Like any trail system, the more you know, the more you can let loose and have fun. WinMan Trails is no different. Our staff got together and put together the 9 things you should know before visiting our trail system this summer.
1. We Offer Something for Everyone
As our trail system has evolved and grown in popularity, we have worked on making this a place the entire family can enjoy together.
The most popular activity at WinMan year-over-year is mountain biking. With our rolling topography and diverse forests, you’re able to quickly escape into nature and have a blast doing so.
One of the most unique features of WinMan Trails is that almost all our trails feature multiple riding options. Utilizing A/B lines (see #7 below for more details) we provide purpose built riding options for various skill levels.
This allows better riders a chance to challenge themselves while still allowing beginner level riders an opportunity to have fun. With our intentional design, you can progress and challenge yourself as your abilities and confidence improve as a rider. Giving riders a great opportunity to work on becoming better at whatever is important to them.
We also offer more challenging trails such as Red Trail, High Five, and LAMBO Spur that are feature rich with drops, gaps, and jumps.
PRO TIP: Looking for a fun way to quickly become a better rider? Try one of our instructional mountain biking clinics offered throughout the summer by visiting our events page.
In the future we will continue to build and construct trails that are rideable by the entire family. However we will also be adding more challenging features and trails for advanced riders. This allows our system to grow in both directions – opening up the sport to more riders while challenging those who want it.
Hiking and Trail Running
Not a biker? We provide other opportunities to escape into nature too.
Easier hiking options can be found by sticking to our ski trails. These trails are wide and feature gradual uphill and downhill sections.
They are great for a leisurely stroll and work well for young families seeking outdoor adventures with small children or even when pushing their BOB stroller. They are also excellent training grounds for cross-country runners to incorporate hill work into their routine and the ability to run for miles, fully uninterrupted.
If you want something a little more challenging, our snowshoe trails are excellent. They provide some more up and down with a steeper grade. They are also more narrow and give you a greater sense of being surrounded by nature.
PRO TIP: Make plans to visit in late-September through October to experience the changing colors of our diverse forests.
Heart of Vilas County Paved Trails
Did you know you can access over 50 miles of beautifully built and maintained paved trail right from our parking lot?
This spectacular trail, recognized as a National Recreation Trail, winds through the Northern Highland American Legion Forest and along crystal clear lakes and rivers. The trail system features smooth pavement suitable for all types of riders – from flat-to-rolling terrain, manageable hills, and multiple scenic bridges.
Along the trail are many scenic rest areas with picnic spots and restrooms. You will also find swimming spots for a quick cool down in the summer months.
So explore the paved trails while your family or friends enjoy the off-road trails at WinMan. Then afterwards, meet up for a beer or glass of wine at the WinMan Bar open Friday through Sunday from 11-5.
Currently we offer multiple options to gather both indoors or outdoors to just relax or enjoy a picnic lunch and refuel before hitting the trails again.
Moving forward, WinMan Park will foster our goals of providing something for all members of the family. We envision this space being an area where three (or even four) generations can come to WinMan on a Saturday afternoon and enjoy themselves.
With our nature play space, even the smallest of visitors will have a place to explore and connect with nature. Maybe you never even see the trails but just hang out in the park and enjoy the sites and sounds of friends and family having a great time.
We will continue to create opportunities for everyone to connect with nature, spend time together, and enjoy the beauty of the Northwoods.
2. All Mountain Bike Trails are One-Way Singletrack
Let’s start by clarifying what we mean.
One-way is exactly as it sounds: one direction. Unlike some trail systems you may be familiar with, our entire system moves in just one direction.
Singletrack primarily refers to the width of the trails. Rather than using multi-use hiking trails or logging roads, our trails have all been purpose built for mountain biking.
So what does this all mean for the riding experience?
- Even when the parking lot is full, you will see very few (if any) riders out on the trails. With everyone moving in one direction it minimizes rider interactions on the trails.
- You never have to ride with the fear that a biker will be coming towards you. This freedom of focusing on what you are doing, and having the most enjoyable experience you can, is very freeing.
