Biking & Hiking Trails
St. Germain has a number of incredible trails for heart healthy fun—from bicycling and hiking to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The woodland landscape and countless lakes make the scenery unbelievable, and the abundance of wilderness makes it easy to get away from civilization. Some of the best hiking trails in the Northwoods are in St. Germain. Touring bicyclists will find miles of quiet roads that wind through pristine forests and around beautiful lakes. Mountain bicyclists will find some of the best mountain biking trails in the Northwoods.
Order a Heart of the Vilas County Bike Trail Map!
Click here for an order form (PDF).
NEW ~ Maps showing Phase II trail route now available!
Bring in your old Heart of Vilas County Bike Trail Map & we'll exchange it for the new Phase II trail map-FREE!
Awassa Preserve and Hiking Trail: This is an easy/beginner trail offering a system of level, shaded trails that meander through stands of mature pines, oaks, maples, and a rich understory of balsam fir. Three hiking loops of varied length provide for pleasurable walking. A ½ mile interpretive nature trail is wheelchair accessible. This trail is both dog and bicycle friendly. From St. Germain, go west on Highway 70 approximately ½ mile (just past the school entrance). Parking area is on the north side of the highway.
Fern Ridge Trail: This hiking trail features excellent scenery with lots of rolling hills and a good possibility to see rare woodland plants. It's a great place to watch the forest come to life in the spring or to snowshoe in the winter. The trail is a ¾ mile loop. Located 2 ½ miles north of St. Germain on Highway 155.
Shannon Lake Trail: Mountain biking, hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on an incredibly scenic trail with loops ranging from 2.3 miles to 7 miles, all rated for intermediate skiers. The trails are ungroomed. The lake loop is especially beautiful and offers several benches for resting and viewing wildlife. Located 2 ½ miles northeast of St. Germain, off Highway 155 on Found Lake Road.
Northern Highland–American Legion State Forest: The Northern Highland–American Legion State Forest surrounds St. Germain and provides hikers, bicyclists, snowshoe enthusiasts and cross-country skiers with many miles of secluded woodland trails.
Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest Trails
Whatever mode of transportation you choose, you'll find a trail in St. Germain—In the Center of It All.
The St. Germain Bike Trail Committee is headed Committee Chairman Anne Small. Below you will find a brief description and map of our trail as it stands to date. Also outlined is how you can help support our new trail going forward!
The St. Germain Bike and Hike Trail: This 12 mile, family friendly, paved trail runs throughout St. Germain, connecting bicyclists, hikers and birdwatchers with 27 miles of paved Vilas County trails. It’s one of the most beautiful paved trail systems in the Midwest and the gentle terrain makes for leisurely walking and pedaling. Ample free parking is available at St. Germain’s Town Park.
The St. Germain Bike and Hike Trail was created to link St. Germain to the trail in the nearby town of Sayner. The trail dovetails into Vilas County’s master plan to make a continuous loop of trails through the entire county. The trail committee was careful to minimize any impact on the area’s top-notch snowmobile trails. The finished trail is a result of successful cooperation between a number of organizations; including the Department of Transportation, Wisconsin Valley Improvement Corporation, Northland Pines School District, Town Board of St. Germain, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Bo-Boen Snowmobile Club, and St. Germain Area Chamber of Commerce, Inc.
This 12 mile paved bicycle trail can be accessed at the Bike & Hike Park behind the St. Germain Chamber of Commerce (Highways 70 & 155). From that point the trail leads west 8 miles along Highway 70 to County Highway C, and north along County Highway C to Plum Creek Avenue. A new 4 mile section of trail extends east from the Bike & Hike Park through the downtown area and then traverses a scenic section of Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest Land to a parking lot across from South Bay Road and further west to a parking area on Old Highway 70.
The trail is designed with three things in mind: 1) Improve Safety for non motorized transportation; 2) Offer local residents another recreational benefit to this town; and 3) Offer vacationers that visit this area another reason to enjoy this area.
Partnering for the future ...
The Bike and Hike Trail committee is made up of avid snowmobilers. They recognize that every effort must be made with the local snowmobile clubs to interface the new trail with minimal impact to the snowmobile trails. Some efforts include, but are not limited to, keeping the two trail systems separate, not building the new trail on an existing snowmobile trail, using special materials at trail crossings, minimizing tree removal to keep snow cover shaded near the snowmobile trails, keeping the new trail at grade with the existing trails for groomers, and not altering existing grades of the snowmobile trail. Trail crossing locations are still being looked at in an effort to minimize the number of contact points.
The numerous entities had a say in the location of the new trail, and the trail plan may move locations to improve safety, and minimize snowmobile trail contact prior to bid letting. These entities include the Department of Transportation, Wisconsin Valley Improvement Corporation, Northland Pines School District, Town Board of St. Germain, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Bo-Boen Snowmobile Club.
Help our effort!
Your donations are needed. 50% of the cost of Phase I was paid for by grant funding. Roughly 25% of the cost was paid for out of room tax. The remaining 25% was paid for out of donations from good people like your self, and local civic groups. Local civic groups pledged over $40,000.00 to date. The Town Treasurer set up a special town fund to handle donations for construction and maintenance.
Your donations will be used primarily to construct or maintain the trail. A small amount, less than 3%, may be used to pay for fund raising costs such as flyers or web site material. But 92% of donations will be used for construction, and 5% will be held in a town fund for future maintenance. Donations should be made payable to Town of St. Germain Bike and Hike Trail. You can mail these donations to: St. Germain Town Treasurer, PO Box 117, St. Germain, WI 54558.
Order a Heart of the Vilas County Bike Trail Map! Click here for an order form (PDF). The map shows the connecting trail system between St. Germain and the towns of Sayner-Star Lake and Boulder Junction. NEW ~ Maps showing Phase II trail route now available! Bring in your old Heart of Vilas County Bike Trail Map & we'll exchange it for the new Phase II trail map-FREE!
- Backpacking in the Wisconsin State Park System - Information & links.
- Bicycle Trails - Wisconsin State Park System information & links.
- Hiking in the Wisconsin State Park System - Information & links.
- EEK! Environmental Education for Kids - Electronic magazine for kids. Learn about the great outdoors!
- Great Headwaters Trails (GHT) - Non-profit looking to connect Eagle River to St. Germain, Phelps, Conover & Land o' Lakes thru bike trails.
- Oneida County Hiking & Biking Trails (PDF) - Map for hike/bike/ski trails, canoeing routes & birding locations. Click here for detailed Oneida County trail maps.
- Things to See & Do in Vilas County (PDF) - Fun spots to visit in Vilas County.
- Trail Etiquette & Safety - Department of Natural Resources online publication.
- Vilas Area Silent Sports Association - Organization spearheading the project to connect Vilas County's towns thru bike trails.