Adventure: snowmobiling

Learn more about snowmobiling


In the winter, people flock to Vilas County for snowmobiling. The county has all the ingredients of a great snowmobiling destination: a vast network of trails, large amounts of snow every winter and amazing scenery. Some people who are new to the sport don’t know where to start. Don’t worry, it’s easier and even more fun than you think. First, learn the ropes. The state Department of Natural Resources recommends that everyone who is new to snowmobiling take a safety course; it’s the law if you were born on or after Jan. 1, 1985. For more information about Wisconsin’s snowmobile laws, visit the DNR’s website. Once you’re briefed on the basics, head to a Vilas County snowmobile rental shop. They’ll get you set up with a machine and helmet – make sure to dress warmly. Although modern snowmobiles have conveniences like hand warmers, the wind can really cool you off when you’re up to speed. A warm jacket, boots and gloves will help keep you toasty. You can explore trails anywhere in the county, but you might want to plan your trip near rental spots in communities like St. Germain, Boulder Junction and Eagle River. You can also check with local clubs to see if there are any ride-alongs happening.


You’re certified, have some experience on a sled and are ready for some fun. We’re ready for you. Vilas County trails allow you to go virtually anywhere in the county. Gas stations and restaurants are easy to find just off the trail so you’ll always be fueled up. Maps published by local snowmobile clubs will keep you on course, and the clubs use revenue from the maps to help maintain the trails. Many clubs hold fundraising breakfasts or dinners, so be sure to stop by. The Sno-Bunnies host buffets in Winchester and Presque Isle. Fill up on great food while knowing you’re supporting a great cause. There are plenty of accommodations trailside, so rent a cabin for a weekend (or longer) and you can plan day trips that will get you back in time for a fish fry. Some great central communities for a snowmobile weekend include Boulder Junction, Conover and Sayner/Star Lake. If you’re exploring the great snowmobiling system in and around Lac du Flambeau in western Vilas County, you can find shops, restaurants and lodging in nearby Manitowish Waters.


With more than 600 miles of groomed trails and more than a half million acres of wilderness, Vilas County is a backcountry playground. It’s a great place for backcountry touring. A nice ride in southern Vilas County is the route between Lac du Flambeau, St. Germain and Eagle River. The route features some beautiful scenery and plenty of trailside amenities. In the northern Vilas County area of Phelps, Presque Isle and Land O’ Lakes, you’ll find more great scenery and unlimited riding options. Sledders who have a need for speed can race their sleds against the clock at a local radar run. January and February are filled with snowmobile derbies, races, rides and more—don’t miss the World Championship Snowmobile Derby in Eagle River and Cruiserfest on Lake Minocqua.


Want more info?

For a full list of Vilas County events, click here.