Vilas County is home to a growing network of ATV and UTV trails that allow riders to explore the vast forests of northern Wisconsin. Looking for a place to ride? Here’s a look at some routes to try.
Vilas County has recently developed a series of ATV and UTV routes in the communities of Conover, Phelps, Land O’ Lakes, Presque Isle, St. Germain and Eagle River. These routes, open from early May to the end of October, connect to other area trails and routes to the east and to the north. The routes are clearly marked, so you’ll have no trouble following the mix of asphalt roads, gravel roads, and dirt routes. There are several businesses in Vilas County that rent ATVs and UTVs. For beginning ATVers and UTVers, it’s safety first: ATV riders 12 years and older and UTV riders 16 and older who were born on or after Jan. 1, 1988, must complete an ATV/UTV safety certification course. Find more information here.
ATVers and UTVers can find fun routes in eastern Vilas County connecting the communities of Eagle River, Conover, Phelps and Land O’ Lakes. The trails open in May—depending on weather conditions—and stay open until the end of October, since many also operate as snowmobile trails. Remember, your ATV or UTV needs to be registered (if you rent from local businesses, they’ll they’ll have already done this for you), and you’ll need an additional trail pass if you’re traveling into the Upper Peninsula (available at many businesses on the Wisconsin-Michigan border). If you’re using Eagle River as your home base, a good half-hour ride takes you parallel to Hwy. 45 and crosses the Wisconsin River to the west before heading north along dirt routes to Conover. Heading from Conover to Phelps takes another 20 minutes, and from there you can access ATV/UTV trails to the east in Forest County.
Ready for a longer ride on your ATV or UTV? A longer, more challenging route takes riders northwest from Phelps on County Hwy. E to a dirt path on Blong Rd. and Fire Lane Rd. before looping back south and east to Conover on Cty. Hwy. K. Cut back up to Blong Rd. to continue your trip back to Phelps. Follow the handy signage along any route, and you’re sure to have a great time wheeling through Vilas County. As a reminder, trails are generally open from early May to the end of October (weather permitting).