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The Three Eagle Trail is a rail-trail in northern Wisconsin that follows the former Chicago and North Western (CNW) Railway line between the City of Eagle River and the Town of Three Lakes. Approximately 1.5 miles of trail in the north and 3 miles of trail in the south use the former rail corridor, while the rest of the route winds through woodlands and over streams.
The crushed limestone trail has been built in two disconnected segments with a short gap of about 1.25 miles between them that can be traversed on the lightly trafficked Sundstein Road. The northern segment is shorter, beginning in Eagle River at the old CNW depot and heading south, including a bridge over Mud Creek. In the winter, the northern segment is groomed for cross-country skiers, and snowmobiles can utilize it as well.
The longer southern segment of the trail begins in Three Rivers at Don Burnside Park, which offers restrooms, athletic facilities, a playground and picnic tables. From there, the trail meanders through wetlands, dense forest and marshy pines with lots of twists and turns and plenty of benches to rest on. The route includes two boardwalks and a bridge.
Parking for the northern segment is available at the municipal lot on the west end of Eagle River along State Route 70.
For the southern segment, parking is available at either end: at Don Burnside Park in Three Rivers, or at the small lot on Sundstein Road.
We biked this trail on Sunday, August 21, after an all day soaker on Saturday so we weren't sure what to expect because this trail is crushed limestone. To our surprise, it was in excellent condition and we really enjoyed it. This trail reminded us of our local Wild Goose Trail in Dodge County in many ways. The facilities along the way were excellent including a water source where we could refill our bottles and a bike station with air etc. We are looking forward to biking it again soon!
This is a very nice trail with good views. We rode 23 miles of it and would go back.
In Wisconsin from Erie, PA visiting relatives and had the pleasure to ride this trail. It was in excellent condition. Very smooth and rut free. We started in Eagle River on rented bikes and rode down to the third boardwalk, not quite all the way to the end. The worst hills are on the paved road section but we two 60+ year olds negotiaqted them without having to walk the bikes. All in all, a great day for a ride!
We rode this trail again on 6/9/16 and the last mile of the trail going into Eagle River is much better. I'm not sure if recent rains fixed it or it was dragged, but it is not near as bumpy. There is also additional signage on the Tara Lila section going south asking horses to stay off the trail.
We started the trail in Three Lakes, parking at Don Burnside park. There are restroom facilities there. You can also park at the Ritter center. The Three Lakes Winery has parking with electric chargers, but I would ask before parking there.
The trail starts out with a gentle downhill grade. It closely parallels US 45 for the first 3 miles. On the day we were riding (05/19/16) there was some trail work in progress. The start of the trail was smooth as glass.
At about the 3 1/2 mile mark the trail turns away from US 45 and into the woods. There is a small and hard to find parking lot here if you would like to skip the section paralleling the road or just want a shorter ride. The trail surface here is excellent. The trail has too many sharp curves in this section for ideal biking, in my opinion. I've skied the trail and it is fine when you are skiing, but the increased speed of biking makes seeing around the corners more difficult.
The trail is almost completely flat until you come up to Mud Creek. A few years back there were beavers here, and you can still see the remnants of their dam looking east. After Mud Creek, there a few hills but they are fairly easy and if you get a good start down one you can usually get up the next one without too much effort. However, the very last hill creeps up on you so it's hard to gain momentum to get up it. It's steep but short, maybe a good time to get off the bike and stretch your legs. Just past the hill is a very well kept bathroom, a sitting bench, and a fully enclosed picnic shelter.
After another half mile or so, you will reach Sundstein Road. There are no signs pointing toward Eagle River. Make a right onto Sundstein and keep bearing right. There are a few hills on Sundstein road, but again more of the rolling type of hill. Turn right at Section 9 road, about a mile and half down. You will see the trail head a few blocks down the road. Again, there is a well kept bathroom and a fully enclosed picnic shelter located here.
The trail continues over a few boardwalks and on into town. As noted in another post, the last mile or so is pocked with hoof marks from horse traffic. Even with our suspended mountain bike frames, the trail was bone rattling. I understand the appeal of combining a bike trail and an equestrian trail, but the reality is that it just doesn't work.
The trail conveniently ends at the Dairy Queen. You can park on the east side of the dirt road at the end of the trail. There is a new rental facility at the end of the trail where you can also rent bikes. You can also park in the municipal parking lot across US 70. It even has a bike lane roped off through the parking lot.
We tried to ride this trail in early May and found the surface very rough. We started in Eagle River and the first mile was full of divots from horses that had used it, rocks and bike tire ridges. We were on Trek hybrid bikes and have ridden many miles on crushed stone trails previously, but this was the worst. We got off the trail at the first paved crossroad and rode the paved back roads in the area instead. I don't know about the condition of the trail further south, but did notice there were no other riders with us and it was a Saturday. Hopefully in time the surface and be smoothed because it really is a beautiful area.
I rode this trail in early September. Had the leaves been changing, it would have been spectacular. Very easy parking in a municipal lot in Eagle River.
Places to picnic, plenty of nice all season benches overlooking great rest stops. Full of marsh lands, thick pines, great woods and off away from the roads for most of the way.
There is a bit along a back rode but it would be safe and perfect for a family ride. The stop in Three Lakes is very nice before I headed back. Or you can do the path in reverse. A nice rest room, with a modern flair and a faucet to get water nearby.
I found this trail peaceful, beautiful and doable in a half day with lunch at either end of it. Great addition to the trails in the area.
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