Mercer Hike and Bike Trail


4 Reviews

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Mercer Hike and Bike Trail Facts

States: Wisconsin
Counties: Iron
Length: 9 miles
Trail end points: Carow Park (Mercer) and 160 County Hwy W (Manitowish Waters)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 9764219

Mercer Hike and Bike Trail Description

The Heart of Vilas Bike Trail, recognized as a National Recreation Trail, is a 52 mile bike trail that spans the width of Vilas County and some of Iron County Wisconsin.

The trail spans the towns of Mercer, Manitowish Waters, Boulder Junction, Sayner and St. Germain and is made up of five distinct trail sections, listed (west-east) below:

Mercer Hike and Bike Trail (9 miles):

Mercer, a outdoors-lovers destination famous its 378,000 acres of Public Forestland and the massive Turtle Flambeau Flowage, is a great starting point for the Heart of Vilas Bike Trail. The northernmost endpoint of the trail is located near Carow Park, where the trail then continues southeast through Mercer and east towards Manitowish Waters. A hallmark of the trail is the impressive 40-ft bridge was constructed over the Manitowish River.

The eastern end of the trail connects with the Manitowish Waters Bike Trail along two different endpoints, the first along Tower Rd. along the main strip of Manitowish Waters, which connects users to the rest of the Heart of Vilas Bike Trail and the second located near the Manitowish Waters Town Hall, where the western endpoint of the Manitowish Waters Bike Trail is located.

Manitowish Waters Bike Trail (18.6 miles)

Crystal Lake Trail (11 miles)

Plum Lake Trail (5 miles)

St. Germain Hike & Bike Trail (12 miles)




Parking and Trail Access

Parking is available at a number of locations including at the eastern endpoint at Koller Memorial Park, 6011 County Hwy W, and at the western endpoint at Carrow Park. 

See TrailLink Map for more detailed information and all parking options.

Mercer Hike and Bike Trail Reviews


I rode the trail from Mercer to Manitowish Waters. The trail was fine and I loved cycling through the forest. My only issue is there was no signage indicating the end of the segment or how/where to continue on to the next segment. The trail just stopped. I saw a sign to my right which said "bicycles stay right and ride single file" and assuming it was the trail I took it. About a mile later I figured out it was not the trail and doubled back, called my sister to pick me up and abandoned my ride. Hopefully the remaining segments will be more clearly marked and I can continue the trail without issue.

Only a small part of this trail is great

I rode this trail once to complete the last section of the 52 miles of the Heart of Vilas County Bike Trail System. The 2 1/2 mile section that is right next to the Manitowish Waters trail is excellent. From the Town Hall on Hwy 51,go west and cross the Manitowish river, then cross Co. Hwy 51. Follow the trail until you come out at Angler's bar. This section is filled with woods and a bridge and is so fun to ride through. It shouldn't be missed, it is beautiful. I would pass on the rest of the trail as you head west. It gets worse and worse as you ride. They have you going on a lot of access roads that are really boring. Once you get to Mercer there is another really boring road to ride on going into town. My advice would be to ride the first part of this trail until it connects back up to the Manitowish Waters trail at Angler's bar. Then continue on the Manitowish Waters trail and even the Crystal Lake trail, they are both outstanding and way better than the western part of the Mercer trail.

Mercer Hike & Bike

We rode this trail today from the southern end to about 7 miles north. Trail is smooth with nice grass on either side. There are a couple sections where you ride on paved side roads - we were riding mid-day on a Wednesday and did not encounter any traffic. We got to one point where we were on the east side of Highway 51 on a side road and there were no directions telling us where to go. Turned around and headed back to where we were parked.

Not my favorite of the paved trails.

Trail is actually 10 miles from Manitowish waters to Mercer. Of the 10 miles you will be on blacktop that is unfinished. It’s not a smooth surface almost like riding on a rail trail. Two segments one is 1.0 miles the other 1.3 miles. Another section you will be on a rural road it has no painted lines there is however very little traffic. 1.5 miles

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