- It allows us to design our trails specifically for movement in one direction. This may sound simple, but a jump, drop or berm, are best when they are designed to go in one direction. Trail systems that rely on two-way traffic are not afforded this luxury and have to make compromises in their design. One-way means purpose built features can be found throughout our entire system.
- Navigating our system is easier and more intuitive. In conjunction with our well signed and mapped trails, moving in one direction is more intuitive for the rider. Head over to our Mountain Biking page to learn more about our specific trails and to download a map.
3. All Our Trails Are Sport Specific
In the summer WinMan offers two distinct trail systems: mountain biking and hiking/trail running.
Each trail system is completely independent with no shared trail usage. This provides several key advantages for all our users.
- Both our mountain bikers and hikers benefit from never being concerned about crossing paths. This reduces fear for both parties. Allowing you to take the biking trails more aggressively if you choose and enjoy the beauty of our forests if along for a leisurely hike.
- Allows our signage to be sport specific which reduces confusion and improves the quality of navigation for both trail systems.
- Allows more of our visitors to enjoy the solitude of nature without overcrowding. By dispersing our varied users to different trail systems, this reduces interaction on the trails and makes our 1,300 acres feel like it’s just yours.
If you have ever visited WinMan Trails you already know. Our combination of wild-ness and comfort is truly amazing. If you are visiting for the first time know that we have just about everything you need on site to have an enjoyable visit.
The chalet is open everyday from 7 AM – 9 PM. Featuring walls of windows you can enjoy comfortable breezes while avoiding the sun and bugs that like to call the Northwoods home. The chalet features:
- Changing rooms
- Microwave and sink for food preparation
- Comfortable lounge seating
- Tables and benches for relaxing, playing a game, or enjoying lunch
- Free Starlink Wi-fi (we may just have the best remote working location in the Northwoods😉)
- Vending machine with food and snacks to keep you fueled and riding all day
Our 4-station bike wash ensures your ride is clean of debris prior to leaving WinMan. Featuring a stone patio and hooks to hang your bike so that you can reach every nook and cranny.
The bike wash station also features an outdoor changing room so that you can be just as clean as your bike before visiting one of our great local restaurants after your ride.
PRO TIP: Did you know that washing your bike after a ride also helps reduce movement of invasive species? We do our best to remove any known invasive species on our trails but we certainly aren’t perfect. By washing your bike before and after your ride, you can help eliminate the transfer of an invasive species to other trail systems.
In addition to the indoor gathering spaces of our chalet, we offer several options outside as well. We currently have multiple picnic tables with umbrellas, comfortable Adirondack chairs, fir pits and benches. All allowing you to take a break after the trails and relax.
We have visions for so much more. As a major part of our current fundraising campaign we are working on fully developing this space into WinMan Park. Below are some renderings and schematics of what we hope to offer.
We hope to have the funds raising and construction completed by the end of Summer 2022. Please consider supporting this initiative by donating to the campaign.
WinMan Bar and Apparel Shop
Perhaps our most popular addition in the last year was not a trail…but our bar. Let’s be honest, a hard day on the trails is always better when you can share a cold drink with some friends at the end.
We carry a variety of local craft beers, craft cocktails, and wines. You can find our current menu here.
While you’re grabbing a drink, be sure to pick up some WinMan swag from our apparel shop. We have some amazing shirts, hats, water bottles, and cycling socks. Make your friends jealous by representing WinMan back home and help us spread the word of this wonderful trail for all to enjoy.
The Bar and Apparel Shop is open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11-5 and you can find all our apparel online which can be shipped directly to you.
100% of all the profits from the Bar and Apparel Shop goes directly into our trail building projects each year.
5. We Allow Class 1 E-Bikes on All Mountain Bike Trails
Let’s start by explaining what we mean.
Class 1 E-Bikes are bikes that utilize a motor to assist with pedaling. This class is defined as being pedal-assist only, with no throttle, and having a maximum assisted speed of 20 mph (Wisconsin E-Bike Legislation).
E-Bikes are a great addition to the sport of mountain biking. They provide access to our trails, and into nature, for individuals new to the sport who may have not built up the necessary endurance. They also allow older riders to continue with the sport much longer than they would have otherwise.
