Lake Pepin Snowmobile Tour

With more than 350 miles of trails in Pierce and Pepin Counties, many interesting side trips are possible. If you jump-off from Pepin, you're at the south end of beautiful Lake Pepin, a unique stretch of the Mississippi River.In its 2,500-mile course, Lake Pepin is the Mississippi's only such natural lake. For 24 miles the river expands to nearly two-and-a-half miles wide, filling the valley from bluff to bluff. What changed the river into this lovely lake? Riding north on Corridor Trail #37 you'll soon find the answer. Skirting the edge of the Chippewa River, notice how fast the water flows. The drop of the Chippewa is greater than that of the Mississippi, enabling it to carry heavier deposits into the Mississippi Valley. The Mississippi couldn't carry the silt away and Lake Pepin backed up behind the delta. So much for that mighty Mississippi stuff.Leaving the broad Chippewa Valley behind, it's back to small streams as you follow Corridor Trail #22 to Plum City. Swinging west you'll find the Rush River Snowmobile Club warming house; you're welcome to stop in for refreshments or to warm-up during open hours on Saturdays and Sundays. Continuing north on Trail #22, you'll cruise rolling farm land to Ellsworth, the Pierce County seat. Further west, you'll find Prescott at the confluence of the Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers. The Welcome and Heritage Center offers visitor information and displays of local history. Five miles north of town, you can visit Kinnickinnic State Park which features scenic overlooks and cross-country ski trails.To trace the southern swing on this tour, follow Trail #22 to Bay City, the northern end of Lake Pepin. The trail turns north up Isabelle Creek and over 600-foot-high Oak Ridge. As you descend Crystal Springs Coulee you'll see the vast stretch of Lake Pepin bracketed between towering limestone bluffs. Crossing the Rush River and climbing to the bluff top, Corridor Trail #39 turns south across rolling farmland and ridgetops as it returns to Pepin. Along the way you'll pass Stockholm, just a few miles off the trail. This quaint river town (population 89) is the oldest Swedish settlement in western Wisconsin. Its historic nineteenth-century buildings today house galleries, antique and gift shops. You'll also pass very near the Little House Wayside, located 7 miles northwest of Pepin on Cty CC. The three-acre wayside holds a full-scale replica of the "Little House in the Big Woods," where Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in 1867. Hope you've enjoyed this "wilder" time on the Mississippi.