To some, the phrase “going up north” is simply an explanation of weekend plans. But what exactly happens in the mystery and wonder of Wisconsin’s “up north?” If your “up north” weekend takes you to Oconto County, you’re heading to an ATV playground of 450 trail miles.
Even if you’re a beginner, Oconto County offers accessible, affordable, and memorable fun on the trails, with options to either rent or bring your own ATV. To help guide your ATV adventure, we’ve put together some tips for visiting certain segments of the circuit.
Nicolet State Trail
The Nicolet State Trail, beginning in Gillett in southern Oconto County, is a 89-mile trail that shoots northwest through a number of ATV-friendly communities. Traveling due north on this trail leads you to the breathtaking scenery of the Nicolet National Forest – an impressionable change to a family accustomed to city life.
Even if the forest isn’t your main destination, the Nicolet State Trail serves as an access to other trail segments on the Oconto County ATV tour. Just remember, registration for trail vehicles must be current with the Wisconsin DNR.
For those who don’t already know, riding as a group through miles of trail twists on super fun power equipment doesn’t get boring. The sense of camaraderie and adventure won’t come to a stop until nightfall forces it to. And when it does, you’ll need to set up a base camp. The proximity of the Oconto County Trail System’s Breed Unit to the Chute Pond Park & Campground and the Bagley Rapids Campground make it an ideal region to close out the evening.
If you’re looking for something a little less rustic, the Spur of the Moment Ranch has secure lodging and a ton of fun, Northwoods-themed family activities that might make you stay longer than planned. A short drive takes you to dining options like the Weatherwood Supper Club, and the ranch also offers ATV rentals for those who do not have their own.
North Peshtigo Brook Unit
While riding around through the North Peshtigo Brook Unit of the Oconto County Trail System, you’re guaranteed to encounter one of the county’s hundreds of crystal clear lakes - which are full of quality fish.
This system runs adjacent to White Potato Lake and goes right past Bass Lake, Ranch Lake, and Half Moon Lake, as well as a few others. As long as you have a fishing license, feel free to detour. It’s a great opportunity to teach the kids how to fish, respect our resources, and enjoy nature’s rewards.