Snowshoeing in Vilas County Wisconsin

Quick winter weekend getaways

Published: November 24, 2021

Want to get out and play in the snow? Vilas County is a great destination for a quick weekend getaway, whether you’re bringing your snowmobile or want to take in the scenery on skis or snowshoes. Here’s a look at a few places to go for a fun winter weekend that won’t take a lot of planning.

For skiers and snowshoers

Head to the Northwoods this winter to find some of the state’s best spots for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Vilas County is home to boundless opportunities for outdoor recreation—all you need is a pair of skis or snowshoes and a sense of adventure. Here’s a quick weekend getaway that highlights some of the best Vilas County has to offer.

  • Day 1

    • Arrive in the Minocqua area in southern Vilas County and enjoy the Island City’s outstanding options for shopping and dining before you check into your hotel, cabin or resort. If you want to hit the trails right away, take a trip to Minocqua Winter Park, which is about a 20-minute drive from downtown Minocqua. The park is home to more than 50 miles of cross-country ski trails (open for classic skiing and skate skiing), as well as six snowshoe trails varying in length from 1 to 5 miles.
  • Day 2

    • Head north to Manitowish Waters to visit the North Lakeland Discovery Center, which maintains 12 miles of snowshoeing and cross-country ski trails. The gentle terrain winds through beautiful Northwoods scenery along Statehouse Lake, through a bog and along the nearby Manitowish River. Trails are groomed and tracked for classic skiing, and the center also hosts several programs, including guided ski trips, snowshoe outings and interpretive hikes.
    • Explore the WinMan Trails between Manitowish Waters and Winchester. This 1,300-acre site sits in the heart of the Northwoods in northwestern Vilas County and offers more than 13 miles of cross-country ski trails groomed for classic and skate skiing. The trails are designed for skiers of all levels and include fun downhills and some challenging uphill stretches. There are also seven miles of trail loops for snowshoers to explore.

For the snowmobiler

Vilas County is a great destination in general for snowmobiling, as it’s home to hundreds of miles of snowmobile trails—groomed nightly by hard-working local clubs—that crisscross Wisconsin’s Northwoods and extend into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. But a few communities have a particularly close connection to the popular winter sport. Here’s a weekend itinerary snowmobilers can enjoy:

Before you launch your winter adventure, don’t forget to download the free Map It Vilas County trails app, which will help you navigate snowmobile trails, ski trails and much more throughout the Northwoods—it even works if you don’t have a cell signal.

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