By Brian Clark
Special to TravelWisconsin.com
Adam Harden, an avid ATV rider who lives in Sheboygan, is no fan of hot summer weather.
Which is why he’s a happy camper come September when autumn returns with cool temperatures for his tours in the Northwoods. Better yet, the changing colors in the forest canopies make it an even better time for Harden and other ATV fans who ride the hundreds of miles of trails "up nort.'"
“There are fewer bugs, the trails aren’t as dusty and there’s just a ‘crisp’ feel to the air in the morning,” aid Harden, a volunteer with the Wisconsin ATV Association who lives in Sheboygan.
Bryan Much, who lives in Oconomowoc and is chairman of the Governor's State Trails Council, said he, too, prefers fall riding because of the mild temperatures and colorful leaves that make the experience more enjoyable.
“Glowing fall colors on a cool, sunny day are hard to beat,” said Much, who prefers Bayfield County for his outings. “For me, jacket weather is the best time of year for riding ATVs.”
And Dan Guendert, who lives in the Oconto County town of Mountain, said he prefers autumn riding because the trails have “quieted down so you can enjoy the colors more. The maples turn first, then the aspen, birch and poplar. The oaks turn later in the fall.”
He said three of his favorite outings are on the Dusty Trails, Hidden Bear and Red Arrow trails systems that run from Suring to Townsend and connect with other trails that run all the way to the to the UP border.
Here are half-a-dozen of their favorites:
- The Nicolet State Trail starts in Gillet and runs north 89 miles through the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest on an abandoned rail line to Tipler. It is a multi-use route that is open ATV use year-round in Florence and Forest counties, but only from May 1 to Oct. 31 in Oconto County.
- The Augustyn Springs Trail in Langlade County runs more than 16 miles through a block of northern hardwoods over terrain that varies from rolling to quite hilly. It also has some rock and water holes after rains.
- The Flambeau Trail System has 70 miles of signed, multi-use trails on moderately rolling terrain in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest east of Fifield in Price County. It crosses the South Fork of the Flambeau River and features tree-lined corridors, wooden bridges, and vistas overlooking bogs and lakes.
- The Tuscobia State Trail near Park Falls runs along an abandoned railroad line. The gravel route goes west 74 miles toward Rice Lake. The moderate terrain goes through gently rolling hills, farms and forests.
- The Dead Horse Slough Trail in Ashland County got its name in 1900 when a team of horses fell through the ice and drowned. It has roughly 56 miles of trails that wind through a scenic forest of maple, oak, aspen and birch trees.