Riding ATVs and UTVs in Wisconsin is not simply a pastime – it’s a way of life. Our crew has taken you over the hills and through the woods to countless ATV destinations over the years. You really can’t go wrong when it comes to choosing a spot to ride as our state is full of fun-filled and heart-pumping experiences. Here is just a smattering of some of our favorite spots to experience the great outdoors with four wheels and a full throttle:
Barron County, located in northwest Wisconsin, is an area that boasts nearly 60 miles of ATV trails including the Cattail Trail, Cattail Trail Extension and Wild Rivers Trail. For the ultra-adrenaline junkies, I highly recommend making a pit stop at the 30-acre intensive use area outside Almena. This is essentially a playground featuring jumps, twists and turns. After a long day of riding, catch a flick at the Stardust Twin Drive-In in Chetek.
With more than 330,000 acres of public land, west central Wisconsin is another ATV mecca. Nature lovers will appreciate Jackson County Forest, where black bear, timber wolves, and the endangered Karner Blue butterfly call home. Wisconsin’s deepest inland lake, Wazee Lake, is also one of the clearest lakes in the state—so bring your scuba gear, too!
Contrary to popular belief, ATVing isn’t just for summer fun. Burnett County is home to 80 miles of frozen ground ATV trails and 120 miles of winter ATV trails. Dress warm and take on the trails when they offer a bit more tranquility and endless wintry vistas. I really love the Namekagon Scenic Riverway, Pine Barrens Overlook and St. Croix Trestle Bridge.
Heading even further north is Douglas County, where riders can enjoy more than 100 miles of maintained summer ATV trails. In addition to the well-groomed trails, there are several fantastic stops just off the trails, including Amnicon Falls State Park and Wisconsin’s highest waterfall at Pattison State Park in Douglas County, Big Manitou Falls. For a bite to eat, don’t miss Gronk’s Grill & Bar for a mouthwatering upside down burger—delish!
Iron County is an ATV mecca. In fact with over 250 miles of ATV trails, the county boasts more routes than any other in Wisconsin. Along your ride, you can expect to see the county’s historic transportation, mining and lumbering sites plus pristine lakes, cascading waterfalls and breathtaking skylines. I also recommend experiencing the rugged Penoke Range for yourself.
In Price County, you’re going to love adventuring the Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest by ATV. While you do, be on the lookout for deer, grouse, bear and bobcats. Other points of interest with a view include Tuscobia State Park in Park Falls and Timms Hill, Wisconsin’s highest geographic point.
Neillsville’s ATV trail system is impressive thanks to the five Clark County parks located directly along the trails. There are also a number of campgrounds in the area if you’re interested in making a longer vacation out of your ATV trip. While in town, don’t miss the very moving Highground Veterans Memorial Park.
Oconto County’s ATV and UTV trail system is over 450 miles of fully interconnected scenic riding. The trails in this northeast Wisconsin destination are very well-marked with the trail heads located near the Highways 32/64 intersection. Hop off the trail to enjoy a meal at Mulligan’s, witness the beauty of Bagley Rapids and explore the majestic Cathedral Pines.
Washburn County boasts more than 100 miles of ATV trails with easy access to lodging, gas and restaurants along the way, making it an incredibly popular ATV destination. In fact, Washburn County even has a campground in Minong designated specifically for ATV and UTV enthusiasts. Be sure to take the Washburn County ATV Scenic Tour, which features more than 35 points of interest located along the area’s ATV system, including rivers, swamps, bridges, memorials and historical sites.
For more on ATVing in Wisconsin, don’t miss Four Wheels. Four Counties. on Discover Wisconsin January 30-31.