Discovery Center Trails

If you're looking for an easy mountain bike ride, love the smell of pine needles crushed beneath your tires and the sound of wind in the treetops, then these trails are your dream come true. In a part of the world known for peace and quiet, you won't find a place any more so than the North Lakeland Discovery Center. When the Youth Conservation Corps camp at this site closed in the mid-90s, area residents formed a committee to create an environmental learning center. A decade later, the Discovery Center teaches the wonders of nature in the Northwoods to more than 10,000 program participants a year. If hiking, biking, birding, canoeing and cross-country skiing on a 66-acre property with 20 km of trail and its own 25-acre lake sounds like fun, this is the place. Mountain biking on the center's cross-country ski trail system is one of the encouraged activities. It's ideal for riders looking for an easy cruise. Of course, you could ride faster to make the trails more challenging. But then you might miss a Pileated woodpecker or a broadwing hawk swooping through the woods, an osprey soaring above the lake, a loon calling its haunting cry, or one of many bright wood warblers. These species and more are commonly spotted at the Discovery Center and are one reason it is a featured site on the Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail. Deer, rabbits, fox, fishers, or lumbering porcupines are other wildlife you might see along the trail.The wide, mostly level trails lend themselves to easy riding. On the Big River Trail they narrow a bit and become rolling, but the payoff is many nice views of the Manitowish River. Don't become too complacent though. No one seems to know how "No Helmet Hill" got its name, but it should warn riders of two things: always wear a helmet and pay attention to your riding. If you're visiting the area on a Friday morning you may want to take a tour of a local cranberry marsh. The Manitowish Waters area is a major grower of the tart, red berry. A free tour is offered by the Chamber and local cranberry growers associatioin starting at the Manitowish Waters Community Center (early-July to early-October, Fridays at 10am; 1-888-626-9877). The tour features juice and Craisin samples, prize drawings, displays, video, and a guide you follow with your vehicle.

Directions

The Discovery Center is located 1-1/2 miles north of Hwy. 51 on County Hwy. W. The Manitowish Waters Community Center is located at 4 Airport Road, 1 mile south of County Hwy. W via Hwy. 51.

Trail Length (miles)

  • 12

Difficulty

  • Easy
  • Medium

Cross-Country Skiing/Snowshoeing Trail Type

  • Groomed
  • Tracked
  • Wooded

Shelter

  • Yes

Toilets

  • Yes