The Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail

Silver dude

Xplorer
The Trans Wisconsin Adventure trail has been on my bucket list for many years. The Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail was originally designed for dual sport and adventure bikes. The route is 600-630 miles long and consists of paved roads, gravel roads and dirt / sand forest roads. The route starts on the Wisconsin / Illinois border just north of Galena Illinois and ends at Lake Superior near the town of Cornucopia. It is approximately 50% pavement, 40% gravel roads and 10% dirt/sand forest roads.

Every time I planned for the trip something would come up that would stop me for going. Finally I received a few extra days off work stacked on my weekend off. I kept quiet about my plans in the hope that nothing would ruin the plans. Loaded the truck with camping gear, toys and went for it. Not really knowing what to expect as there is so little published about this trail on the truck adventure side.

Coming from Rockford, IL I added the Stateline Rd. Route to the start of the Trans Wis Adv Trail. It's a track that was created for those coming from the north end of Illinois. Much like the Trans Wis Adv Trail it's based around gravel and rural areas. I added the old Eppleyanna Rd bridge to the route as I have a love for old bridges.


The Eppleyanna Rd bridge built in 1896 creaked and groaned as I motored on. I don't imagine the bridge being around much longer. It's due for replacement or deconstruction.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6k0lBuSAwJk&feature=youtu.be

Stateline Rd.


Soon crossing the Roberts Road Bridge built in 1901.




The Stateline rd eventually dropped me off into the town of Warren, IL on the Old Stage Coach trail Where I filled up with fuel.


Eventually I connected to the Trans Wisconsin Adventure trail and began my long journey north.


Soon I was skirting the Mississippi River gazing at it's incredible width.


I came across this odd structure.


Eventually winding to one of the more famous roads on the trail. Good-Nuf Hollow.


The road is incredibly green scenic and has two very well maintained water crossings.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLndf4etL8Y&feature=youtu.be

Further down the road I came across these cliff formations that over hang the road. These are like trademarks of the TWAT trail every one that has ever been on this trail likely has a picture against this wall.



Eventually I made it to Wild Cat Mountain State park where I would be camping the night. They had these garden carts where you load your stuff up and cart it to private campsites up in the woods.


This was my very first time Solo camping I didn't really know what to expect. However, I found it to be more relaxing than usual. With lighter weight basic as it gets gear and zero peer complaints stuff went up much faster than usual.


The fire seemed lonely at first but after popping in my headphones and tuning on a calm acoustic blues channel, all the anxiety I had dissipated with my can of Surly beer. Everything seemed right, mood was up life was good.
 
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sravan

New member
Looks like you had fun Trans Wisconsin trail, great pics..i am planning to drive this trail for this long weekend in my new 4Runner...howz the sand ,deep? also any deep mud holes?

Heard a bunch of adv bikers also planning for this weekend.
 

Silver dude

Xplorer
Day 2
I awoke to sun beaming into the tent and loud birds saying whip-poor-will. It was good though after such a relaxing night I was up excited for what the rest of the trail might bring. The rest of the trip was all freestyling no set plans or restrictions.



I went for a morning hike to get the blood flowing. I stuck to basic cold breakfast bars to avoid cooking it was only partially satisfying so I had to get moving. I hiked over to the overlook to see the Kickapoo river, a river I had planned to kayak for many years.


It had quite the effect on me finally pursuing locations I had only read and dreamed so much about. Quite rewarding to be on trail in the moment.


I packed up the gear very quickly back into the Xterra again no complaints and easy to breakdown basic backpacking gear made it go fast.


I called a local canoe outfitter Kickapoo Wild Adventures. I had selected them based on the extremely low prices and the slightly less touristy business style I'm all for the under dog the small business man. Others had expansive buildings and properties this guy had a older house on the river which he probably lived in. After giving him $25 he gave me a kayak put it in the river and said to call when you are tired of paddling. Fantastic.





The river was pretty shallow and required lots of attention to not run aground. Very unique scenery.

I paddled down river for 4 hours.


The outfitter showed up in 10mins and hauled me back. Once back at the business he said if I needed fire wood to take all that you need. So I loaded the Xterra with free wood for this nights camp. Kayaking wound up being the best $25 spent on the trip.


https://youtu.be/EKj4ArTCtV4

Back in the Xterra I reconnected with the trail it took me through the Town of Sparta.


