The Northwoods of Wisconsin are a breathtaking landscape made up of over 3,000 glacial lakes, streams and rivers and over a half a million acres of public forest. This area of the state is a favorite place for families and friend groups to escape everyday life and spend time together immersed in the natural wonders of northern Wisconsin in every season.
One of the best ways to explore this stunning scenery is by utilizing the extensive trail systems that connect many local communities including St. Germain. With plenty of delightful stops along the way including ice cream shops, bike repair stations and more, walking, biking or cross-country skiing these trails makes for unforgettable days spent with loved ones.
Read on to discover unique trails perfect for enjoying the Northwoods with your crew and keep up to date on trail conditions with the Wisconsin Trail Report.
Bike Through the Heart of Vilas County
For a one-of-a-kind tour of Wisconsin’s scenic Northwoods and the communities that call it home, get together with your crew and head out on the Heart of Vilas County Paved Bike Trail. This National Recreation Trail winds for 52 miles through the stunning Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest and connects St. Germain, Sayner, Boulder Junction, Manitowish Waters and Mercer for a perfect combination of unspoiled nature and welcoming communities with plenty of unique rest stops.
Hop on the trail at any of the 20 connected parking areas or gear up and rent bikes at Coontail Adventures in Boulder Junction, The Corner Store in Sayner, Your Boat Club in Eagle River or River’s Edge Outfitters in Manitowish Waters that also offers a shuttle for easy adventuring.
Once on the trail, you and your group will pedal past glacial lakes, over gentle hills and across scenic bridges perfect for photo-ops. Stop at Crystal Lake, just six miles from Sayner where you can dip into the refreshing water via soft sand beaches and pitch a tent at Crystal Lake Campground not far from the trail.
Also be sure to stop at Cathedral Point, a narrow strip of land between North and South Trout Lakes where you can wander through awe-inspiring 100-foot-tall pine trees. For an extra thrilling adventure, take a quick detour north in Manitowish Waters to discover WinMan Trails, an off-road trail system made for mountain biking, fat tire biking and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
To enjoy the beauty of the Northwoods from a different vantage point, make it to the western trailhead in Mercer. There, you’ll have access to the 14,300-acre Turtle-Flambeau Flowage that offers more than 180 miles of stunning white pine and birch shoreline, as well as hundreds of small islands dotting the water. This is a great place to paddle through the unique landscape and even cast a line for trout, musky and more. Wherever you hop on the Heart of Vilas County Paved Bike Trail, you’re sure to uncover a new favorite way to experience the Northwoods.
Explore Tranquil Scenery Around Shannon Lake
For a peaceful hike with family, friends or your pup, Shannon Lake Trail includes loops that range from about two miles up to seven. Wind around sparkling Shannon Lake, where no motorized boats are permitted, or try a longer loop on former logging trails through gorgeous northern hardwood forest. Mountain bikers are also welcome to ride these routes, and in winter the trails are groomed by local volunteers for fantastic fat biking.
Wander the Awassa Nature Preserve and Hiking Trails
The Awassa Nature Preserve and connecting hiking trails is a system of beginner routes that meanders through 230 acres of mature pines, oaks, maples and balsam fir on four different loops. Wheelchair users can enjoy the accessible ½ mile long nature trail, and in the winter certain trails are groomed for cross-country skiing and fat tire biking. For an extra magical experience, visit during the annual candlelit ski event in February.
Find Exciting Fun on Fern Ridge Trail
Another great trail for hikers, bikers and winter adventurers is the Fern Ridge Trail. Bring a picnic to enjoy at the scenic trailhead before or after immersing you and your crew in the beauty of the Northwoods. With many benches along the way as well as beginner-level mountain biking trails, Fern Ridge is a perfect route for a refreshing day spent outdoors.
Refuel in St. Germain
If you and your crew need a pick-me-up before or after your ride, stop in Red Canoe Coffee House for delicious bakery and coffee drinks in the heart of St. Germain. Sit inside or out at this veteran-owned café and fuel up for more Northwoods fun with friends and family.
There’s much more to explore around St. Germain! Find your next exciting outing in this one-of-a-kind area.