Sunday, August 28, 2016

Maps of 5 great Sawyer County day hikes

Visitors to Wisconsin’s Sawyer County can enjoy a number of major recreational areas, many of which contain great day hiking trails.

Five great county day hikes and maps for them include:

Birkie Ridge Trail
Though known primarily for the annual ski race held on it, Wisconsin’s massive Birkebeiner Trail system also makes a great hiking route in summer. With more than 66 miles of trails, all maintained by the nonprofit American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation, “The Birkie Trail,” as its fans affectionately call it, offers multiple trailheads, loops and variations. One segment that’s easy to locate and hike is the 2.9-mile round trip Birkie Ridge Trail.

Black Lake Trail
Hikers can learn about the history of Northwoods logging while enjoying excellent water views on the Black Lake Trail in Sawyer and Ashland counties. Most of Black Lake is in Ashland County – though to get there you’ll probably spend most of your time driving through Sawyer County.

Blue and Orange Trails
Among the Northwoods’ newest hiking trails can be found at the Town of Hayward Recreational Forest in Sawyer County. The 160-acre facility opened in spring 2011 and is quickly becoming a popular cross country skiing and snowshoeing destination. In spring, summer and fall, it’s also a great place for day hiking. Combining the rec forest’s Blue and Orange trails into a 1.6-mile walk takes you through a woods past a wetland and then a scenic lake where wildlife is abundant.

Namekagon-Laccourt Oreilles Portage Trail
Though the Namekagon-Laccourt Oreilles Portage Trail memorializes a famous 18th century route where fur traders and explorers carried their canoes between rivers, hikers will head through a landscape much changed from that day. In fact, those fur traders and explorers probably wouldn’t recognize the wild area. Located near Hayward in the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, the modern 0.8-mile round trip trail is very close to the original portage route. A fur trader even operated a winter post during 1784 near the trail.

Totagatic River State Wildlife Area jeep trail
Day hikers can ramble alongside one of Wisconsin’s few remaining wilderness streams on a jeep trail in the Totagatic River State Wildlife Area. Though not a designated trail, the old logging road runs about a mile (2-miles round trip) through a forested area along the Totagatic Flowage’s northwest side. The flowage marks a wide swath of the meandering Totagatic River, which in 2009 became Wisconsin’s fifth stream to receive Wild River status.

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