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Bearskin-Hiawatha State Trail

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General Information

American Black Bear, Euarctos americanus
Copyright: Patty Elton - Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
American Black Bear, Euarctos americanus
Description - Bearskin-Hiawatha State Trail is two trails running along the former rail corridor of the Chicago Milwaukee and St. Paul & Pacific from Minocqua and Tomahawk. The Bearskin runs 18.3 miles south from Minocqua; the Hiawatha runs north from Tomahawk 6 miles. The trail has been designated a National Recreation Trail offering sights that include rolling hills, streams, and lakes. Several lakes are accessible from the trail.

Attractions - The Bearskin-Hiawatha State Trail is a multi-use trail open for touring biking and hiking during the warmer months and snowmobiling in winter. Begin the trail from behind the Police Department in Minocqua. The surface is composed of crushed granite. There are no bike rentals or car shuttles available; however, there is a rest area and observation deck along route. Trailheads are in Minocqua and on Hwy. K near Hwy. 51. Limited access points. Trail passes required for bikers 16 years of age and older.

Overnight camping is offered near the end of the trail at Northern Highland / American Legion State Forest. There are 18 campgrounds offering 900 campsites. Varying styles of camping is offered: 100 primitive canoe campsites are found along the 247 miles of waterways; two group camps accommodate 100 people; winter camping is permitted at designated grounds; and wilderness sites afford a backcountry experience. The five family campgrounds (Crystal Lake, Muskie Lake, Clear Lake, Firefly Lake, and Indian Mounds), two group campgrounds, and four wilderness campgrounds accept reservations through the Wisconsin State Park's central reservation system, ReserveAmerica. Thirteen campgrounds are first-come, first-served.

Wisconsin's Rustic Road 58 intersects with the Bearskin-Hiawatha State Trail in Oneida County. Nearly 10 miles of scenic, paved roadway is enjoyed by both auto and bike travelers.

Recreation - The trail is open to tour biking, hiking, and snowmobiling.

Climate - Northeast Wisconsin has four distinct seasons with warm summers and long winters. Great Lakes Michigan and Superior tend to make summers cooler and winters milder close to shore. January's average temperature is in the teens F (-teens C). Average July temperature is 68-70 degrees F (20 degrees C). During summer, temperatures can climb to above 90 degrees F (32 degrees C) for a several day stretch. The area's average yearly precipitation ranges from 30-32". Annual snowfalls in the Northeast Region have a wide range; the southern areas may receive 50" while the northern areas may receive in excess of 180". Nighttime summer temperatures can dip below freezing. Dressing in layers is a good way to remain comfortable in Wisconsin.

Location - The Bearskin Trail runs 18.3 miles south from Minocqua; the Hiawatha Trail runs north from Tomahawk 6 miles. The Bearskin State Trail has trailheads in Minocqua and on Hwy. K near Hwy. 51.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Brian Feltz (Junction City, WI)
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Awesome trail for a fall ride. The weather at the end of September 2004 was amazing! It seemed that going south there was a slight gradual incline which was nice since the opposite was true on the way back.

Filed By: John and Chris Wald (Hartford, WI)
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: My son, Chris, and I rode the entire trail on August 17 and 18, 2004. Very nice trail. South section was our favorite. Many crossings of Bearskin creek. Lots of wildlife. Saw snakes on the trail sunning themselves, an eagle, 6-7 whitetail deer, many turtles and the highlight of the trip was a black bear crossing the trail in front of us on 8/18. Great trail. Very good condition.

Filed By: Steve Taves (Arlington Heights, IL)
Number of People Encountered: 25-50 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I visited on a Saturday July 2002. Very scenic trail, especially the South portion with the creek and bridges. The bottom 2/3rds of the trail had very few people, the North mile or so had more due to people taking short walks from Minocqua. Trail was in great condition.

More Information

Contact Information:
Bearskin-Hiawatha State Trail, c/o 518 W. Somo Avenue , Tomahawk, WI, 54487, Phone: 715-453-1263

Additional Information:
Northeast Wisconsin - Outdoor recreation abounds in Northeast Wisconsin. From fishing its fine lakes to big game hunting the deep forests to paddling exciting whitewater and to Great Lake island hopping, Northeast Wisconsin offers something for everyone.
Wisconsin State Trails -

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - Official agency website.


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