Sunday, May 1, 2016

Trails explore Washburn County geography

Trego Nature Trail in Wisconsin's Northwoods.
Local tourism officials long have touted Wisconsin's Washburn County as the Gateway to the Northwoods and for good reason. Geographically, two distinct landscapes are found in the county – one that matches well with the ecological area known as the Northwoods and the other that is the transitional, border zone for the northern forests.

The county consists of two distinct geographical regions. The southern portion – including Shell Lake and Birchwood – as well as much of the county’s northeast quarter, largely consists of highlands, sitting at an elevation of 1200-1400 feet. While not significant compared to the Appalachians or the Rockies, for Wisconsin, this is a good 200-400 feet higher than much of the southern part of the state. This forested region sports a great diversity of trees that typically can be found across the state. Some great trails found in this region include:
Ice Age National Scenic Trail
Bear Trail
Wild Rivers State Trail (Spooner segment)

The county’s center, including Spooner, Trego and Minong, sits at a lower 1000-1200 feet elevation. This is the dried, sandy bed of Glacial Lake Grantsburg, which existed near the end of the last Ice Age when a glacier in Minnesota dammed the flow of meltwater. Some of the county’s northwest quadrant, which is closer to the center of the extinct lake, is at an even lower elevation of 800-1200 feet. The sandier soil tends to nurture forests of pine, aspen-birch and oak. Today, the Namekagon River flows through this county’s center. A few good trails found in this region include:
Trego Nature Trail
Trego Lake Trail
Totagatic Ski Trails

Learn more about these and other nearby trails in Day Hiking Trails of Washburn County.