In the end, trails are about having fun, challenging yourself, and getting out into nature. E-Bikes allow you to do all of that in spades.
6. You Can Ride at WinMan Even After it Rains
We have magic soil. It’s as simple as that.
Once the frost fully leaves the ground and the trails dry out from the spring melt, we essentially never close our trails again until winter (theoretically we could close if a monsoon finds its way to northern Wisconsin).
In the event we do need to close the trails for a period of time, we will post that on the trail conditions portion of our website as well as on Facebook and Instagram. One other useful tool is our weather station located at the main trailhead (there is always a link at the the top of our website). It will provide you the most up-to-date information, including recent rainfall amounts so you can better plan your visit.
Our soil conditions are unique to the region because our trail system is built on the Winger Moraines. Millions of years ago the glaciers stopped in what is now WinMan Trails, leaving behind hills, ridges, and valleys for us to build trail on.
As the glacier melted, the majority of sand was carried to the south helping create the beautiful lakes and shorelines of our region. What was left was just enough sand to make our trails drain beautifully along with plenty of clay, silt, rocks, and boulders.
FUN FACT: We are situated along the continental divide where rainwater that falls on the northern portion of our trails drains into Lake Superior and rainwater that falls on the southern portion drains into the Mississippi River.
This combination of material allows us to build trail that is packed, fast and flowy but is also able to quickly shed water.
The result is some amazing trail that can be ridden all summer long even after it rains. What this really means is that when you can plan your visit, you can feel confident knowing that our trails will be open and ready for you!
7. Our Trails Feature A/B Options
Providing trails that are challenging and fun for experienced riders, while also approachable and safe for new riders, is something we really focus on. We accomplish this balance by providing what are called A/B features.
With all our trails being purpose built for mountain bike, we take the time and effort to give different riding options on the same trail.
This allows mom to take the drop or rock feature while her kid rips along on the dirt trail.
It allows experienced riders to introduce their friends to the sport of mountain biking by riding the same trail and both still having a blast.
It allows riders to progressively challenge themselves and always work on becoming better.
It even allows entire families (like the one pictured above) to enjoy the trails together and all leave happy.
You can find out more by reading our full article on A/B features here.
8. WinMan Trails is 100% Supported by Donations
That’s right. We only exist, and continue to thrive, due to the generosity of our users and the community.
WinMan Trails is affectionately referred to as “a family trail system that got way out of control.” What began on a small parcel of land owned by Rick and Susie Gering has grown into the 40+ mile trail system we enjoy today.
I encourage you to read the full Story of WinMan to appreciate all the time, dedication, and hard work so many individuals have put in to get us to where we are today.
In an effort to help fund our annual operating expenses, we launched a Membership program in 2022. Funds from membership go towards everything that is needed to build and maintain our trails. From fuel to run our equipment, to work comp insurance for our employees, to utilities for our chalet and shop. The costs will only increase in the coming years and we need your support to “keep WinMan awesome.”
If you believe in WinMan and what we are doing we strongly encourage you to become a member.
9. Dog Friendly
Last but not least – all our trails are dog friendly! We know that your 4-legged friends want to get outside as much as you do. That is why all our summer trails are dog friendly.
A few ground rules so that everyone is safe and happy when visiting our trails.
- We ask that your dog stay leashed while in the parking lot area. It is as much for their safety as it is for our other visitors.
- Once you are on the trails, we allow dogs to be off-leash. We do remind visitors that our trails intersect at points. If your dog is apt to chase a passing mountain biker for instance, you may want to leave them on leash.
- There is no poop fairy. We provide mutt-mitts at the main trailhead for your use and we ask that you please clean up after your dog and dispose of the bags properly once you return to the trailhead.
Believe it or not, WinMan Trails has even more to offer than what we listed here. We have a pump track at the main trailhead (and soon to come skills park) and host events throughout the year like our Kick-Off to Summer every Memorial Day weekend
We invite you to explore our website – and our trails – to learn more about what we have to offer. If you ever have any questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re curious about visiting WinMan in the winter, check out our companion article: 9 Things to Know Before Visiting WinMan in the Winter.