Snowmobiles are an important, exhilarating part of Wisconsin winters, and we have some of the best trails for them. It’s no surprise since we’re home to over 25,000 miles of pristine snowmobile trails, and one of the first modern snowmobiles was invented here in 1924. There’s even a Snowmobile Hall of Fame located in St. Germain.
We called on some local experts to give us some great spots for the ideal northern Wisconsin snowmobiling experience.
Eagle River Snowmobile Trails
The Location: Eagle River, officially registered as “The Snowmobile Capital of the World” in 1964, has five snowmobile clubs that groom 600 miles of trails daily. On these snowmobile trails, you’ll weave through Vilas and Oneida counties, zooming through Nicolet National Forest and around 2,400 lakes.
Must See: Trail #13 passes right by the city’s annual Ice Castle creation, an icy architectural wonder that has changed in design every year since it was first built about 100 years ago. It’s built by a team of volunteers headed by area firefighters who put in more than 700 hours to cut nearly 3,000 ice blocks from a local lake and haul them into place.
Three Lakes Snowmobile Trails
The Location: Lit by antique-inspired lamp posts and lined with little gift shops and restaurants, the Three Lakes downtown area is brimming with old-fashioned charm, plus great snowmobile trails nearby.
Must See: Winter fun is always close by. The Northern Lights Snowmobile Club holds overnight rides, on-trail weenie roasts, bonfires and weekly club rides. There’s also the Three Lakes Winery where the first cranberry wine was made, and the Northwoods Petroleum Museum with an extensive collection of classic gas pumps, neon signs on display from floor to ceiling.
St. Germain Snowmobile Trails
The Location: You might say St. Germain is in the center of it all for snowmobilers. Head in any direction and there will be snowmobile trails to accommodate both your wanderlust and your need for speed.
Must See: St. Germain’s annual Radar Run started as a small radar run, an event where you can clock the speed of your snowmobile with a radar gun, in 2004. Now, it’s a weekend-long event that also features high-speed races, a bikini run, food, gear retailers, and music — all raising money for charity.
Minocqua Snowmobile Trails
The Location: One of the favorite snowmobiling trails in the Minocqua area is the Bearskin State Trail that stretches 18 miles through the forests of Oneida County. Traffic is two-way with several rest spots along the way. This area also has more than 1,600 miles of snowmobile trails that traverse 1,300 glacial lakes and 233,000 acres of public forestland.
Must See: The Thirsty Whale is a 100-year-old landmark on Lake Minocqua — you’ll want to sample their Wisconsin deep-fried cheese curds followed by a flame-broiled burger.
Hurley Snowmobile Trails
The Location: Hurley is known as the snow capital of Wisconsin with snowfall totals known to top 200 inches, making it possible to snowmobile here up through the beginning of April. Off-trail snowmobile riding is also available on 175,000 acres of public land. This is for the adventurous rider and a certain type of sled is necessary to take into the deep snow.
Of Special Note: A GPS is required. Get a copy of the Hurley snowmobile trail map that outlines the acreage with GPS coordinates from the Chamber. And there’s no cell phone service in the boondocking areas, so you’ll need to travel in a group.
Must See: Along with snowmobiling, this town is known for its mining heritage. In fact, you can snowmobile right up to the site of the world’s deepest iron mine and explore the interpretive park there called The Plummer Mine.
Boulder Junction Snowmobile Trails
The Location: Boulder Junction is located in the Lake Superior snow belt, which means lots of snow for snowmobilers. Trail #8 is especially scenic and serene. And when you or the family want a break from the trails, spend some time shopping in this town’s many artsy shops and galleries.
For More Adventure: Experience the beauty of the Northwoods on a fat tire biking adventure. If you're a first-timer or need to rent a bike, Coontail, located in the heart of Boulder Junction, has what you need.