Hiawatha Trail (WI)


7 Reviews

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Hiawatha Trail (WI) Facts

States: Wisconsin
Counties: Lincoln
Length: 14 miles
Trail end points: Tomahawk and Sara Park
Trail surfaces: Crushed Stone
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6017558

Hiawatha Trail (WI) Description

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.

Parking and Trail Access

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.

Hiawatha Trail (WI) Reviews

This trail had been my favorite by far, the different roads you drive on, true windy trails, steep hills, multiple loops. I had a blast!!! Already can't wait to go again.

This trail had been my favorite by far, the different roads you drive on, true windy trails, steep hills, multiple loops. I had a blast!!! Already can't wait to go again.


I’m not sure why there’s so many negative reviews? The trail is very nice with a cool bridge right by Sara Park, where there’s nice parking right next to the trail. It goes from there (Tomahawk) to Heafford Junction on a nice gravel trail that hooks up with the awesome Bearskin Trail.

Rode trail on August 23, 2022

We were skeptical when starting this ride that it was 14 miles on direction. Other sources, google maps, etc., led us to believe otherwise. Turns out we were correct. We started from our hotel on Menominee Court to West Mohawk Drive, in Tomahawk. A short distance to the trail. We rode South first, the route ended in 1.5 miles. We looped back, proceeding North. The trail merged with Bearskin about 4.5 miles later, a total of 6 miles, (not 14). That is an estimate as I am going by the first Bearskin sign we saw. We were aware that the trail connected to Bearskin. The trail is mostly packed gravel, but turned into heavy loose gravel (1/2" stones) for about 1 mile. We continued going North on Bearskin to complete our ride. If interested there is a review on that leg on the Bearskin State Trail. It wasn't the best. Our total ride was 30 miles. (we aren't quitters)

Nice Ride

We road the Hiawatha Bike Trail in July of 2019. It has beautiful Northwoods scenery. Sara Park at the trailhead provides plenty of parking and restroom facilities. We found the trail well maintained and marked.



Beautiful trail and good riding experience.

Not pleased

I recently rode this trail and it was not an enjoyable experience from tomahawk to the Nokomis town hall the trail is just fine, but after that you are no longer on the trail but roads. One is hwy L which has fast moving traffic. You are biking through populated areas which I did not find enjoyable due to the fact of traffic. You then turn back onto crushed stone trail which was a pleasant ride but then you encounter run down trestles which should not have been there do to the fact that the portion of the trail was just redone. To put it in perspective this trail sucked.

What tunnels?

Don't know why map lists 2 tunnels - there were none. A couple miles south of northern end point (Rocky Rd & Hwy L) has you traveling along Hwy L for a stretch, which has some pretty fast traffic but a fairly wide shoulder. Some nice bridges and lake scenery. Trail pretty flat, and good gravel surface well packed.

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