Over the last couple of seasons, I started to hear about a new trail system from some of my amigos that “have a cabin up nort”. “Up Nort is a Wisconsin colloquialism that describes the hundreds of thousands of wooded acres that make up the northern third of America’s Dairyland. The area of the state where felis concolour, wolves and the occasional black bear along with deer, elk, and grouse make their living. I finally tracked down all of the details on the Win Man Trail system and spent a couple of days up there recently.
The Win Man trails take their name from the two towns that sandwich the trail system, Winchester and Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin. The trailhead and chalet are just 4 miles up the road from Manitowish Waters.
The Trails are expertly groomed by Brad Kusz along with a staff of volunteers! Brad joined the WinMan staff as Property Manager this April. Brad is responsible for maintaining all trails at WinMan, as well as maintaining all grounds and facilities. Brad is also a regular user of WinMan’s mountain bike trails.
The trails at Win Man are fast and flowy with plenty of that Nort Woods Magic!
Clear signage and solid grooming make this trail system something that you should put on your winter trail ‘bucket list’.
During my visit, I stayed in the small hamlet of Manitowish Waters at the Pea Patch Motel & Saloon. It’s an old school economy motel with a Northwoods bar that’s attached. The kitchenette double queen room is ($71 per night) and could easily handle you and a couple of buddies. Manitowish Waters has everything that you would want for food and lodging. I ate at the Aroura Borealis Restaurant (very good) and mostly lived off of the bounty at Trig’s Village Market. There’s a bunch of other restaurants, a liquor store and a big fiberglass statue of a game fish in town.
The Pea Patch is right on the snowmobile trail and adjacent to the dam. I really liked staying in Manitowish Waters. You could walk, sled or fat-bike to a variety of food and beverage options and the Win Man Trailhead is only 4 miles away. There is another place to stay nearby that’s a bit more upscale called the Lodge at Manitowish Waters at $150-240 per night.
Let’s load up the bikes and ride Win Man again as soon as possible. I gotta get a damn picture of the giant fish (at the dam) up there…and ride bikes on sweet flowy groomed purpose-built singletrack. The purpose is fun. – Win Man!
For more information about the Win Man Trails visit – https://www.winmantrails.com/
May have to get another Field Trip in before the days get too long!!
WinMan is probably my favorite biking spot in Wisconsin. It’s fantastic in summer as well. The clear maps and signage mean you pretty much can’t get lost, and can plan out laps in advance. Good mix of beginner, intermediate, and some jump features. Everything has a bypass for when bravery runs low!
There is also the very excellent Manitowish Waters Paved Bike Trail, which runs from Boulder, to Manitowish Waters, and even a section up to WinMan (opening this summer). I recommend staying in Big Lake Campground and biking everywhere you need to go.