Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Pleasant day hike through lakeside forest awaits on Wisconsin Northwoods trail

Trego Lake Trail
A pretty hike through a Northwoods forest awaits hikers on the Trego Lake Trail in the Wisconsin.

The 1.9-mile trail loops through the woods next to Trego Lake in Washburn County. Both the lake and the trail are part of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway.

Also known as the Trego Lake Ski Touring Trail, the path described here is a segment of its various routes. Up to 3.5 miles of trails are groomed for cross country skiing in winter.

To reach the trail, drive north of Trego on U.S. Hwy. 53. Go left/west on North River Road. In two miles, turn left/south into a parking lot. Take the stem trail from the lot's southern side to the main trail, where you’ll go left/east.

Autumn leaves
The trail parallels North River Road but is nicely set inside woodland. In autumn, the trail is comely with the yellow of birch trees leaves and orange and browns of various oaks amid the mixed hardwood and pine forest. You stand a good chance of spotting white-tailed deer and ruffed grouse in the woods.

Gradually, the trail curves south then hairpins west as coming to Trego Lake. The 383-acre waterbody actually is a widening of the Namekagon River. As such, the lake isn’t particularly deep, reaching a maximum depth of just 36 feet.

About half of the trail follows the shoreline, including going onto a small peninsula. You’re likely to see fishermen on the lake, as they try to land muskie (Wisconsin’s state fish), bass (both largemouth and smallmouth flourish here), walleye, and various panfish. Northern pike and sturgeon also inhabit the lake.

After going beneath a powerline, the trail curves north, then as nearing the road, parallels it as turning east and passing under the powerline again. Upon reaching the stem trail, go left/north back to the parking lot.

Shortening, extending trail
Since the trail described here is the outer loop of the ski trails, you can shorten the walk. After hiking a brief section of the shoreline, a trail goes right/north and cuts across the woods to the parking lot. This shorter route totals 1.2 miles.

You also can extend it. After veering north away from the lake, take the next trail going right/northeast; this loops over hilly terrain and rejoins the trail proper, adding about a mile to the route for a 2.9-mile round trip. Upon rejoining the trail, go right/north back to the parking lot.

Dogs are welcomed on the trail, and restrooms can be found at the trailhead.

Learn about nearby trails in Day Hiking Trails of Washburn County.