cranberries are the state's top fruit crop, measured in acreage and value. Wood and Jackson Counties are tops in the state. Some cranberry marshes in the area have produced for more than 100 years. Don't be surprised if you see dump trucks spreading thin layers of sand on the frozen marshes. When the ice melts in spring, the sand settles and enriches the cranberry vines. The rising silhouette of pine and oak-covered hills tells you that you are leaving cranberry country. Heading north to Pray on Trail #7, you'll ride over the "saddle" of twin-peaked Saddle Mound. Soon you'll cross the Black River not far from its headwaters in the cranberry marshes. Nearing Granton, the scenery changes back to prime Wisconsin dairy land. A ten-mile run west on Corridor Trail #25 takes you to Neillsville where WCCN's Wisconsin Pavilion (open daily, 9am-5pm, 715/743-3333) on the outskirts of town greets visitors with its futuristic architecture. The pavilion once housed the Wisconsin exhibit at the 1964 World's Fair. Three miles west of Neillsville, The Highground Veteran's Memorial Park honors America's war dead. Peaceful and serene, the park occupies a ridgeline overlooking a half-million acres of state and county forest. A gift shop/information center is open year round at various hours. East of Granton along O'Neill Creek, Corridor Trail #25 takes you to Chili where you'll pick up a club trail to Corridor Trail #23. The trail crosses both the north and south branches of the Yellow River on its way to the Marshfield area. Off-route in Marshfield, the Upham Mansion preserves the 1880 Victorian home of former Wisconsin Governor William Henry Upham. Also open in winter, the Wildwood Park & Zoo has a great collection of North American animals including grizzly bears, mountain lions, timber wolves, buffalo and elk.On the way back to Junction City you'll pass a string of four towns - Hewitt, Auburndale, Blenker and Miladore - dotting the Soo Line Railroad line. With more than 1,000-miles of trail in the four counties on this route, you'll agree that four is a magic number for snowmobile adventure.