Trail of Two Cities Snowmobile Tour

How does 185,000 horsepower sound? That's what the Wisconsin River can theoretically generate for river mills and power plants. In the 19th century, cheap waterpower helped river cities prosper. The Wisconsin River fueled so much industry that it became known as the hardest working river in the world. Two river cities that thrived then and continue to thrive today are Stevens Point and Wausau. Both are great destinations for a wonderful day of sledding through the unique and scenic Marathon and Portage county countryside. With flat plains in the southwest, rolling terrain and lakes in the east, and deep valleys in the northwest, this tour is one of scenic contrasts. Marathon is the largest county in the state and local clubs maintain 641 miles of trails. In Portage County you can explore another 235 miles of trail. In Stevens Point, the Main Street Historic District features more than sixty historic buildings around the popular CenterPoint MarketPlace shopping mall. The UW-Stevens Point Planetarium has free Sunday programs. Stevens Point Brewery tours showcase one of the state's oldest and smallest breweries. Riding east from the Stevens Point jumping-off point on Corridor Trail #15, you'll cover miles where the highest point is the top of a silo. This is the great outwash plain; fertile soil that washed off the continental ice sheet and pooled flat as the proverbial pancake. Any pioneer who got this land was lucky. Just beyond Polonia, as you turn north on Corridor Trail #13, things change. The terrain begins to roll and lakes pock the landscape. Here, you're riding over the moraine that marks the edge of the glacier. Fencerows are lined with snow-capped rocks, some six feet high or more. Farmers on this land spent years of backbreaking labor clearing their fields of these glacial remnants. Little crossroads towns are few and far between as you ride through scenery more woods and marsh than farmland. Rosholt, Galloway and Elderon offer welcome respite and good Main Street cafes. North of Elderon you'll cross the Mountain Bay State Trail; a potential shortcut to Wausau, or a direct route to Shawano and Green Bay to the east. Dipping briefly into Shawano County, the trail passes through Birnamwood where you'll find most services for you and your sled. Continuing north on Corridor Trail #13/20 and east on Trail Y, the woods become deeper. Once on Corridor Trail #18 the scenery changes again; youve left the rocky moraine for farmland. But not flat farmland like before. The glacier never touched this area. It's uphill and down before the trail drops into the valley of Prahl Creek to pick-up Corridor Trail #20 just above Nutterville. Soon you'll be on Corridor Trail #15 crossing the Eau Claire River and the Mountain Bay State Trail - again. Looking west you'll see the silhouette of Rib Mountain towering 640 feet above Wausau and the Wisconsin River. A club trail heading west from the Mountain Bay trailhead can take you directly into Schofield and Wausau.In Wausau, the Cedar Creek Factory Stores is a popular shopping destination. This 200,000 square-foot outlet mall houses more than thirty factory-direct stores. The Marathon County Historical Museum displays gorgeous Victorian furnishings and a complete model railroad display. The Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum is internationally known for its "Bird in Art" exhibits. The Center for Visual Arts displays the works of local and regional artists. Leaving Wausau riding southwest on Corridor Trail #15, club trails offer access to the services of Rothschild and Mosinee. Riding south, you'll parallel the Wisconsin River past the Big Eau Pleine Reservoir and Lake Du Bay. Rolling farm and woodland mark an easy ride back to Portage County and Stevens Point.