Draw for Tourists and Locals
2:47 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

Bearskin-Hiawatha Connection Opens

Cyclists can ride more easily between Tomahawk and Minocqua, now that the Bearskin and Hiawatha trails are connected.

The DNR has finished building a six-mile connector stretch that joins the two major trails together. 

Local business owner Jim Wise has been working to make it happen for more than two decades.  He says while it’s taken a while to secure funding, he has high hopes for the finished trail.

“We’ve been patient, waiting our turn, and we think it’s going to be the equivalent of an Elroy Sparta trail, which is the big trail in Southern Wisconsin, and we think the Hiawatha Bearskin is going to be every bit as popular – the Elroy Sparta got 22K visitors last year and we expect something like that up here as well.”

The total ride is 32 miles, almost all of which is on designated bike trail.  There are three miles of riding on county roads; future plans for the project would replace those sections with bike trail. 

Tomahawk Chamber of Commerce Director Tamra Anderson says she thinks it will be a big draw for the area.

“We’re having a big celebration cause we’re so excited for  bringing more bike tourism to our area, as well as our people from Tomahawk being able to get up to Minocqua, and Minocqua down to Tomahawk.” 

The trail will also be open to snowmobiles in winter. 

A ribbon cutting is scheduled for Saturday morning, with organized bike rides to the event starting from Mel’s Trading Post in Rhinelander and Changing Gears Pedal and Paddle in Tomahawk.