The Coon Fork Overnighter was designed to be a Northwoods treat for brand new bikepackers looking for their first adventure as well as seasoned adventure cyclists needing a snappy gravel S240.
Created By: Josh Rizzo
The Coon Fork Overnighter winds through tangled waterways and just rolls its way through lively forests. This route straddles the Eau Claire County and Clark County Forests which both allow dispersed camping with permits. With ample options for wild camping spots among the mixed vegetation, along waterways, or at one of several established campgrounds, you can stay somewhere new on every trip.
The route is almost 90% unpaved and includes several different types of wooded gravel roads, snakey ATV routes, and short paved sections through Wisconsin farm country. Having numerous options for camping, parking, and stopping for food or drinks, it can easily be customized for longer or shorter route versions.
After (or during) a day of great riding, sometimes the best parts are what happen off the bike. My recommendations? Grab a drink and sit on the deck at Boondock’s Bar & Grill, go swimming at Hamilton Falls or Rock Dam, or grab some bomb cheese curds with an ice cream cone chaser at Vojtik’s Stockyard.
Route Difficulty: This route was intended to be accessible to riders new to bikepacking. The mileage is reasonable, there are no technical sections, and the total elevation isn’t too high. Most of the surrounding area is gravel roads which means it can be lengthened or shortened and still mostly avoid pavement. There are several sandy sections where you might have to walk, but they aren’t very long.
If You Go, Here's What You Need to Know:
1. Hamilton Falls is right on the ATV route and is a great place to dip your feet.
2. Coon Fork has nice private campsites, hiking trails, and twin beaches.
3. Boondock’s Bar & Grill is the authentic Wisconsin country bar. Number of beers on tap? Zero. Number of locals who love Boondocks’ burgers and Busch Light? All of them.
4. Whitetail deer are everywhere and are especially active right before dark.
5. The dam at Rock Dam is beautiful for a swim or lunch stop.
6. Cheese curds and ice cream are a must have at Vojtik’s Stockyard
7. Wedges Creek for camping and pizza is a hidden gem. You'll have to build-your-own-detour to add this to your route and you'll be glad you did.
1. When to ride: May - early October. Go early or late if you want to avoid mosquitoes. Fall colors are in late Sept-Oct. Wisconsin’s 9-day deer gun hunting season begins the Saturday before Thanksgiving. You may want to avoid the area during that period or wear blaze orange.
2. Prepare for bugs. In the summer, you’ll definitely experience mosquitoes and ticks but in the cooler months, they’ll leave you alone.
3. There are several parking options around this route. We usually start and end at Coon Fork County Park Campground where there are full amenities and secure parking. Overnight parking is $5 there.
4. This route can realistically be ridden on any bike. No suspension is needed. There are some sandy sections where you may have to push your bike for a little bit but they aren’t very long.
5. Beware of hunting season. Most of this route is in and around County Forests that fill up with deer hunters during the fall. Be sure to take note of any active hunting seasons as it would be a good idea to avoid dispersed camping during gun hunting season.
There are several campgrounds right on the route.
For dispersed camping in the Eau Claire County forest, get a permit HERE
For Clark County Forest dispersed camping, get a permit HERE
Several options to camp on or near the water if you choose dispersed camping.
For something extra special and off the beaten path, I recommend checking out Wedges Creek. You'll have to crank a few extra miles, but the scenery (and wood fired pizza on Saturdays in the summer) is well worth it.
Food & Water
Plenty of river and creek crossings. There is water all over the place for filtering and there are also several campgrounds on the route.
Several country bars. For food, beverages, or refilling water bottles you’ll find a handful of bars/restaurants on the route.
Vojtik’s Stockyard Foods is a great food stop in the middle of nowhere. They have some light groceries, hot food, and an ice cream cone bar.
1. To shorten this route, the two best options are to either cut off the northwest loop or just stay on Camp Globe Road when heading west out of Rock Dam then take H and Goat Ranch Rd back to Coon Fork County Park.
2. Watch out for ATVs. This route includes several ATV routes in both Eau Claire and Clark County. Bicycles can legally be ridden on 100% of the route but you’ll want to look out for speeding ATVs around tight corners.
Coon Fork Overnighter Bikepacking Route Map:
Josh Rizzo is the founder of The Nxrth. He loves bike adventures with his family and friends and knows that it's not about the destination. Heck it's not even about the journey. It's about the snacks that get you from point A to point B.
Disclaimer: If you choose to ride this route, you do so at your own risk. You are 100% responsible for being prepared for all conditions and making sure that biking these routes is legal. Before riding, check local weather, road conditions, closures, and property ownership. Obey all traffic laws and follow land use restrictions. Do not ride these routes without proper safety equipment and navigational tools. The accuracy of these routes cannot be guaranteed neither can we guarantee that these routes are on public property. TheNxrth.com and its contributors are in no way liable for the personal injury or damage to property that may result from cycling this route or any other routes on this website.