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In collaboration with Dave Schlabowske of Life Above Eight

Photos by Dave Schlabowske

Welcome to Chequamegon

Before you visit, you might want to learn how to pronounce Chequamegon. Located on the edge of the Chequamegon National Forest, this area is home to 130+ miles of mountain bike trails, endless miles of hilly gravel forest roads, and in the winter boasts 50 to 70 miles of groomed fat bike trails, the American Birkebeiner Ski Trails and many other nordic ski trail systems. The new Trek Trails powered by OTM at Telemark Village now has some of the best purpose-built, progressive gravity mountain bike trails in the region.

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Where to Ride Gravel Around Chequamegon

In addition to these grave routes, the Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association has a map of many other gravel routes in the area. You can find that map and gpx tracks online HERE and get their printed gravel map at area bike shops.

Route Descriptions


Sawmill Bikeraft loop [19 Miles]

A nine mile bike ride north to the Phillipi Landing in Cable with a lazy nine mile paddle back to the Sawmill Saloon. You may see deer, bald eagle, and black bears on your paddle. The river is very shallow and you may have to get out of your packraft to walk some very short sections in drier months. The Namekagon has naturally reproducing brown and brook trout. While time spent riding the 9 miles north to Phillipi Landing will  vary by ability and fitness, the paddle down the river will take about 3 hours in a packraft. The current speed doesn’t change a lot, but a south wind will slow progress. People can always pull out of the river early though at Leonard School Road (manadatory low-bridge portage anyway), Thompson Bridge Landing, or Peterson Bridge and ride back to the Sawmill. View Route.

The Wolf Scat [15 miles]

This short route is an amuse-bouche for all that the Seeley area has to offer and might have more climbing that Ride With GPS accounts for because the ATV trails are not on the basemap. It combines rolling gravel roads that pass near an abandoned CCC Camp on Smith Lake. Stop and go off route a bit to explore! And the short blue sections are rough ATV trails with some rocky, fairly steep climbs. You can get some speed up on Timber Trail and some of the downhills, so watch out for sandy washouts at the bottom! Lake Helene is beautiful and worth a swim. The route is named after the fresh wolf scat left by a lone grey wolf that crossed the path of Cowboy and Seeley Dave when they were creating this route. View Route.

Get Pumped Gravel [18 miles]

This mostly gravel ride starts and finishes at the Cable Bike Park where you can ride some of the fun features and concrete pump track before and/or after your ride. It also finishes with a ride down Parker Road where you head back into town via the Cable Town Trail that goes over a former railroad trestle with a great view of the Namekagon River. The Portage Bar makes great fancy cocktails and has a limited, but delicious bar menu. View Route.

Dynamite Pie [26 Miles]

This ride follows the Hungry Bear gravel race Climbing Cub route and includes a stop at an old Civilian Conservation Corp Dynamite Shack. Park in the Cable Municipal Parking lot, but be sure to start and/or finish your ride at the Rivers Eatery for stone-fired pizza and Tilly's Pies for dessert. Redberry Bookstore and The Portage are also great. The gravel is pretty straightforward, with one section of unnamed two-track. The route goes by Lake Helene, which is beautiful and a great place to stop to swim, fish or just enjoy the view. View Route.

Pine Stump Jump Off [52 miles]

This 52 mile route goes by a number of nice waterfalls and other historic spots to stop for a photo. Some of the waterfalls are difficult to find. Turn on the Global Heatmap to see Seeley Dave's tracks to help you find them. View Route.

Hungry Bear 100 [97 miles]

This is the updated route for the first gravel race in the Cable area. It features a wide variety of terrain, from traditional gravel, to rougher forest road and includes some ATV tracks as connectors to avoid pavement. It also goes past some waterfalls and other fun landmarks. It can be done as a bikepacking route or just go out and crush a gravel century. This is still run as a race the second Saturday in May each year. New Moon Ski & Bike in Hayward puts on the event. View Route.

Tour de Chequamegon Bikepacking Loop [106 miles]

This is the OG bikepacking route for the Wisconsin Northwoods. It was the first midwest bikepacking route published on and is still a supported weekend ride offered by Wheel & Sprocket. You can do this route on your own but learn a lot about the route by visiting their website here: The route can also be started in Cable where you can park in the Cable Municipal Parking Lot, but starting from Homebase is a great option since you will be surrounded by other silent sports enthusiasts and right next to the Trek Trails powered by OTM at Telemark Village. View Route.

Valhalla Beach Party Bikepacking Loop [82 miles]

The Valhalla Beach Party is a shorter route that overlaps a bit with the Wisconsin Waterfall Loop and includes a couple of waterfalls, but the highlights of this route are the great beaches and opportunities for swimming. While not exceptionally long, this hilly route includes some sections of soft sand that are best ridden with fatter tires and low pressure. The two beaches on the South Shore of Lake Superior combined with the many small lakes, sand, and gravel left behind by the receding glaciers, make the Bayfield Peninsula a great area to explore bikepacking.

If you go during the early summer, you will find plenty of raspberries, blueberries, and bilberries to pick along the route. Summer can be hot, even in the Northwoods, but it cools off next to Lake Superior. While the great lake can be cold, the beach in Cornucopia and Quarry Beach in Port Wing are shallow and stay warmer. It quickly gets warmer as you ride south from South Shore, and the small inland lakes along this route all have nice beaches where you can cool down, rinse off the trail dust, and get away from pesky black flies! View Route.

