Forget hunkering indoors for the rest of winter, sub zero temperatures are when the best adventures begin. Northern Wisconsin is home to some of the best winter trails in the Midwest, whether on snowshoes, skis, or just winter boots. And what do the hearty souls of outdoor enthusiasts love more than a post-adventure ice cold beer, glass of wine, or cheese plate? Here are our favorite trails to explore in Wisconsin's frozen tundra and the places we like to land après adventure.
Minocqua Winter Park
From snowshoeing to cross-country skiing to tubing, Minocqua Winter Park has it all. Over 45 miles of groomed trails, 10 miles of ungroomed backcountry ski trails, 10 miles of snowshoe trails, and a telemark hill. Trails are for beginner to advanced skiers, including rental skis and snowshoes and a certified ski school. This winter sports paradise also offers lift-assisted snow tubing run and ice pond with free ice skate rental.
Après adventure: Relax in Minocqua Winter Park's lodge with a cold beer from Minocqua Brewing Company and free wifi.
Schlecht Lake Trail
Grab a few friends for an evening cross-country ski at this hidden gem, located just minutes from downtown Minocqua and the area’s only lighted ski trail! Schlecht Lake Ski Trail winds around three lakes with beautiful views and scenery with 2 km of trail remaining lit from dusk until 10:00pm. Grooming updates are posted regularly on Skinny Ski.
Après adventure: Stop into The Vine Wine, Beer, + Cocktail Lounge for an evening of wine, tapas, and board games.
Star Lake Trail
Adventure through the tall pines of the Northwoods at Star Lake Trail. Our favorite hiking trail in the summer months is even better to explore on snowshoes with a blanket of glistening snow. Ungroomed trails looped through the woods, with scenic views of Star Lake.
Après adventure: Head to Sayner Pub for a cold beer and hot pizza. Tip: A great place to cheer on your favorite football team!
Land O’Lakes Cross Country Ski Trails
Ski and snowshoe through gentle and rolling evergreen forest or choose a winding and hilly adventure through hardwoods in the Ottawa National Forest. Land O’Lakes Cross-Country Ski Trails, located just minutes north of Land O’Lakes in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Trails are groomed for classic skiing and snowshoeing of all abilities.
escanaba-pallette ski trails
This rolling, sceic trails winds around several lakes, including Escanaba Lake and Pallette Lake. Escanaba-Pallette Ski Trails are looping trails of a variety of distances, 2, 4, 5.5 and 8.5 miles, and are tracked for classic skiing. Gather for a mid-ski break in their shelter and fire ring - don't forget the s'mores.
Après adventure: Sip a cold craft beer alongside a woodfire pizza at Aqualand Ale House. Local tip - Thursday is trivia night, don't miss it!
North Lakeland Trail
Enjoy a quick cross country ski through the woods of North Lakeland Trails. Being your adventure at the North Lakeland Hut, located off Papoose Lake Road. Trails wind through the woods, making them perfect for beginners and intermediate skiiers. Trails are groomed regularly for skate and classic cross country skiing.
Après adventure: Plan ahead! Bring a cheese plate (like this one!) + wine to enjoy in the North Lakeland Hut. Hot beverages, free library, and bathrooms are provided.
Powell Marsh Trail
Explore the forested side of the Powell Marsh Wildlife Area on Powell Marsh Trails. Ungroomed trails wind through forests, fields, and ridges, and are best suited for backcountry cross country skiing or snowshoeing.
Après adventure: Cozy up fireside at The White Oak Grill at Chippewa Retreat for a bite to eat and glass of wine.
MECCA Trails is Iron County's hidden gem for winter sports. Cross country ski or snowshoe over the river and through the woods on the rolling, winding MECCA Trails. Catch the sunset glistening off the trees as you enjoy their many kilometers of skate and classic trails. Bonus item: well-behaved pups are welcome.
Après adventure: Pick up craft beer and a snack from Snow's Market to enjoy fireside in MECCA Trails' cozy chalet.
MI's Upper Peninsula
Wolverine ski trails
Cross country ski through towering trees and enjoy the thrill of a few hills at Wolverine Ski Trails. With a casual atmosphere, over 25 kilometers of groomed trails for both skate and track set cross-country skiing, and marked snowshoe trails, Wolverine is suited for everyone from novice to expert skiers—even friendly dogs are welcome here.
Après adventure: Sip a cold beer at downtown Ironwood's new brewery, Cold Iron Brewing. Follow them on Facebook for live music + event updates!
If you're new to the sport, rent a pair of snowshoes or cross county skis from Coontail in Boulder Junction. Hats, mittens, jackets, Coontail is your destination for all adventure related gear in the Northwoods.