Monday, December 19, 2016

Out in the Snow

Underdown from Copper Lake Road:

  • Snowshoe paradise with tracks to Dog Lake.  Lakes are solid.
  • Not ready for fat bikes or skis yet.
  • Parking lot just got plowed.
Dells Loop from Heineman Road:
  • Beautifully ready for fat bikes and snowshoes.
  • Group ride Tuesday at 5:30.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Snow Time

The Dells Loop and Connector trail were well ridden in on fat bikes yesterday.  Grooming should start this week after more snow and a good freeze.  Be careful on the Underdown lakes until they are good and solid.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

We won't be waiting long for snow!

There might be a group ride on Thursday, but after that it's time to give the Underdown trails a break until December.  Let them freeze solid and let the hunters have some space.

It's been a great year with volunteers putting in 288 hours of work on the county trails in addition to a comparable amount on the city property!  On to the Hundred Down!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Coyote Cross Enduro and Ghost Ride

Saturday, October 29th at the Merrill Memorial Forest on Heinemann Road
A free ride and gathering

5PM Classes

  • 5 and 10 miles
  • Drop bar bikes with tires 40mm and skinnier
  • Mountain bikes
7PM Ghost ride and squatch hunt

Monday, September 12, 2016

2016 Thunderdown in the Underdown and WEMS Championship

October 8th, 2016

NEW LOCATION: 95% of this year's 11 mile course has never been raced.  You will want to stop and admire the views!  You will want to ride the descents over and over!

Find the Merrill Memorial Forest by taking Heinemann Road for 2.5 miles west from Highway 17 or County R 3.5 miles east from County K.
Registration: 8AM or Registration
10 Hour Race: 10AM (Finish before 8PM. Bring a light.)
6 Hour Race: 1PM
3 Hour Race: 3PM

Camping will be allowed this weekend.
Racer Refreshment: Chili, cookies, and Festbier!
Awards: Pints and Growlers to category winners!
Giant Giveaway: Be there for the huge racer-selected prize package sponsored by Giant.
Additional Goodies from Hammer Nutrition and Silent Sports!

Thunderdown Cup: Sign up your town by 3PM.  Which town will turn the most laps?  Will the cup return to Wausau or stay up in Rhinelander?

Course: This brand new course will incorporate the 5.1 mile Dells Loop in the Merrill Memorial Forest before taking rustic Horn Lake Road to the enhanced Oktoberfest heights and returning over the extensive hills on the 2.2 mile connector. VIDEO

Sights: Prairie Dells Gorge!  Marvelous Manthei Marsh! Twenty Turn Ice Ridge Descent!

Other Events:
October 1st: 10AM Trail Grand Opening and Ice Age Trail Fall Hike at the Merrill Memorial Forest
October 1st: 2PM to 6PM Lincoln Lager Barleyfest at the Smith Center in Merrill
October 2nd: 10AM Group Ride at Merrill Memorial Forest
October 7th, 8th and 9th: 10AM to 5PM Northwoods Art Tour  Visit local artists including the bike inspired jewelry of the Outback Studio in Irma.
October 29th: 5PM Prairie Dells Coyote-Cross Enduro Ghost Ride
2017: Hundred Down in the Underdown, BURGR 95, Fork Horners 47, TTT 103, Run Around the Underdown

Great Food nearby: Just follow Heinemann Road east all the way to County X to find Fork Horners just a bit south.  This is what you deserve after a day on the trail.
Great Snacks and Bulk Food nearby: Follow Highway 17 north through Gleason to Prairie Pines Country Store.

Monday, August 8, 2016

This is how it all comes together!

At least that's a rough map of all 30 or so miles.  A work in progress, but Grand Opening this October!


The Underdown trails will be connected to the Prairie Dells in some form on Wednesday!  A good amount of hand work will remain.  Grand opening October 1st!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

To the Dells and Back

Merrill Memorial Forest: Take Heineman Road west from 17 about a mile south of Bloomville, or take Spring Lake Road east from County K about 6 miles north of Merrill.

The new trail is in all the way to Prairie Dells and back.  About half is still a rough bike ride and boardwalks have yet to be built, but it's a great hike for exploring.  Find the Merrill Memorial Forest on Heineman Road south of the Underdown.
And the DNR just started closing the spillway so the marsh will be filling and the birds will be happy.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


  • A silver mini-pump was lost while wrestling a tree off the trail.  If found please put it in the bike map box.
  • The Underdown-Dells trail is ready to ride from the trail head to the clear cut hill except for the 100' boardwalk we should build in August.  Root cutters should work from the milk truck to the Dells.
  • Ride the BURGR95 or Fork Horners 47 this Saturday!  It's customer appreciation day at Fork Horners so there will be specials and a band.
  • Next group work day on the Underdown-Dells project at the Merrill Memorial Forest is July 30th, but come and go as you please any day you want to cut roots.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Hike to the Dells

The trail is machined all the way from the trail head to the dramatic overlooks of Prairie Dells.  Root cutting and grade work are appreciated.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Hike the Marsh Loop

You could ride it too, but there is some finishing to do and a long boardwalk to install. Either way, it's beautiful.  Take the new trail all the way along the Manthei Marsh to the top of the clear but hill where you will reach the grass road.  A left will take you to the short levee and railroad causeway that completes the loop.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Looking Beautiful and Moving Along Fast

Trail is moving fast along the beautiful Manthei Marsh in the Merrill Memorial Forest as part of the Underdown-Dells Project. Come check it out or please come buff it out.
Pretty Point was reached yesterday. The Marsh trail will be done next week and Prairie Dells will be close in another week.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Monday Trail Building!

