The growing sport of mountain biking has taken hold here in the Western U.P. Several complete trail systems to ride on make this a biker’s paradise. Just about anywhere you stay someone can point out a favorite trail.
Ontonagon County’s trails are one of its best tourism assets, particularly because of the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park (Porkies), located in Carp Lake Township, which contains over 100 miles of designated routes for hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. Approximately 145 kilometers/90 miles are located within the County. Hikes can be arranged for both day trips and multi-day backpacking excursions, though the park is perhaps best suited for the latter. Most trails are interconnected long-distance point-to-point paths rather than local loops. Trails are well-maintained and clearly marked. Due to the breadth of the trail system and the scope and detail of information available at www.mi.gov/porkies, an inventory will not be included here.
A 23-mile segment of the North Country Trail runs through the park. The North Country Trail stretches across all of OntonagonCounty. Outside of the Porkies, the trail crosses Highway M-64 and continues to weave east to the old community of Victoria before dropping south and east to cross over into HoughtonCounty. On the way, the trail passes by numerous waterfalls and other geological features of interest, running mainly through public land.
The Ottawa National Forest offers an extensive system of gravel forest roads suitable for multiple uses. www.fs.usda.gov/ottawa
A wide variety of opportunities ranging from well maintained and signed loops to more challenging cross-country travel await the mountain bike enthusiasts. Besides wilderness and specifically designated hiker only trails, the entire Forest is open to mountain bikers.
Elcho Complex – Twenty-seven miles of the Elcho complex provides and exciting and challenging trip through a northern hardwood forest, over open gravel roads, through overgrown logging roads that crosses a few small streams, and around beaver dams. The trail is located in the northwest part of the Ottawa near the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.
Henry and Pomeroy Lake Complex – Nearly 100 miles of trails await your arrival at the Henry and Pomeroy Lake complex which is located just south of Marenisco. This marked trail system is mostly located on gravel roads. It offers several loop opportunities, passes by scenic overlooks, crosses rivers and streams, and offers direct access to two campgrounds.
Agonikak Trail – The Agonikak Mountain Bike Trail starts near the Watersmeet Visitor Center and travels 11 miles through the forest, south to a State wayside in Land O’ Lakes. It is located mostly on brushed-out trails and right-of-ways.
Copper Peak Ski Flying, located off Black River Road north of Bessemer, is beginning development in 2013 of an extensive mountain bike trail system. A special opportunity will be to ride the chairlift to the top of the ski hill and ride a bike down.
The Pines & Mines Mountain Bike Trail System is located in Iron County, Wisconsin www.travelwisconsin.com
Beyond the many country back roads through the forests, along Lake Superior, and near our waterfalls,
the Pines and Mines Mountain Bike Trail System offers 300 miles of marked and mapped mountain biking opportunities. This trail system runs through the abundant public lands of Iron County and the nearby Ottawa National Forest. Trails incorporate many of the county’s historic transportation, mining and lumbering sites, as well as plenty of forests, lakes and waterfalls.
Every Tuesday night in summer the Fat Tire Club rides somewhere and everyone is welcome. The rides are guided, 10 to 15 miles of off-road fun.
For more information contact the following: Fat Tire Club at 906-932-3332
Copper Harbor Trail System caters to all skill levels from novice to expert. Included in the network are 25 miles of designated singletrack mountain bike trails intertwined with trails and roadways accommodating other types of recreation. The scenic and highly technical mountain bike trails have the special designation of “Epic Ride” by the International Mountain Biking Association
Fort Wilkins Historic State Park has a 4-mile trail for hiking and mountain biking; the trail is also groomed for cross-country skiing. Another trail leads out of the park to the town of Copper Harbor.