How To Win Winter in Northern Wisconsin's St. Germain

Head to St. Germain in winter for endless outdoor adventure. From tall, old pine forests to frozen, windswept lakes, this small town in Northern Wisconsin offers day after day of natural wonder, winter thrills and unforgettable memories.  

“But it’s cold!” you’re thinking. You’re right. And the chill makes the warm, hand-crafted cocktail at the local, friendly tavern even better. It makes the cozy, lakeside cabin even more inviting. And it covers the Northwoods landscape in the kind of bright, sparkling snow that you never forget. 

Pack the family car and throw on an extra layer — it’s more than worth it. Here’s how to win winter in Northern Wisconsin’s St. Germain. 

Pack (or Rent) Snowshoes 

Snowshoeing in St. Germain brings you up close and personal to the Northwoods’ natural beauty. Watch for wildlife. Foxes, eagles, rabbits and even rare white deer — albino deer have been spotted here, and they look like they’re straight out of a fairy tale. 

Never tried snowshoeing? It’s easy to pick up, and it gains you access to lesser-groomed trails and snow-covered frozen lakes. Like an astronaut on the moon, you’ll feel like you’re walking through untouched frontier — quiet, serene and majestic. Pick up snowshoes for the whole family, for rent or purchase, from Coontail in Minocqua or Boulder Junction on your way into St. Germain.

Where to Snowshoe in St. Germain 

Locals recommend the Awassa Trails and the trails at Shannon Lake. Both are free to use and are groomed by local volunteers to provide perfect conditions. At Awassa, you may find a few pines decorated with Christmas ornaments, and watch for the Story Hike — a trail loop featuring storybook pages for young readers to enjoy. 

Be sure to stay off groomed cross-country ski tracks! Unless you’re skiing yourself, of course. 

The Awassa Trail System hosts a candlelight hike each February. Time your trip to venture through the trails guided by ice luminaries under the stars. 

Ride a Fat Tire Bike 

Fat tire biking is the newest addition to St. Germain’s winter recreation repertoire. If you haven’t already, here's your invitation to try it! Imagine a theme park ride set in a winter wonderland, only you’re the one steering. Kid-sized bikes and helmets easily turn this sport into an adventure for the whole family. It’s a fun workout through rolling snowscapes, and the scenery makes every ride beautiful. 

While riding, you may run into the group of St. Germain locals who’ve been growing the sport in the community. Be sure to say hello — they give the best trail recommendations!

Where to Fat Tire Bike in St. Germain 

The Fern Ridge Recreation Area opened its winter biking-designated trails for the first time in 2022. Two miles of flowing one track trail, thrilling switchbacks and scenic forest welcome all winter adventure seekers. With plans to continue expanding the bike trails, Fern Ridge keeps getting better. 

There's more fat tire trails to discover: the 5+ miles at the Awassa Trails, 8+ miles at Shannon Lake and St. Germain’s 13-mile segment of the Heart of Vilas trail system. 

Gas Up the Snowmobile 

Snowmobiling is a big deal in St. Germain. Thousands of winter enthusiasts arrive for the world-class snowmobile trails, events and community each year. There’s a reason why it’s a top snowmobiling destination — a group of welcoming and passionate volunteers, the Bo Boen Snowmobile Club, keep the trails in great, safe condition. 

Explore hundreds of miles of St. Germain trails and connect to trails throughout the rest of Vilas County. Take your time along lake bluff views , and feel the frozen rush while zooming across marked lakes. Dozens of local restaurants, resorts and more are conveniently located right on the trails. 

Need a sled? Check out the snowmobile rental options at Paul’s Rent All in central St. Germain. 

The Bo Boen Snowmobile Club hosts a weekend snowmobile safety course over a single weekend in December each year. It’s the perfect excuse for a weekend getaway to St. Germain! 

Stay In a Lakeside Cabin 

Lakeside resorts, cabins and private vacation rentals offer a cozy homebase for your winter adventuring. 

St. Germain is dotted with picturesque lakes, and winter transforms each one into a frozen oasis. Waking up to that bright, white view and drinking it in with a cup of hot coffee or cocoa — that’s a big winter win. And for any ice-fishers, you’ve got easy access to prime fishing spots. 

Stay in the historic Whispering Pine Lodge, once a 19th century logging camp cottage, or any of its cabin rentals on scenic Pickerel Lake. The pine log walls and Northwoods décor add to the cozy warmth, and the family will love connecting over shared meals, board game rivalries and late-night storytelling. 

Explore more places to stay in St. Germain. 

Savor Northwoods Food & Drink 

Delicious burgers, fresh caught fish fried or boiled, hot drinks and more — dining in St. Germain easily warms the soul after a day of winter adventure. 

Head to Fibbers Restaurant & Bar by car or snowmobile to relax among friends. Fish Fry served both Tuesdays and Fridays while Sundays feature all-you-can-eat chicken, a local favorite. Check out their list of featured hot cocktails for the winter, and marvel at all the fish on the walls — owner Rob Manthei is a renowned fisherman, and his wife Kaye is head chef!  

There are more dining gems to discover in St. Germain. Start your days with coffee and breakfast at 3 C’s Cafe or the Red Canoe. End with the BBQ burger at Timbers; it’s a tall, juicy burger with thick applewood-smoked bacon doused in a sweet BBQ sauce.

Now, you’re ready to win winter! Explore what St. Germain has to offer, chat with the locals during your stay and stop by the Information Center at the St. Germain Chamber of Commerce to discover even more unforgettable adventure.

This entry was posted in Winter Activities