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Trailside discoveries

Published: August 1, 2019

Vilas County has more than 75 designated multi-use trails, including the 52-mile Heart of Vilas County Paved Bike Trail System. The trails are a great way to explore the county and will lead you to tranquil Northwoods beaches, seasonal ice cream shops, quirky museums and more. Grab your helmet or lace up your walking shoes—here are some of our favorite trailside discoveries.

Old-growth forests

Vilas County has some special places where you can see what the forests were like long before loggers arrived. A good place to see some impressive old trees is Van Vliet Hemlocks, a system of rolling trails that will take you past quiet bogs and over rugged glacial hills. The hiking trails are primitive and will take you to the foot of giant yellow birch and hemlock trees that loom silently along the trail.

Sparkling waters

You’ll find that the water in Vilas County’s 1,300 lakes is fresh, clear and inviting, so when you’re out on the trails, be sure to take a moment to look at some of our county’s special waters. Some Vilas County lakes are so clear you can see fish swimming dozens of feet away. A good place to see this clear water is the appropriately named Crystal Lake, which sits alongside the Heart of Vilas County Paved Bike Trail System.

Shopping

Bring your bike basket. There are some great stores located along the bike paths, including charming boutiques and stores selling unique Northwoods goods. The Heart of Vilas County will take you past some great shopping in St. Germain, Sayner-Star Lake, Boulder Junction and Manitowish Waters.

Ice cream

Who doesn’t want ice cream after a bike ride or hike? You’ll find great ice cream throughout the county and you can easily bike or walk up to many of these shops. You can also find restaurants with outdoor patios and lake views, coffee shops and more. When you stop in one of our 12 charming communities, take a pedal around or take a stroll—you’ll find plenty of friendly establishments that are ready to help you refuel for your next adventure.

Learn more about Vilas County trails here.

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