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Midwest Bikepacking Summit: Routes & Details

The Midwest Bikepacking Summit is coming coming up Sept 7-9, 2023 in Northern Wisconsin. The inaugural event is a long weekend full of biking, camping, and community. Check out the details and route highlights here and then get registered to join the Midwest Bikepacking Summit.

To learn more and get registered, visit the Midwest Bikepacking Summit.

What is the Midwest Bikepacking Summit?

Join experienced to first-time bikepackers for a weekend of fun in northern Wisconsin. From group rides, lakeside camping, expo, speakers, and of course bikepacking all are sure to meet a riding buddy, learn something, and immerse themselves in the Northwoods.

Each registration includes registration for the group campsites (Thursday and Friday). They encourage everyone and anyone to attend the expo which will include speakers and vendors and attend the free group rides. The Jack Lake group campground has access to Jack Lake mountain bike system (trail donations encouraged), access to flush bathrooms, onsite showers (coin-operated), lake access.

Schedule of Events

Thursday, September 7

3 PM Jack Lake group campsite setup open

5 PM group rides in Bogus Swamp area

Friday, September 8

10 AM - 12 PM EXPO (vendor register here)

12 PM Jack Lake singletrack group ride

2 PM summit with food trucks and beer (available for purchase) to follow

Saturday, September 9

8 AM group roll out - rides are completed at your own pace so you must plan your own campsites and food stops

12 PM check out deadline for Jack Lake group campsite

Route Options

Full Tour de Nicolet: 365 Miles / 12,600 ft LINK

SoNic 1.2 Long Route: 225 Miles / 8,200 ft LINK

Aurora Vistas Short Route Overnighter: 73 miles / 2,400 ft. LINK

*All riders have access to the Perch Lake group campsite on Saturday night as part of this route; however you are responsible for your own food stops.

Route Highlights

Classic northwoods towns featuring quintessential bars and supper clubs that scream Wisconsin. Grab an Old Fashioned and fish fry on a Friday night or prime rib on Saturday.

The fun and flowy hills of Augustyn Springs are a blast to ride and feature some unique points of interest most locals don’t even know about such as HillBilly Hilton, an underground bunker you won’t soon forget and Crotch Vegas, a fantastic cache of soda and candy in the middle of nowhere.

White Lake railroad museum is a restored depot and inside the depot you will find artifacts and displays showcasing White Lake’s rich railroad, farming, logging and lumber industry.

Twelve miles of old school single track on three different organizations' trail systems, Nicolet Roche, Goodman park, and Otter springs. The route uses the most direct line through so adding more singletrack to your adventure is an option. Additionally there is 12 miles of singletrack, Jack Lake, at the starting location of the route.

The 2019 derecho which impacted 130,000 acres of the National Forest. Efforts to clean up are still ongoing but you will notice the aftermath particularly starting at Humble Hill and the five miles after. The land is now clear of most trees as far as you can see, which makes unique vantage points throughout the steep rolling hills riddled with baby-head rocks.

Mountain Firetower is a unique opportunity to climb an historic fire tower and view the landscape in the cab 100 feet in the air just as the firespotters did years ago. There are 14 fire towers still remaining in the national forest, this being the only one where the public is welcome to climb.

Butler Rock viewpoint as well as the infamous sand roads around Butler Rock

The old fish hatchery and waterfall

Thunder Mountain State Natural Area with its amazing viewpoint up top of its bedrock outcrops. The red oak and white oak trees hold their color late in the fall making this a fantastic spot to see fall colors late in the year.

Big Rock overlook. Very few people know about this place and fewer have taken the hike back there but it offers amazing views.

Strong Falls

Artesian well at Chipmunk Rapids

Wisconsin's highest cul-d-sac

The logging museum in Wabeno along with all the other historical buildings including a library which still operates. Wabeno has a proud history in the logging industry

The abundance of wildlife. I’ve seen up to four bears in a single day. In addition to bears, some of the other animals I frequently see are whitetail deer, badgers, bobcats, wolves, and porcupines. Of the many bird species in the area the loon is the most unique with its calls in the mornings and evenings. There are two loons on each lake and you will undoubtedly hear these calls each evening especially if you camp on a lake. The loons are a special part of each trip.

Must Know

Park for free at Jack Lake. This is a safe place to park. The campground host lives on the property adjacent to the parking. You may park here for up to seven days as you complete your route. Everyone must be packed up from the Jack Lake group campsite by noon on Saturday, Sept 9

75% gravel with 12 miles of singletrack and rugged two track sections not to be taken lightly. Add more singletrack at each of the three trail systems if that's your thing.

Gravel bike with 44’s are a fine choice but if you have 2.5’s or bigger it will decrease hike-a-bike in the sand sections

There are a few sections of the route that have a good distance between nice dispersed camping POI’s so plan mileage carefully unless you don’t mind the full-on dispersed experience.

These forest roads are actively logged. Expect logging at some point when doing the route and give the loggers the right of way and plenty of space.

If you want to come up the day before, camp at Jack Lake but make reservations early as this is a popular campground. Another option is to camp at High Lake dispersed sites a couple miles south on the Jack Lake Firelane. These sites are generally open with few people using them even on a weekend. Hotel options in Antigo 20 minutes from Jack Lake, or if flying in, Wausau, which is close to Central Wisconsin Airport, has an abundance of hotels and dining options.

Bears, wolves, and chipmunks. Black bears are pretty common in this area, chances are pretty good that you will see one. They are afraid of humans and will run as soon as they see you. Hopefully you get a chance to see one. Just hang your food at night. Wolves are also common but less likely to see. Last year I saw a white wolf on this route, which was pretty special. Chipmunks are on this list because special care needs to be taken with your food so that they don’t chew a hole in your bags when at camp.




Plan a New Gravel Adventure

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