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Snowmobile adventures in Vilas County


  • Article
  • Attractions
  • Events
  • Museums
  • Snowmobiling
  • Trails
  • Winter

The snowmobile was invented in Vilas County, so there's naturally a lot to see and do for riders in the Northwoods. Here's a closer look.

There's a snowmobile trail on the ice of Buckatabon Lake in Conover.

Vilas County is the center of the snowmobile world—the snowmobile was invented here, and the World Championship Snowmobile Derby in Eagle River helped put this Northwoods county on the map. There are more than 700 miles of northern Wisconsin’s finest snowmobile trails to explore, so the riding options are nearly limitless.

Here’s a bit of what you can explore on the trails.

Before you take to the trails, get the free Map It Vilas County trails app to plan and navigate your snowmobile adventure! The app includes snowmobile trails throughout Vilas County’s 12 communities.

Take a moment to honor snowmobiling history with a ride through Sayner-Star Lake. The snowmobile was invented here by Carl Eliason, who constructed a “motor toboggan” in 1924. The sled was small and powered by a 2.5-horsepower outboard boat motor, but it helped launch a worldwide recreational activity.

Ride east to Conover and Phelps and you’ll find miles of beautiful trails that link charming trailside restaurants and taverns. Some of the trails will take you into the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.

Heading north to the Land O’ Lakes area, you’ll find Lac Vieux Desert, a 4,260-acre lake that is the headwaters of the Wisconsin River. The lake straddles the border of Wisconsin and Michigan.

In the Boulder Junction area, you’ll find routes that will take you past picturesque frozen lakes like White Sand Lake and Boulder Lake. To the north in Presque Isle and Winchester, you’ll find beautiful forested trails that connect to U.P. trails and Michigan communities to the north like Marenisco.

In western Vilas County, the trails around the Minocqua area, Lac du Flambeau and Manitowish Waters offer some scenic bridges and good places to warm up. In St. Germain, the International Snowmobile Racing Hall of Fame & Museum has the world’s largest collection of historic snowmobiles.

A snowmobile trip in Vilas County isn’t complete without a visit to Eagle River, the “Snowmobile Capital of the World.” Here, you’ll find the World Snowmobile Headquarters and the track that hosts the derby each winter.

Find out more about snowmobiling in Vilas County.