Many folks around the country treat Winter like an oncoming apocalypse, stocking up on supplies to wait the cold weather out. But if you're from the Northwoods of Wisconsin (or a frequent visitor), there's a good chance you're looking at the snow and cold as opportunities to hit your favorite frozen lakes, ski slopes, or snowmobile trails.
Northern Wisconsin (and specifically Oneida county) offers many trails and destinations to help ensure you get the most out of your winter activities. To help you start planning, here are a few ideas.
Northern Wisconsin Snowmobiling Clubs
The network of Snowmobiling trails in Northern Wisconsin is hardly rivaled by anything else in the Midwest. According to the Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce, “more than 1600 miles are maintained” in the Minocqua area alone. “These trails traverse a magnificent natural environment that includes 1,300 glacial lakes and 233,000 acres of public forest land. This, combined with our 65-inch annual average snowfall, makes for some of the Midwest's best sledding.” For more information on Sledding Clubs in Northern Wisconsin, follow this link.
If you are looking to get involved in the snowmobiling community, or just want another great resource for your winter adventures, Hodag Sno-Trails is a great bet. Hodag Sno-Trails is a non-profit volunteer organization and Rhinelander's original snowmobile club that has built and maintains over 140 miles of scenic, adventurous trails. They have meetings throughout the winter season you can check out here.
Cross Country Skiing
Rhinelander has a wide variety of trails allocated just minutes from downtown. You find a great list of these trails here that provides detailed maps and easy directions. If you’re close to Washburn/Perch Lake on the West side of Rhinelander you can look at the Rhinelander Silent Trails Association, which maintains all sorts of trails for winter sports enthusiasts.
If you're an avid outdoors person from the Northwoods, then you've probably already heard of the ever-popular Minocqua Winter Park. Every year roughly 10,000 visitors come to explore its 50 miles of professionally groomed trails, which cover about 6,500 acres of Wisconsin wilderness. Whether you enjoy strapping on skis, skates, or snowshoes there's something for everyone to enjoy. If you get a chance, check out the annual Wolf Tracks Rendezvous XC Marathon and Half Marathon which typically takes place in early February.
Hockey and Ice Skating
Hitting the puck on the local frozen pond is how many players got their start. Now players from all over the country can take part in the Annual Labbat Blue USA Adult Pond Hockey Championships in Eagle River. If you missed the sign-up period or just enjoy a good old fashioned hockey game, everyone is welcome to watch, as teams of 4 battle it out in 20 non-check divisions to see who comes out on top.
Or if you’re looking for something a little more casual, check out the Rhinelander Ice Association. Their website has information on leagues and tournaments, open ice schedules, and learn-to-skate classes for the little ones.
If you enjoy fishing, don't let the snow and ice slow you down. Ice fishing in Northern Wisconsin is a great way of enjoying the outdoors during the winter months (and it’s quite exciting to see the flag pop on a tip-up)!
Head over to the Lake Link to see ice conditions or get friendly tips to where the fish are biting.
For years the Forsyth Sunlite Resort has been a favorite stop on the Hodag Sno-Trails in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. They're most well-known for their annual Ice Fishing Derby. You can look at more information on the Derby here.
For general fishing information go here.
Sledding and Tubing
There is no shortage of great sledding hills in the Northwoods and is a great activity to be enjoyed by both young and old. Numerous golf courses in the county offer sledding hills as well as the old-fashioned favorite, Sarocka Park in Rhinelander.
And although it's only open on the weekends, Minocqua Winter Park offers a first-class tubing experience on Squirrel Hill. There are two separate 2 and a half hour sessions on Saturdays and Sundays, and big picture window allows spectators to witness all the fun.
You can also enjoy tubing at Camp Nawakwa, which offers a 300+ foot tubing hill, broomball, skating, and many other great winter adventures.
The forest offers six different snowshoe trails ranging from 1 mile to 2.5 miles. Among those trails are the Franklin Nature Trail, Sam Campbell Trail, Scott Lake Trail, and the Spectacle-Kentuck Trail. Most trails are have fees that go towards the maintaining the quality of the trails. More info can be found at Three Lakes Lion's Club.