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Find Your Winter Bliss on Washburn County Trails

Cross-country skiing on Washburn Country trails

By Dean S. Acheson

Washburn County becomes a winter playground and favorite getaway for families and couples when the snow flies and transforms the forests and many lakes found here.

The scenic beauty comes alive for those who enjoy snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing as well as ice fishing. Numerous restaurants, pubs, and lodging facilities are available almost anywhere. Listed below are ideas for a day’s outing with family and friends:

Washburn County Snowmobile Trails

Washburn County operates 240 miles of state-funded snowmobile trails, which link up to the largest network of snowmobile trails in the Midwest, The groomed trails wind through public forests and across private land, covering hundreds of thousands of acres.

The varied terrain includes hardwood and evergreen forests, wetlands, and farm fields. You’ll see towering pines, rolling hills, and deep valleys. Nearly 1,000 lakes in the area offer more than 30,000 acres of lake riding.

Most trails are maintained from early December through March, depending on conditions. For trail conditions, contact the Washburn County Forestry Department at 715-635-4490.

Washburn County Cross-Country Ski Trails

  • Beaver Brook Trail, 12 miles, Off Hwy. 53, 1 mile on Cranberry Marsh Rd. Classic, groomed, plus ungroomed snowshoe and backcountry trails, pet friendly, donations welcome.
  • College Street Park Trail, 7 km, Spooner City Park, Spooner. Multiple loops for different skill levels, classic/skate, groomed, donations welcome. A portion of the trail is lit in the evening.
  • Heartwood Trails, 20 km, Location: Heartwood Conference Center. Multiple loops, wide range of trails, groomed, fee.
  • Nordic Woods Trail, 15 km, Hwy. 70, between Spooner and Stone Lake. Classic, groomed, beginner and intermediate loop.
  • Totogatic Trail, 8 km, north of Minong, on Hwy. 53 (Address: N13611 Hwy 53. Groomed, classic, multiple loops.

Washburn County Snowshoe Trails

  • Beaver Brook, College Street, and Heartwood Trails are multi-use; please stay off the cross-country ski tracks when donning snowshoes.
  • Beaver Brook Wildlife Area, 12 miles, off Hwy. 53, 1 mile on Cranberry Marsh Rd. Ungroomed snowshoe and backcountry trails.
  • College Street Park Trail, 3 miles, Snowshoe Spooner City Park, Spooner.  Multiple loops for different skill levels.
  • Heartwood Trails, 20 km, Heartwood Conference Center. Multiple loops, wide range of trails, groomed, fee.
  • Hunt Hill Audubon Sanctuary, 10 miles, 2.5 miles east of Cty. P on Audubon Rd.; take a left on Hunt Hill Road. Dogs okay with leash, not groomed, parking.
  • Ice Age Trail-Grassy Lake Segment, 7.23 miles, Pershing Rd, located in the Welsh Lake segment. Follows wide, grassy logging roads.
  • Trego Nature Trail, 3.5 miles, Trego Nature Trail, 2 miles west of Hwy. 53 on River Rd. Multiple loops.
  • Wild Cat Mountain Bike and Snowshoe Trails, 14 miles, 4 miles east of Spooner on Hwy. 70. Multiple loops.

Contributing writer Dean S. Acheson is a Wisconsin native with a long career in newspaper and magazine writing and editing. He considers himself semi-retired and enjoys fishing, scuba diving, snowmobiling, photography, and, of course, travel. “I’ve been blessed with traveling throughout Wisconsin and the UP, seeing the diverse communities, taking in the festivals, chatting with the locals, and hiking the trails.”

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