It then connected with some narrower gravel roads that seemed to swing through the country side.




I began my approach on the Black river forest. This area was very rural I drove a few hours passing large empty highways through large spruce forests.


The road switched to a B level 40% or Sand road. I never had any problems with traction in 2wd. Was a bit like desert racing dodging ruts and holes as I sped along. The curves were fun and loose. It was fun in that it required increased attentiveness while driving.


The sand was never very deep or challenging.


I took a few dead end routes off the track as these were lesser traveled and slightly more challenging.


I found some ruts left by some other vehicle while on route.


I setup camp at Levis Trow Mounds a popular mountain biking park. The shelter you see in the photo burned to the ground 2 days after my visit.


I sat at the campsite drinking some beer local to the area. Had a great campsite neighbor that had the same kayaking biking camping interests I had.


Was a great night of sitting around the fire swapping adventure stories.
 
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Silver dude

Xplorer
Looks like you had fun Trans Wisconsin trail, great pics..i am planning to drive this trail for this long weekend in my new 4Runner...howz the sand ,deep? also any deep mud holes?

Heard a bunch of adv bikers also planning for this weekend.
Very mild I did the entire route in 2wd with worn rear tires. Sand was never very deep but was occasionally loose and fun. No mud holes on route at all unfortunately. There was a few puddles of water on route after a thunderstorm rolled in. But, again nothing to make me climb out and lock the hubs. It's all logging roads. There were a few dead ends that looked very fun but I wasn't sure of the legality of running such roads.

I saw a group of 3 bikes on route after traversing the entire route. I think because they are on a different path that only occasionally crosses the overland route they were not often seen.


Do you have a gps file on that State Line rd route?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/stateline-road-wi-il-to-the-twat.1005948/

If you want to add the Eppleyanna Road Bridge here is a link to the cords.
http://bridgehunter.com/il/stephenson/eppleyanna-road/
 

sravan

New member
Very mild I did the entire route in 2wd with worn rear tires. Sand was never very deep but was occasionally loose and fun. No mud holes on route at all unfortunately. There was a few puddles of water on route after a thunderstorm rolled in. But, again nothing to make me climb out and lock the hubs. It's all logging roads. There were a few dead ends that looked very fun but I wasn't sure of the legality of running such roads.

I saw a group of 3 bikes on route after traversing the entire route. I think because they are on a different path that only occasionally crosses the overland route they were not often seen.
sounds good..thanks..there is some more narrow tracks for ATV's and bikes ..
 

Finlay

Triarius
Great report!! Glad to see you finally did it!

It's a fun ride, and your pics are great! Good work!
 

HamiltonEOD

New member
url]http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/stateline-road-wi-il-to-the-twat.1005948/[/url]


Thank you, I'll be running this soon. I actually grew up near that bridge, never thought twice about its historical value. It's great to hear another perspective on it.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Silver dude

Xplorer
Day 3
I woke up at the trail head ready to ride. After paying the trail fee, just in time the DNR guy actually helped me break a $20. I hit the trail and found some of the most incredible views of the entire trip. It caught me off guard as I never heard any mention of Lewis trow having such a high elevation above the surrounding area. You could hike here for free if biking isn't your thing. Clarence I believe the trail was called.


The riding was absolutely exceptional. It was as rocky as Colorado, nice single track like Michigan, with incredible bridges and wood features. Some of the best riding in the midwest.




The road must continue I loaded back up and headed out.


Beautiful forests surrounding the entire trail.


Occasional patch areas of clear cut forest where wood was harvested.


On one road it went to a single lane road through the forest a real delight to be in the woods that deep.


I took exit from the track and drove to Chippewa falls to Leinenkugel's. enjoyed a Brewery tour.




Back on the track towards the national forest, There was lots of Amish in this area. I remember seeing a horse drawn wagon pull out. With a small child chasing the wagon on a small bicycle. A girl maybe 6 years old in a gray handmade gown with some of the most impressively braided pigtails I've ever seen. She looked at me like I looked at her, with a face full of wonder. The Cultures and the ruralness of the area is what really set this area home. It redefined the way I think or feel about America. It's not all headlines and modern urban living. I think everyone needs to experience this true rooted rural America.


