Wildcat Trails Loop
Get a taste of what cross country mountain biking in Northern Wisconsin used to be like in the good old days.
Mountain Biking Moderate
- 19 km
- 266 m
- 266 m
- 1-2 hrs
- Low Point
- 346 m
- High Point
- 417 m
This route begins on an old two-track cross-country ski trail before veering off onto tight, twisty singletrack. The singletrack trail twists and turns through the forest, punching straight up short, steep climbs and plummeting down the opposite side of the small forested ridges. The track is narrow, rooty, and rocky, but isn't too technical in the grand scheme of things. You'll find yourself connecting sections of singletrack with stretches of cross-country ski trail as you make your way toward the far reaches of the loop.
The ultimate goal of the ride is to reach a set of small, pristine lakes set deep in the Washburn County Forest. The most notable lake is Schullenberger, and on its shores, you'll be able to stop, take a break, and enjoy the wild beauty of the Northwoods. A few interesting wooden bridges near Schullenberger cross marshy areas, providing some entertaining stretches of trail.
Beyond Schullenberger, the trail gets even steeper, heading straight up and straight down more small hills. Often the singletrack seems unnecessarily punchy, but again, that's how trails were built in Northern Wisconsin back in the day. The trail seems to go up and down every single hill in order to eek out the most climbing from the rolling landscape.
After riding all the way out to the far end of the loop, you'll pop out onto a well-developed ATV trail/forest road. Follow this map to navigate through a series of turns to work your way back toward the trailhead. Keep an eye out for the turn off of the gravel road to get you back onto the singletrack.
As you near the trailhead, you'll get to enjoy the evolution of mountain bike trail building. New trail building techniques are slowly making their way into the Wildcat Trails. The final descent to the trailhead follows a V2 rebuild of an older trail. The recent trail works has turned it into a fun, flowy descent, with some low berms and small jumps. Without any substantial elevation gain or loss to be had in this region, the "descent" is still quite pedally, but it's fun to rip around on a more bike-optimized trail for a few minutes.
At the time of this writing in fall 2021, the locals were currently working on a fresh build in this same zone that promises to not only add more singletrack bypassing one of the cross country ski trails, but also improve the downhill flow back to the trailhead. Initial impressions of the new build are promising, indicating that the ride quality here at the Wildcat Trails will only continue to improve as the years roll on!
Mostly stable trail tread with some variability, with unavoidable obstacles 8in/20cm tall or less. Other obstacles such as rock gullies and steep sections may exist. Ideal for lower intermediate riders.
Best time to visit
- In the forest
- Rock Gardens
- Wooden Feature