Monday, December 15, 2014

Day hiking trails abound in Sawyer County

The Tuscobia State Trail cuts across southern Sawyer County.
A recreation mecca, Sawyer County sits in the heart of the Wisconsin Northwoods. Every winter, tens of thousands of cross-country skiers descend upon its county seat, Hayward, for the annual Birkebeiner race, North America’s most popular cross country ski marathon. During summer, off-road mountain bike riders flock to Sawyer County for the annual Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival, the nation’s largest mass start mountain bike race. Depending upon the season, on any given day campers, fishing boats, and snowmobiles criss-cross the landscape.

All of these cross country, mountain bike and snowmobile trails, campgrounds and clear blue lakes also make for great day hiking opportunities.

When to Visit
The best months to day hike Sawyer County are May through September. Depending on the year, April and October also can be pleasant.

As with the rest of Wisconsin, summers can be humid, especially July and August. Rain can occur during the afternoon even when the morning is sunny, so always check the weather forecast before heading out.

November through March usually is too cold for day hiking. Once snow falls, trails typically are used for cross-country skiing, snowmobiling or snowshoeing. Early spring often means muddy trails thanks to snowmelt and rainfall.

How to Get There
Several major highways offer access to Sawyer County.

For Minnesota and western Wisconsin residents, U.S. Hwy. 63 parallels the scenic riverway, running through Hayward on its way to Bayfield County.

Northern Illinois and southern and eastern Wisconsin residents can take U.S. Hwy. 51 north then head west on Wis. Hwy. 70 to access either the Flambeau River State or the Chequamegon National forests.

Northern Michigan residents can use a combination of highways, which can be accessed from U.S. Hwy. 2 in Ironwood, Mich. Wis. Hwy. 13 heads into the Chequamegon and via Hwy. 70 connects to the Flambeau River State Forest. Hwy. 63 heads south to the scenic riverway.

Great trails to hike
Five great Sawyer County trails to day hike include:
g Black Lake Trail (Chequamegon National Forest)
g Blue and Orange trails (Hayward)
g Rim Creek Loop (Flambeau River State Forest)
g Snuss Trail (Flambeau River State Forest)
g Tuscobia State Trail

Read more about these and nearby trails in Day Hiking Trails of Sawyer County.