When you think about the sounds of the outdoors, does the crackle of a campfire or the hum of crickets come to mind? How about the rumble of an ATV? It’s a sound that unlocks the potential of a forest trail, and it means adventure for the whole family. In Sawyer County and the Hayward Lakes area, ATVs are how we make some of the most unforgettable memories, especially with those who matter most.
A Family’s ATV Paradise
Located in northwest Wisconsin, Sawyer County is an escape from the bustling big city. It's home to the small city of Hayward and some of the most beautiful scenery the Northwoods has to offer, including picturesque lakes, well-groomed trails and abundant wildlife. Beyond its unmatched beauty, Sawyer County has over 200 miles of ATV trails, and they’re easily some of the best in the entire nation.
Sawyer County caters to the family aspect of ATV riding. Side-by-sides, or UTVs, are allowed on all Sawyer County ATV trails, and they’re the perfect vehicle for bringing along the kids and packing the picnic cooler. The trails range from easy-going to more challenging, and several hundred miles of road routes connect you to welcoming local businesses. Even the city of Hayward has multiple streets where all-terrain vehicles are welcomed. Here, you and your family can experience the wonder of the Northwoods, refuel at top-notch restaurants, then wander your way back to a warm, comfortable accommodation — all from the seat of an ATV or UTV.
Don’t have an ATV? No problem. There are rentals available from these businesses. So, what are you waiting for? Gather the family and get to exploring these Sawyer County trails and locations.
Trails to Explore
Over 50 miles of marked trails make up the Seeley Hills Loop, a rolling trek through quiet forest north of Hayward. As promised in its name, the trails here take your family through rolling hills, where beauty lies around every turn. You’ll cruise past ponds teeming with wildlife — keep an eye out for eagle nests. Find a trailhead off the Chippewa Trail off Highway B, and a second one at Hayward Power Sports, which also offers ATV/UTV rentals and service. Take the family to the Sawmill Saloon to re-energize with some delicious pizza, American favorites or Friday fish fry.
For more of a challenge, the Dead Horse Trail is a 56-mile route winding through the Chequamegon National Forest. Beginning in Loretta, the Dead Horse is one of the area’s more challenging rides, as well as one of the most secluded. A little extra preparation is a good idea before heading out: pack a map and some extra fuel, then enjoy the serenity of Dead Horse’s wilderness and wildlife. Add to the adventure by exploring the Flambeau or Tuscobia trails, both of which connect to the Dead Horse.
Located on an abandoned railroad grade, the Tuscobia Trail cuts through 50 miles of southern Sawyer County. Hop on the trail near Radisson to explore tree-lined corridors with bald eagles soaring overhead. Turn onto connecting trails to enjoy some of Wisconsin’s hidden gems, like scenic views along the Lake Chippewa Flowage and the Flambeau River. Camping is offered at nearby Ojibwa Park, and quality family time around a campfire under the stars is the perfect way to end a day of ATV adventure.
Going from trail to town couldn’t be easier in Hayward, as multiple roads within the city limits allow ATV/UTV operation. Settle in for the night at the Holiday Inn Express or AmericInn for convenient lodging accessible by ATV, and grab a few bites at Angler’s Bar & Grill or Coop’s. And before heading back to the trails, be sure to take a family picture at one of Hayward’s most notable landmarks: the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame, home to the city’s iconic giant muskie.
Insider tip: the fall is our favorite season to go ATVing in Sawyer County. Cruising underneath canopies of color and trails covered in vibrant leaves — it’s an experience that colors family moments golden. Time your trip for peak color using our Fall Color Report.
With so much to see, experience and explore, your family ATV adventure is waiting in Sawyer County.