I arrived at Big Falls County Park. No one was anywhere to be seen. While walking down to the water to frame this shot I gazed in my peripheral vision past the camera and saw something moving from the creek. When I looked at it was a large black/ brownish wolf on the other side of the creek. Once he saw me approach the water he turned and ran. I wasn't able to snap a picture as he moved so fast and I was in amazement from seeing my first wild wolf.


I decided to drive though the forest at night with my Hella 500's lighting the way. This turned out to be a excellent idea as I spotted several animals on the move at this hour. I saw one large black bear jog across the road. Soon another smaller Black bear sprinted across then climbed about 5ft up a tree gazing at me at I drove past. I saw so many white tailed deer cross I lost count after 10. The birds were very loud the flocks must have been massive.



After reports of a thunderstorm and needing a shower I grabbed a hotel for the night.
 
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Silver dude

Xplorer
Day 4 Final day

I awoke refreshed with one of the best sleeps of the trip. The hotel had some really good Apple Cider donuts for breakfast. A bad thunderstorm had rolled in overnight and moistened everything up.


After topping off the tank I made my way back to the track.


The road started quite wide but I crossed paths with a large road grader pushing a berm of mud smoothing the road.


The amount of green brilliance in this forest was visually stunning. I couldn't help but gaze out the side windows inhaling the fresh scented air.


As the trip progressed it seemed it first started in the plains, moved in with a deciduous forest then went to a almost completely Spruce forest but here at the top it was everything wooded. I even started to notice my favorite paper bark Birch trees.


I crossed a very expansive sturdy wooden bridge.






Soon the road narrowed so much the forest was rubbing on the sides of the truck.




At this point it really started to feel like I was on a offroading adventure as the trail wasn't very well traveled. A few boulders and puddles to bounce through.




The two track eventually connected to one of the major highways. There seemed to be several small lakes just like this one about every 2 miles. Looked like many great places to camp.


I noticed a waterfall was waypointed on the track a little ways off the route. So I went for it and hiked down this trail to get to it. The Mosquitos were absolutely nuts. I had changed to jeans and put a hooded rain coat on just to survive. But, it was chaos keeping them off my bare hands. I took in a deep breath and swallowed like 2 of the them. Even with my hands stuffed in my pockets they found a way in and got to feast on my hands.


Waterfall was extremely stunning and far larger then what I might have first thought. Hard to put it into scale with a photo.


Soon I was back on route headed to a diner for lunch.


The Delta Diner was unlike any other diner I've ever been to.


It was a fully restored original 1940 Silk City Diner from New york. It was modernized to meet today's building codes. The owner stood at the door way and greeted me you could tell he was just gleaming with happiness eager to meet people as they came of the trail. The lady in red would sit at your table and give a verbal menu and explain the food board for the day. She was superb the whole experience was like entering the scene on a movie set.


The food, the food was CRAZY good! Oh man best Omelet ever! Sweet peppers and stuffed with large German sausage slices, with a tangy dill sauce. It blew me away I had first expected the experience to be about the building and not so much the food. It was so good I even ordered some strawberry rhubarb pie before hitting the road and thought about coming back later.




Soon I was back on the trail. I seemed to have run into a section the woods that had burned down. The sand roads were a ton of fun through here.
 

Silver dude

Xplorer
I kept pushing north.


Eventually I crested a large hill and could see the end in sight, Lake Superior.


I rode through Cornucopia and out to the water.


This is where it ended for me border to border in 4 days.


However, I had to see the point of ending. So I drove the end of the track. It wound up being a dead end street up against the shore near the Indian reservation. I'm assuming the motorcycles ride down the hiking path and on to the beach for photos.


On the way out I ran across some American Indian children getting off a school bus. Their stoic Indian faces burned into my mind. I took the highway back home through Bayfield. Made it from Superior to Illinois in 5.5 hours. Hardly the same excitement and embellishment of views I received on the way up.


Trip was amazing. Very liberating and I feel changed as a result of the trip ready for the next adventure.


Thanks for reading my post.
 
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