Northwest Wisconsin Nordic Trails
Porcupine Lake Wilderness
Trail Options: Out and back from any of several access points, one way from west to east or east to west, or for the more adventuresome there are numerous cross country access points for bushwhacking
The Porcupine Wilderness is a 4,443 acre Federally designated Wilderness Area. The North Country National Scenic Trail traverses the area from east to west. Hiking the Porcupine Wilderness Area can be accomplished in several ways: out and back from any of several access points, one way from west to east or east to west, or for the more adventuresome there are numerous cross country access points for bushwhacking. It will be necessary to spot a car or arrange a pick-up if you choose to hike point-to-point. The North Country Trail is marked with occasional white or blue blazes on trees. The total distance is 6.9 miles from Hwy D on the east to Lake Owen Drive on the west. The terrain on the east half of this segment is moderately rolling with a couple of beaver dams to negotiate. The western half of this segment is decidedly more hilly. Along the way you will pass Porcupine Lake and Eighteen mile Creek Springs.
Shorter hikes are possible by starting from one of the two parking areas and access points on Porcupine Lake Road (FR 213). This road may not always be plowed. Another short hike is into Porcupine Lake. If possible, drive east on FR 213 for about 2 miles to a small parking area. Hike about 1/2 mile into the lake where you also intersect the North Country Trail.
Click Map to enlarge
|From Cable take Cty. Hwy. M two miles east to Lake Owen Drive. Turn left (north) on Lake Owen Drive and continue 11 miles to Porcupine Lake Road (FR 213). A spur off the North Country Trail meets Lake Owen Drive about .25 mile south of Porcupine Lake Road. From Cable take Cty Hwy M 10 miles east to County Hwy D. Turn left (north) and drive 10 miles to the trail head parking on the left near the Great Divide sign. From Drummond take Lake Owen Drive south for about 6 miles to Porcupine Lake Road.|
Landmark dates in the history of Nordic Trails in northwest Wisconsin include 1975 when the United States Cross Country Ski Team including Bill Koch — who would later go on to win a silver medal in the 1976 Olympics – came to Telemark to train, 1978 when the first World Cup cross country ski races were held on the Telemark Trails, and also that year the Worldloppet League, an affiliation of international cross country ski marathons, was formed by Tony Wise at Telemark.
After an auspicious beginning, it wasn’t long before the landscape was dotted with Nordic Trails of all sizes and descriptions, most of which continue to offer pleasant and challenging cross country skiing opportunities today.