Wild River trail guide
More than 30 miles of hiking and cross country ski trails attract visitors to Wild River State Park. Opportunities exist for both novice and experienced trail users. About 14 miles of beginner trails, 16 miles of intermediate trails, and 3 miles of advanced trails await cross country skiers. Seventeen miles of trails are groomed for combined cross country and skate skiing. Twenty miles are available for horseback riding from May 1 – October 31. Lots of options exist for taking a short 10 minute jaunt or a longer three hour adventure.
The year-round heated trail center with modern restrooms and fireplaces provides a good starting location for your outing. Cross country ski and snowshoe rental is available here throughout the winter months. Adjacent to this building is the Vanished Forest Exhibit. Or, you may choose to start at the Visitor Center, which offers more information and exhibits.
*When looking at a "You Are Here" sign (located at all trail junctions) you are facing north to assist you with orientation while out on the trails. Distances on trail maps are in miles. Permitted trail uses are listed at trail accesses and junctions. Unless otherwise posted, no hiking or snowshoeing is allowed on groomed ski trails. Trail users are reminded to be prepared for changing weather conditions and to pack out what you pack in. Horseback riders must remain on designated trails at all times.
Mitigwaki Loop The Mitigwaki loop begins at the Visitor Center. This loop is just over one mile in length and goes through oak woods on the ridge above Dry Creek. A spur trail connects the Visitor Center with the Trail Center. "Mitigwaki" is an Ojibwe word for oak woods.
Amador Prairie Loops The Amador Prairie loops begin at the Trail Center. These loops will take you through a level open grassland with scattered oak islands. A one mile or two mile loop runs north of the trail center. Tall prairie grasses and wildflowers can be seen on these loops.
Old Logging Trail (Universal Trail) This fully accessible asphalt-surfaced trail includes the Old Logging Trail and part of the Mitigwaki Loop. It provides access for all non-motorized uses other than horseback riding and links the Trail Center, Visitor Center, picnic area and campground. This mostly-wooded trail is just under three miles in length. The Hiking Club route follows a part of this trail and the next:
River Trail This wooded trail provides access to the backpack campsite at Spring Creek and links up the picnic area with the river access. The river trail is 1 1/2 miles in length. A highlight on this trail is the Nevers Dam overlook and history display.
River Terrace Loop This wooded, scenic loop begins in the picnic area and is 1 1/2 miles in length. The trail provides access to the campground on the north end of the loop by climbing 164 winding steps. Excellent hike for spring wildflowers and birds. Winter hiking and snowshoe trail.
Dry Creek This secluded trail along a north-facing hillside lies on the south side of Dry Creek. A historic cement structure is located adjacent to this trail which is a scenic route off the Pioneer trail.
Pioneer Trail The Pioneer trail itself is just over two miles in length but is reached via a 3/4 mile access trail beginning at the Trail Center and running through oak woods, savanna, and a small prairie. The Pioneer trail runs along the edge of an open grassland area. This is a popular horse trail. The Meadow Vista backpack campsite is located adjacent to this trail.
Deer Creek Loop This three mile loop trail is reached via a 1/2 mile access from either the Visitor Center or the River Access. The trail crosses the scenic Deer Creek bridge and part of the trail is located along the historic Point Douglas to Superior Military Road (Old Military Road). The trail also provides access to Deer Creek and Buck Hill backpack campsites.
Sunrise Trail This trail extends north ten miles from the Trail Center to the Sunrise River. The trail crosses Amador prairie and passes through pine plantations, bottomland, and upland hardwood forests. Two Adirondack trail shelters are located along this trail.
Sunrise Loop The Sunrise Loop can be accessed from the Sunrise picnic area and river access parking lot. This rugged five mile loop crosses a large beaver dam area through bottomland hardwood forest and can be seasonally wet.
Goose Creek Loop This three mile loop provides access to the Goose Creek campsite. It goes through bottomland hardwood forest along the river and receives minimal summer trail maintenance due to difficult access and a high water table. Winter hiking and snowshoe trail.
Most Challenging Trails
Aspen Knob Loop This two mile trail begins at the Trail Center with access through an oak woods and scattered white pines adjacent to the park office. Steep hills and rugged terrain make this an expert skate ski loop. The trail provides access to Aspen Knob and Breezy Valley backpack campsites.
White Pine Ridge Trail This very scenic 1/2 mile loop trail is just south of the Pioneer Trail. A spectacular view of the river valley can be seen from the bench located at the top of the hill.
Self Guided Trails
The Amik's Pond and Windfall trails begin at the Visitor Center. Brochures can be picked up at the entrances to these trails. Each is about 1 mile long.
Many visitors come to Wild River to experience solitude in a scenic natural setting. Please respect the rights of other trail users.