Wisconsin Waterfall Bikepacking Loop [382 miles]

This 382-mile loop takes you past nearly 30 waterfalls, including some larger and well-known falls, some smaller ones, and others that are only known to locals and are hard to find without a POI. The majority of the route is on gravel or sandy forest roads and the remaining miles are on mountain bike trails or Davement. Davement is a term my friends coined for a connector I found that helps avoid paved roads but might be too overgrown to actually pedal. These old logging roads and rough ATV/snowmobile trails might require you to hike-a-bike, but that’s part of the fun of bikepacking. Bring a paper map such as the Wisconsin Bike Fed’s state bike map or use the RWGPS app to help orient yourself and find alternate routes if you want to skip any of the sections that might be overgrown.


All the waterfalls are on the northern part of the loop, but the southern segments of the route are still great riding on a variety of gravel roads, two-track, and MTB trails with very nice campgrounds. In the dozens of times I have ridden segments of this loop, I have always found an empty campsite without advance reservations. If a campsite was full, I would just go find a dispersed spot in the nearby county or national forest. Those who like to plan can make reservations ahead of time. View Route.

Bike Shops
Where to Stay

Bike Shops

New Moon Ski & Bike

Located on HWY 63 on the north side of Hayward, in a beautiful  log construction building, New Moon is a well-stocked Specialized shop, with great mechanics, a large rental fleet and hosts regular group rides and runs the Hungry Bear Gravel race in the spring. Learn More.

Riverbrook Bike & Ski

Tim and Cindy’s shop is in a very cool former Carnegie Library building located right on the corner of Main Street and HWY 63 in downtown Hayward. This Trek dealer also has one of the best selections of outdoor clothing in the Northwoods.  Learn More.

Start Line Services

A small shop near the Birkie startline and new Once/Evenflow trails. Mike Choate is a nice guy and great mechanic/ski tech. I love that I get one-on-one service with Mike, and my bike comes back so clean! His wife Elizabeth Holland also works in the shop. Learn More.

Where to Stay

Home Base at Telemark Mountain Village

The newest trailside lodging, designed and built for visitors who bike and ski. Rooms sleep up to five people, have private baths, and inside storage for your silent sports equipment. Kitchen-esque and outside communal areas provide the perfect 'home base' for your next adventure. Learn More.

Lenroot Lodge

A very cool old school and former town hall converted into hotel rooms that is located on the Namekagon River, conveniently located just behind the Sawmill Saloon in Seeley. Check in and get your keys at the bar. Learn More.

ROAM Adventure Basecamp

ROAM Adventure Basecamp is a modern and imaginative trailside camping venue with Scandinavian inspired adventure cabins located near Seeley. Learn More.

Silent Sports Chalet

This two bedroom, dog-friendly Airbnb is run by Dave Schlabowske and his wife Elizabeth Schoone. Ski or bike out the door on their private trails, which connect to the CAMBA system, endless miles of gravel roads and the Seeley and Birkie ski trails. Dave can help with routes, gpx tracks and even has a bikepacking gear lending library. Learn More.


Startline Inn

Start Line Inn welcomes you to enjoy 4 Seasons in the Woods of lodging in their luxury cabin rental and multi-purpose studio cabin (a.k.a. “Loft in the Woods”) with Ski in/out and Bike in/out access to Birkie ski trail and CAMBA mountain bike trails. Learn More.

Where to Grab Food & Drink

The Cable Cafe

A small cafe with yummy scratch-made, diner-style food. A welcoming local hangout, you will not leave the Cable Cafe hungry. Learn More.

The Portage

The Portage has a very  limited, but excellent menu and serves up the fanciest craft cocktails in the area and hosts a fun trivia night and brings  in great bands. Their menu often has delicious themed specials, like German food for Octoberfest. Check their Facebook page for those specials and to see which bands are playing. Learn More.

The Rivers Eatery

This river-themed brick-fired pizza place, decorated with jerseys, bibs, bikes and skis has become the silent sports post ride refuel location in Cable. You will likely be enjoying your delicious meal and wide variety of craft beers on tap next to the person who just won the most recent bike or ski race. Learn More.

The Sawmill Saloon

The OG silent sports hangout in the area, for a long time, the Sawmill Saloon hosted every pre and post race party from the Chequamegon MTB Festival to the Fat Bike Birkie. The Sawmill serves up delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner, with great homemade pizzas, sandwiches, daily specials, classic fish fries on Friday and Prime Rib on Sunday. Located in an extremely eclectic building with an alpine/northwoods vibe, the Sawmill is a must-stop spot on any visit to the area. Learn More.

Tilly’s Pies

Amazing pies and other baked goods, made fresh by Trudi Rebsamen, who was one of the first female soigneurs in the pro peloton in Europe with the 7-Eleven, Radio Shack, and BMC teams. The shop is named after Steve Tilford, Trudi’s partner who died in a tragic accident. Learn More.

Velo Cafe

Delicious wraps, sandwiches, smoothies, teas, lemonades and barista coffee drinks. Open for breakfast and lunch with an ice cream shop next door. Velo Cafe even has some ride basics for sale in case you forgot lube, tubes, etc. Learn More.

Food & Drink
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