By Aaron Abler
Special to TravelWisconsin.com
Mountain biking comes with a false perception that those who don’t live near a mountain range can’t enjoy the sport. The cool thing is, mountain biking doesn’t require mountains. The exercise, adrenaline and memories of ripping through heavily-forested singletracks as a couple or with a group of friends can be experienced almost anywhere in Wisconsin and on any budget. With campsites at or near many of the state’s well-maintained trails, you may want to use some of those vacation days. Check below for some destination inspiration.
Hartman Creek State Park – Waupaca
Located northwest of the Fox Cities, Hartman Creek offers 103 family campsites and five group campsites, plus a system of easy, intermediate and difficult bike trails – ideal for a mixed group of beginners and veterans. The hard-pack dirt trails are fast, winding and with a few low-hanging tree branches, so don’t forget your helmet and gloves. This remote atmosphere has a great group feel, so bring friends and fit campfire time into your stay.
Blue Mound State Park – Blue Mounds
For those who are up to physical challenges, the trails at Blue Mound State Park are 10 miles of roots and rock. Rider reviews on Singletracks.com boast that while the trail is more difficult and technical, it offers fun descents and scenic views. But bring the first-aid kit along because navigating through technical features can lead to spills. This terrain can also pinch tire tubes more easily, so review tire changing instructions before heading out.
Blue Mound State Park has 77 wooded sites, 12 bike-in sites and includes bathroom and shower facilities.
This escape to civilization’s outer limits is arguably the most popular Wisconsin mountain biking system. With 30 trail miles of varying experience levels through an elevation range of 300 feet, this nothing-but-nature playground guarantees refreshing scenery for those from a nearby metropolis. With this terrain, you’ll want a bike with a quality suspension package. Remember to preload your shocks so they perform at their best. Also, a pair of padded bike shorts goes a long way to prevent seat soreness.
Neighboring Russell Memorial Campground offers space and amenities for a few of those vacation days we mentioned earlier.
Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA) Trail System – Hayward
Can you say road trip? We’re heading north to hit your pick of up to seven trail clusters – not trails, but clusters of trails totaling 300 miles. Starting in Hayward, extending north to Delta and with a stray portion in Bayfield, the CAMBA trail system won’t be conquered in just one day. With the potential for putting serious miles on your bike and body, bring along a hydration pack equipped with pockets to hold a snack. If you don’t fight fatigue, you’ll burn out before being able to take advantage the Rock Lake Trail on the Cable cluster, which has earned IMBA’s “Epic Ride” designation.
After a long endurance day, snuggle into one of the nearby secluded campsites.
From beginner to advanced mountain bicyclist, Wisconsin has trails to fit your needs. Load up the bicycle and head to one of our many trail systems.