Willow Flowage Snowmobile Tour


A true wilderness treasure, 8,270-acre parcel purchased by the Wisconsin DNR's Stewardship Fund included 64 miles of shoreline around the 6,375-acre Willow Flowage, the largest undeveloped lakeshore in the state. One of the most scenic wilderness areas in the state. With 1,000 miles of trail in Oneida County and 285 miles in Lincoln County. A ride north on Corridor Trail #17 from Tomahawk's Sara Park begins with a crossing of the wide Wisconsin River. The iron-framed bridge is a highlight of the Hiawatha Trail, a converted rail bed trail named after the famed Milwaukee Road streamliner that once carried tourists to the Northwoods. At Heafford Junction you can head northeast to Rhinelander to ride the full loop, or half-loop by heading north to Hazelhurst on Trail #51. On the long loop, you'll ride Corridor Trail #17 winding over lake and bog in the Oneida County Forest. A short jog east on Trail #8 takes you to Rhinelander where the city's mascot, a mythical bog-crawling creature called the Hodag, prowls in replica form at the Chamber of Commerce. From Rhinelander, Corridor Trails #15 and #17 take you north along the Wisconsin River through the southern lob of the 220,000-acre Northern Highland American Legion State Forest.

Wooded trails traverse the lake country around Lake Tomahawk, Minocqua and Woodruff. Off-route near Minocqua you can tour the Northwoods Wildlife Center where injured animals are cared for before being set free. Your ticket out of Minocqua is a six-mile ride south on the Bearskin State Trail to Hazelhurst. Riding east on Trail #6A from Hazelhurst, then south on #AA and #51A brings you to the snow-covered Willow Flowage. You'll access the flowage near several private resorts and restaurants. Given good ice, there will be a marked east-west trail across the flowage. Riders are encouraged to check ice conditions daily and to stay on the marked trail. On the snow-covered ice, you'll encounter an ever-changing wilderness shoreline. The trail crosses some of the flowage's 117 islands. Watch for bald eagles around the open water or the three wolf packs that are known to inhabit the area. Leaving the Willow Flowage, Trail #5 takes you south through the snow-covered Oneida County Forest to the little village of Tripoli just north of the Lincoln County line. From there it's on to Corridor Trail #19 and Trail #86 to Lake Mohawksin and the trailhead at Tomahawk.