Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Great trails crisscross Douglas County, Wis.

Wild Rivers Trail, southeast of Superior, Wis.
Wisconsin’s Douglas County, tucked into the state’s northwest corner, offer a variety of excellent day hiking options.

With the exception of the city of Superior, Douglas County is sparsely populated, dotted by small villages and several four-corner towns.

Though sporting a population of just under 30,000, Superior is an international harbor on the largest of the Great Lakes. The city might have been far larger and even more important if not for a pre-Civil War economic downturn. Though the first log cabin here was erected in 1853, within four years the population had risen to 2500 as excitement rose over a Lake Superior to Pacific Coast railroad, but the Panic of 1857 dashed those plans for a quarter century.

Today, a number of multi-county trails that used to be rail lines start (or terminate, depending on your perspective) at the county’s northwestern limit. In addition, the city’s municipal forest offers a number of wooded hiking trails. Among the Superior area’s top trails are:
Big Manitou Falls Trail
Millennium Trail
Osaugie Trail
Tri-County Trail
Wild Rivers Trail
Wisconsin Point Trail

The hamlets of Brule, Maple and Poplar sit in the county’s northeast corner. Each village sports a population of around 600 people. Brule is the gateway to the Brule River State Forest, a kayaking, fishing and hiking destination. Some popular trails near those communities include:
Amnicon Falls Island Trails
Stoney Hill Nature Trail

In the southeast, visitors to Douglas County first come across the villages of Gordon and then Solon Springs. Both towns have a population of about 600 and offer access to the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway and the St. Croix River’s headwaters. Popular trails include:
Brule Bog Boardwalk Trail
Bois Brule-St. Croix River Historic Portage Trail

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