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The Crystal Lake Trail runs from the Crystal Lake Campground in northern Wisconsin north to downtown Boulder Junction, passing Trout Lake along the way. The fully-paved trail offers an ideal ride for touring bikes as well as groups riding with younger children. There are lots of places to stop along the way to view the many lakes and some of the largest white pines in the Northwoods. The trail has several scenic bridges and crosses over the the Manitowish River.
Camping is available at the North Trout Lake Campground; campers can check with the Northern Highlands American Legion State Forest for availability.
At Crystal Lake, the trail also meets up with the Plum Lake Trail (five miles), which then connects with the St. Germain Trail (twelve miles), creating a 28-mile paved trail known as the Boulder Area Trail System (B.A.T.S.). Crystal Lake Trail is also part of the 50-mile Heart of Vilas County Bike Trail that links the towns of St. Germain, Sayner, Boulder Junction and Manitowish Waters.
Parking can be found near the north end of the trail at the Boulder Junction Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Information Center (5352 Park Street), which is just south of downtown Boulder Junction. Roughly mid-trail, there is also a parking lot at the Trout Lake Boat Launch on the east side of the lake. A trailside parking lot and restrooms are available on the southern leg of the trail at the junction of Highway M and Highway N (about 2 1/2 miles northeast of Highway 51), and another parking lot is available on the west side of Crystal Lake, off Crystal Lake Road.
We rode this trail from Boulder Junction south to where you head east at Hwy N. The north section of this trail is narrow, hilly and curvy! PLEASE do not ride side-by-side - you can’t see far enough ahead to be safe.
We completed this trail in June, 2022. Rode from Plum Lake parking to Boulder Junction. There are 4 hills in one direction on this trail. They are not rolling and manageable.
Gorgeous well maintained trail with short little up hills and down hills that make very interesting for the young ones.
We were riding the Plum Lake Trail which connects here, so rode here until just before Boulder Junction. Like all Vilas County trails, it is in excellent condition and enjoyable. One stretch is on a road through a state forest campground and others are meandering asphalt trails.
I skated from Boulder Junction to Crystal Lake. The pavement is acceptable, but there are some large bumps in the asphalt and some rough patches. Also take note that the trail crossing at Perch Lane is all gravel and if you come from the north there is a sudden blind turn with a steep downhill before the gravel. Mostly the trail is nice and smooth though. It is well marked and the winding curves and elevation changes make this trail very fun! So do the lovely pine forests and occasional lakeside scenery. I had the trail all to myself and didn't come across anyone.
My wife and I rode this trail for the first time in 2011. We have come back every year since then. You can ride from Saint Germaine all the way to Manitowish Waters on a beautiful paved trail. The best part is that this trail goes up and down hills and around winding corners. It is not a straight, flat trail so it is not boring. We stay in Boulder Junction and break this trail into two days. There are also the Bearskin Trail in Nearby Minocqua and the Three Eagle Trail in Eagle River to ride if you don't get enough miles for one of your rides. One warning, if you want to ride at a faster pace go earlier in the morning before families get on it. The trail can be dangerous when meeting inexperienced riders around sharp curves and at the bottom of steep hills. We get out by 7:30 AM.
My wife and I were delighted with this quality paved trail through the beautiful Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest. We used our mountain bikes but road bikes would work fine. The trail segment paralleling Trout Lake was especially beautiful! You won't be disappointed.
We parked off M and N which is free parking - trail end (or head) is 2.5 miles to the East in the state campground and would have cost $8 a day. We tandem road biked up to Boulder Junction and a few miles towards the Manitowish Trail and back. Low traffic and amazing can't notion! Will bike again! And
This is our favorite off road trail in the area. It has over 45 miles of paved and well maintained off road biking trails now extending from Manitowish Waters to Boulder Junction and then to Crystal Lake, St. Germaine and Sayner. A few challenging hills but there are usually downhills going into them. Many places to stop and rest or eat in the communtiies it goes through. Beautiful trail, going through the forest and around lakes and over streams. We highly recommend it.
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