Shimmering lakes and Wisconsin's beautiful North Woods wilderness await you on the Hiawatha Trail. The trail provides a splendid journey along an old Milwaukee Road rail corridor that hauled white pine to the Midwest and later carried a passenger train named the "Hiawatha."
The trail traverses an area of one of the densest concentrations of lakes in the world. Converted railroad trestles help you glide across long spans of lakes covered in lily pads. During the warmer months, hikers and bikers hit the trail and take in the astounding lake vistas. Snowmobiles are permitted in winter, and many connecting trails provide endless hours of exploration.
Traveling north from Tomahawk on the Hiawatha Trail you will be surrounded by glistening lakes and travel over expansive trestle bridges. At trail's end you can continue for another 18 miles on the Bearskin State Trail
, where both trails meet at County Highway K just east of where it intersects with US 51. Cyclists and cross-country skiers over 16 years old will need a state trail pass
to use the Bearskin.
The allure of these North Woods trails lies in their isolated, scenic charm. If you want to explore both trails, plan accordingly. Parking and restroom facilities are located at Sara Lake Park in Tomahawk. And you won't have problems finding a motel or a good meal in the tourist town of Tomahawk. But if you continue on the Bearskin Trail, there is only one remote restroom facility along the way and no other amenities or easy access to food and water until you reach Minocqua.
To access the Hiawatha Trail from US 51, take Exit 229 for State Route 86 west/County Road D toward Tomahawk. SR 86 becomes East Somo Avenue. After passing through town, continue on Somo Avenue until you reach Sara Park, which will be on your left after crossing the intersection of North Railway Street and West Somo Avenue. Continue to veer right after passing the park facilities to reach the large parking lot. The Hiawatha Trail will be on your left.