Central and Northern Wisconsin is loaded with super great and untapped areas to bikepack. Over time, Shane Hitz has explored many areas of this region by bike and put together numerous routes that pass through many areas that can only be explored by bike. They go through some of his favorite small towns with great places to eat and fantastic camping opportunities.
Contributed by: Shane Hitz
The 2021 Tour de Nicolet has become a great route that has spawned shorter routes such as the SoNic route and the Pickerel Buck15. The route features very remote low traffic gravel roads along with numerous lesser known logging roads and double track along with a tough section of sand roads. Two singletrack sections are also highlighted, Nicolet Roche and Otter Springs, both very cool old school singletrack that are expertly maintained by dedicated volunteers as well as Jack lake single track, the starting location of the route.
Distance: 333.6 miles Elevation: 11,472 feet
The Tour de Nicolet bikepacking route winds through the national and county forests and alongside many rivers and streams and past many lakes. These bodies of water provide nice places to cool down and clean up after a dusty day in the saddle as well as being able to provide many opportunities to filter water so you don’t have to carry as much with you.
Highlights on the route include Hill Billy Hilton, Crotch Vegas, Butler Rock, artesian well, MacArthur Pine, and the Wabeno museum of logging history. Numerous bars and restaurants along with a couple of gas stations make this route easy to do with bringing minimal food along. A must stop for food is Wabee Lodge and Roadhouse 139 and a must stop bar is Johnnies Resort.
A plethora of camping opportunities throughout the route including some prime seldom used dispersed sites on rivers and lakes with great swimming holes as well as National Forest campgrounds. The best overnight place to park is Jack Lake but many other locations such as bars and gas stations would let you if you call and ask first.
I did this route in a manageable five days. I would rate the route as a 3 out of 10 with the only really difficult section being miles 67 through 84 which is soft sand roads used primarily by ATV and 4X4 trucks.
Shane Hitz is an adventure cyclist, route designer, and race director. You can read more about his adventures on his website. He is also the race director for the IRONBULL Red Granite Grinder, a gravel bike race in the Wausau, Wisconsin area.
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.