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Boulder Junction Area Trail System
BATS Crystal Lake Trail

RE: northern central Wisconsin bike trail

The trail I spoke about is called BATS-Crystal Lake Trail near Boulder Junction, Wisconsin.  BATS is an acronym for "Boulder Junction Area Trail System."  Right now its northern edge is the quaint town of Boulder Junction.  The trail goes south from Boulder Junction for about 8 miles and then takes a sharp dog leg east to the Crystal Lake Campground.   You can find more information about this trail and other biking trails in the area at:  http://www.vilas.org/bjtrails.htm  

They claim it is as much as 13.5 miles, that depends if you go back into some of the state park dirt trails.  The paved portion is advertised in the Wisconsin Biking Guide (Page 52) as 11 miles which matches my odometer readings.  Parts of the trail have steep short hills but most of it is flat to rolling.  It travels along Trout Lake for about 1 1/2 miles which is, in my opinion, the nicest part of the trail.  But no matter where you are on the trail, it is quite beautiful and refreshing, especially when it travels among pine trees with needles carpeting the trail beneath you.  If you ever get a chance to get up that far into Wisconsin, you must ride it. 

What I like about that area is the lightly traveled roads that takes you through some of the most beautiful country Wisconsin has to offer.  There is a web site called: www.vambasa.com  that you can get more information. 

And finally there are plenty of dirt and mountain biking trails that take you through the untamed woods among the lakes in the area.  That general area is known as the "Northern Highland - American Legion State Forest" region.  They have a trail guide you can get at the State Forest that outlines all the trails (34 pages of them).  I did not adventure into the woods partially because of the bears but mostly because of being afraid of biking without a partner just in case I became injured due to a fall or whatever.  These trails are extensive (100's of miles) and probably the most beautiful since you are in the thick of woods and away from any traffic and people.  If I ever had a biking partner, I would love to venture into those dark forests.   For this trip, the BAT-Crystal Lake trail and the open road (all types from paved to gravel to sand) gave me as much challenge (and beauty) that I could do in a few days. 

I have ridden on many if not most of the rail trails and other popular biking trails in Wisconsin.  I have a couple of favorites,  One is Red Cedar State Trail near Memomonie Wisconsin.  The second trail  is Chippewa River State Trail that connects with the Red Cedar Trail.  Both travel among some of the nicest country you will visit in Wisconsin  and it does not have the traffic like other biking trails such as the Elroy-Sparta State Trail, that's the one having three railroad tunnels.  That one is nice too but you will be biking with many other bikers also, like the Fox River Trail.  Here is a website to give you a general layout of these two trails:http://www.trailsfromrails.com/chippewa_river_trail.htm  

[RE: Fox River Bike Trail North and Prairie Trail ]

I looked at your web sites and at all of the pictures.  The pictures came out real good.  I know exactly where most of the pictures were taken.  You captured the zest of the trail very well...

RE: First hand description of the bike trail, camping and surrounding area.

Last week Monday I traveled to northern central Wisconsin just below the Wisconsin/UP Michigan border to bike some of the backroads.  I got there Monday morning and left for home on Saturday morning.  I managed to bike 200.4 miles, matching a goal I set before the trip.  The roads there are both rolling and hilly with some hills acting like a roller coaster ride. 

There is a nice paved 11 mile trail that runs through the state park and along some lakes.  The scenery is definitely northern Wisconsin with pine and white birch trees, many other trees like Maples and Willows, ferns, and thick underbrush.  It is not very populated there with mostly state forests, here and there cabins and over 900 camp sites. 

I went by myself so I solo-camped to save money.  For 5 nights I only paid $45.  I needed a Wisconsin State Park windshield sticker which cost $30 more but I usually buy one anyway since I like Wisconsin State Parks.  This was the first time I solo-camped and maybe the 7th time I camped overall.  I bought a 6'x6' tent, an air mattress, some camping equipment totally less than $125. 

I now have all that stuff for my next camping trip which will actually be next week when I take my mother to Wisconsin to leave with relatives for a week,  I plan to bike in another part of the state (likely around EauClaire).  I hope I can bike another couple of hundred miles to keep it going.

Article contributed by
Bob Cummings,
Illinois and Wisconsin Bike Trail Consultant
Hoffman Estates, Illinois