Friday, April 17, 2015

Wild Rivers State Trail delivers great hiking

Wild Rivers State Trail' northern terminus segment.

Route heads through forests, crosses rivers

Day hikers can enjoy a quiet stroll in the country on a former Wisconsin railbed turned multipurpose trail.

The 104-mile Wild Rivers State Trail stretches across three counties between Superior and Rice Lake. A fairly wooded 1.33-miles round trip section of the former C&NW Rail route runs at the trail’s northern terminus, southeast of Superior.

Start the hike at the trail’s intersection with County Road A, south of County Road Z and just north of County Road C. From the small parking lot at the trailhead, go southeast on the trail.

The route quickly enters a forested area and angles away from the highway for a peaceful walk. Along the way, it crosses Brandt Road, so be sure to look both ways.

A good spot to turn back is at the Valley Brook Road intersection. You can continue onward, but while trees line the trail, you’ll in quick order enter farmland.

Some of this segment can be swampy, so hike it in late summer or autumn when water levels and bug populations are low.

Other Douglas County routes
A couple of other segments of the trail in Douglas County also make for good day hikes.

Farther down the line, start at Swamp Road for a 5.4-mile out-and-back hike across the Amnicon River and two other waterways to Mikrot Road.

In Solon Springs, the path runs through the village on its way between the Amnicon River and Gordon. To avoid highway noise, take the roughly four-mile route heading north from the municipal airport to County Road L.

On weekends, anticipate a variety of other users. Mountain bikers, horseback riders and ATVers also frequent the trail. In winter, you’ll share the route with snowmobilers, cross country skiers and snowshoers.

Most of the trail surface consists of highway-grade compacted gravel and railroad ballast. ATV use has beat up the trail in some sections, but the entire stretch is traversable by foot with some segments at the southern end good for mountain bikes.

Read more about Douglas County day hiking trails in my Day Hiking Trails of Douglas County guidebook.