Silent Sports

Silent sports enthusiasts visit the Turtle Flambeau Flowage region seeking a sense of adventure. There are 5 non-motorized trails to choose from in the Turtle Flambeau Flowage Scenic Waters Area. Close by are the MECCA Trails in Mercer, the Pines and Mines Trail System in Iron County and the Ottawa National Forest and many more miles of logging roads and public lands in Iron County to explore. Whether you enjoy hiking, mountain or tour biking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing or skijoring, you are sure to find a trail or road route to suit your needs. Some woods trails are also designated as hunter walking trails. For your safety trail users should be aware of current hunting seasons. During the 9-day rifle deer hunting season in November silent sports enthusiasts should not venture out on the trails or in the woods. 

Turtle Flambeau Flowage Scenic Waters Area

The Turtle Flambeau Scenic Waters Area offers 5 trails, Big Island Trail, Deadhorse Trail, Hidden Rivers Nature Trail, Little Turtle Trail and the Wilson Hills Trail.  

Big Island Trail - Trail uses: hiking, biking, snowshoeing, back-country cross-country skiing (not groomed), hunting

This trail begins at the bridge to Big Island. From County Highway FF go south on Popko Circle West approximately 3.6 miles and turn right on a woods road heading west towards Big Island. There is a grass parking area for 2 - 3 vehicles about 100 yards before the bridge. There are 8.8 miles of trail on the Island. The trail is mowed every 3-5 years.

Deadhorse Trail – Trail uses: hiking, biking, snowshoeing, back-country cross-country skiing (not groomed), hunting

This is a 4.6 mile trail. Access is off Popko Circle West, approximately 2.0 miles south of County Highway FF. The Deadhorse Trail is located in a special management unit dedicated to intensive management for ruffed grouse with seven interpretive signs. The signs describe specific management practices and their benefits to grouse. All of the management practices can be applied by private landowners with as little as ten acres. The trail is mowed every 3-5 years.

Hidden Rivers Nature Trail Trail uses: hiking, wheelchair friendly, snowshoeing

This 2 mile trail has a gravel base. The trailhead is located at the upper parking lot for Fisherman’s Landing. From County Highway FF go south on Popkos Circle Westapproximately 4.5 miles to Fisherman’s Landing Road. There are interpretive signs along the trail explaining the origin of the Flowage and some history as well as some of the management for the property as a whole. Although not groomed, is a great place to enjoy winter scenery and wildlife on skis or snowshoes.

Little Turtle Trail Trail uses: hiking, biking, cross-country skiing (groomed December – April 15 provided there is ample snow cover), hunting

There are 5.2 miles of mowed trail in the Little Turtle Waterfowl Management Area. To access the trail take Popko Circle East south from County Highway FF approximately 1.1 miles to Joe’s Shack Road. At the end of Joe’s Shack Road turn right to the trail head parking area on the north edge of the Little Turtle Flowage. Bird watching is very popular here because it is the only open prairie in Iron County, so many grassland birds can be seen here and not in other parts of the county. Also, the wetlands provide unique bird watching opportunities as the entire area is visible from a ridge that runs along the edge of the wetland.  Note: Between the dates of December 15 and April 15 this hunter walking trail is designated part of the MECCA Cross Country Ski Trail. You may not walk or hike on the groomed portion of this trail anytime the ground is snow covered between these dates.

Wilson Hills Trail Trail uses: hiking, biking, snowshoeing, back-country cross-country skiing (not groomed), hunting

There are 5.5 miles of maintained trail in two segments between Wilson Lake and the Bonies Mound area of the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage. To access the trails from County Highway FF go south on Popko Circle East approximately 3.6 miles to Wilson Lake Road East. Take Wilson Lake Road East 1.1 miles to a woods road heading east. There are several access points along this woods road. The trail is mowed every 3-5 years.

MECCA Trails, Mercer, WI – Trail uses: Hiking, Biking, Cross-Country Skiing, Snowshoeing, Skijoring 

Located in the town of Mercer, there are approximately 18 Km of trails groomed for classic and/or skate skiing. Winter trails are groomed as conditions allow. Snowshoeing, winter hiking and dogs are allowed only on the untracked portions of the trails. A heated log cabin at the Cabin Trailhead offers a changing room, sitting area, and wood stove.  There is a portable toilet at this trailhead and at the Little Turtle Trailhead. A warming shack sits at the midway point of the trail along the Little Turtle River.

The MECCA trails are also open for hiking and mountain biking in the spring, summer, and autumn. The trails are a little wider than what most mountain bikers would consider single track. However, they are not wide enough to ride side by side. There are some single track mountain bike trails off of the main MECCA trail that are signed, but they are not maintained on a regular basis.

To get to Cabin Trailhead from downtown Mercer, take US Highway 51 south to Beachway Drive. Then take Beachway Drive south to Mercer Lake Circle. Then go to Fierick Road. Continue south following the signs.

To get to the Little Turtle Trailhead from downtown Mercer, take US Highway 51 north about one mile to County Trunk Highway FF. Take FF west about one mile to Popko's Circle East. Take Popko's Circle East south almost two miles to Joe's Shack Road. Take Joe's Shack Road east to the Little Turtle Waterfowl Management Area parking lot.

Volunteers perform all of the MECCA Trail maintenance and grooming. Donations are appreciated and go toward purchasing and maintain grooming equipment, as well as upkeep of the trails, log cabin, warming shack and privy. Donation boxes and trail maps are located at both trailheads.

View the MECCA Trails Map

Pines and Mines Trail System, Iron County, WI - Trail uses: Mountain biking, hiking  

The Pines and Mines Mountain Bike Trail System offers 300 miles of marked and mapped routes for beginner to intermediate riders upon one-two track trails, railroad grades, gravel roads and paved roads. Some of these routes are shared with motorized vehicles. Throughout the hundreds of miles of trails you will find wildlife around each corner. Along the system you will encounter many of Iron County's historic transportation, mining and lumbering sites, as well as, plenty of forests, lakes and waterfalls.

Get the Mountain Bike Trail Map