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Bearskin State Trail

Hiking Bicycling Pets Snowmobiling Winter Activities

Aldo Leopold Legacy Trail System
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Bearskin State Trail

Wisconsin State Park System Bearskin State Trail

The trail stretches for 18 miles through the forests of Oneida County.

DNR Photo

LocationNamed for the Bearskin Creek the trail follows, this former railroad corridor is an opportunity to experience the Northwoods of Wisconsin. The railroad line was built to export white pine logs from the forests of northern Wisconsin to the cities of the Midwest. Today the trail is a recreation corridor, surfaced with compacted granite suitable for walking and bicycling in summer and snowmobiling in winter.

Few places in the world have more lakes per square mile than Oneida and Vilas counties. The lakes were formed by glaciers that melted and retreated north during the last Ice Age. Thirteen trestles cross the lakes and streams along the trail. The lakes of the Minocqua area are well known for their fishing.

The Northern Highland—American Legion (NH-AL) State Forest is nearby and offers a wide variety of recreation opportunities, including camping, hiking, bicycling, snowmobiling, canoeing, bird watching, fishing and hunting. The 6-mile Hiawatha Trail in Lincoln County is also nearby. The Hiawatha Trail, on another segment of the same rail bed as the Bearskin State Trail, travels south from Heafford Junction to Tomahawk.

Trail activities

The trail may bring a number of different users to the trail at the same time. It is important to use good trail etiquette to ensure the enjoyment and safety of all trail users.

Hiking Bicycling Pets Walking and bicycling

The level grade and surface make this trail suitable for bicyclists, walkers and joggers.

Pet owners, please be sure to have your pet on a leash, 8 feet or shorter, at all times. You must pick up after your pet.

Snowmobiling Winter activities Winter activities

Snowmobiles are permitted on the trail. Operators must follow all Wisconsin snowmobile laws. The trail also connects to numerous miles of county snowmobile trails.

The opening and closing of snowmobile trails is at the discretion of each county. Snowmobile trails which cross DNR lands are opened and closed consistent with the surrounding county (or counties). Whenever possible, the opening and closing of snowmobile trails is done on a county-wide basis, however localized conditions may require localized trail opening and closing. It is the responsibility of the county to provide notification about the status of snowmobile trails. The Travel Wisconsin Snow Conditions Report [exit DNR], and local club and county snowmobile web pages [exit DNR] and telephone hotlines will provide the most current information.

The trail is open to walking, bicycling, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, however, the trail is not groomed and users must share the trail with snowmobiles. Skiers do not need a trail pass while using the trail.

For the segment between County Highway K and Lake Nokomis Road, snowmobiles have a separate off-road trail. This off-road trail is for snowmobiles only. All other users must follow the road route as indicated on the trail map [PDF].

No Hunting No Hunting No Hunting and trapping allowed on trail

Hunting and trapping are not allowed on the trail corridor. For more information, please see:

A portion of the trail property in the town of Hazlehurst is more than 100 yards from the trail corridor. This portion is open to hunting and trapping during the Wisconsin state parks hunting time frame.

State trail passes

State trail passes are required for bicyclists 16 years and older. Self-registration stations are available at both trailheads.


Both trailheads are near State Highway 51 and have parking available. The north trailhead is in the town of Minocqua and the south trailhead is near the intersection of County Highway K and Highway 51 in Oneida County. The South Blue Lake rest area is at the center of the trail and has water, rest rooms, picnic tables and grills.


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Last revised: Thursday October 03 2019