Trail construction starts Monday! Work should start about 9AM and continue into the evening so come on out if you like to move dirt. For the first day the project will be a walk of a few hundred yards past the main gate. Look for the dirt.
I'll have some hand tools, mostly rakes. Feel free to bring your favorite digger or a chainsaw to work ahead of the excavator.

Watch for Boardwalk Saturdays!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Getting to the Merrill Memorial Forest

To volunteer and enjoy on the Underdown-Dells trail project turn west on Heineman Road a mile south of Bloomville.  The forest entrance is about two miles from Highway 17 where County R and Spring Lake Road meet Heineman Road.

Trail building begins Monday, June 20th.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Underdown Dells Project Starts in a Week!

Follow here:

Join us for an amazing volunteer project that will create 5 to 6 new miles of hike-bike trail from the existing Underdown trail system to the brink of the Prairie Dells. Be there to connect the ice marginal ridges above Anderson Lake to the beautiful Manthei Wetland and Precambrian Prairie Dells.
When: Most days and evenings from June 20th to August 12th
Where: Merrill Memorial Forest at the intersection of Heineman Road and County R. Follow the entrance road a quarter mile to the first gate. Construction begins less than a quarter mile past that gate.
What: Although an excavator will do much of the heavy lifting, handwork is essential to finish the trail tread. This is often done with shears and rakes. Boardwalk building could begin in the first week!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Trail Mowing Season

Roundtop (Trail G) and Trail X were mowed last night.  More to come this week to set the Underdown up for great riding this summer.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Trails are Great

Four downed trees were removed.  Oktoberfest and Trail U were cleaned.  Pickers are getting mowed, and post holes left by a horse or two are being dealt with.

Monday, April 25, 2016

It Rained A Lot

Lincoln County trail open Saturday, May 7th.  No need to rush into anything.  I'm going to Levis this weekend anyway.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Saturday, March 5, 2016


Mist Lake
Trails were indeed solid and beautiful
 all the way to Mist Lake and I took advantage of the opportunity to explore the lakes, nut it took some icy trails to get there.  Ice is common on trails A and Z plus the Ice Age Trails from Dog Lake to collarbone corner.  Fat bikers should be ready to walk or take serious risks, and hikers will want to bring spiky shoes to those areas.  There wasn't enough snow to groom ski trails this week.  It feels like winter is about over.
Dog Lake

Monday, February 29, 2016

Ride Mist Lake

The Mist Lake loop has not been this solid for fat biking in 4 or 5 years.  Just enough new powder fell to give the ice some grip.  Lakes and bog fringes are clear of deep snow and ready to explore at will. The loop only took about 1:20 at a moderate pace.

  • Group ride at 10AM Saturday if the forecast holds.
  • Ski trails are icy with powder in the tracks over some dirt patches.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Last Night was the Night

The Mist Lake loop was finally solid enough to ride all the way around last night.  It's bumpier than the Dog Lake loop because some of us jumped the gun this weekend, but you won't have to walk.  Be alert on A and Z.  Ice is slippery.  Joe and I found an interesting new loop out the back of Luecks Lake all the way to the junction of Copper Lake Road and the Ice Age Trail.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Wait Until Sunday

As of 8AM this morning the trails were OK but deteriorating.

  • Trails A and Z are still open to snowshoes. 
  • Ski trails will be soft today and icy tomorrow.
  • Fat biking should be a treat Sunday except for some ice patches on the sunny sides.  A group will attempt the Mist Lake loop at 10AM.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

This Might Be The Weekend

Underdown had an inch or two of new fluff.

  • All 20 miles of classic ski trails were tracked Wednesday.
  • All 8 miles of snowshoe trails have tracks since the last snow.
  • Dog Lake is already a great fat bike ride, and Mist Lake was dragged so Saturday morning could be the time we can finally ride all the way around.
  • Coyotes were calling on three sides as I approached Mist Lake tonight.  A nice moonlight let me see across the lake so I didn't have to guess my heading.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


Underdown has had a little bit of snow and some good winds.

  • Ski trails have some snow and the tracks and will probably get groomed Friday.
  • Snowshoe trails all have tracks and easy to follow except for the trip across Mist Lake itself which might have drifted over again.
  • Fat biking is fun to Dog Lake and will be at least 50% rideable around the Mist Lake loop.  Open areas will be some kind of adventure.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Super Weekend

Underdown only got about 3 inches of new snow from that much-hyped blizzard so it's pretty, but not buried.

  • Ski trails are already tracked.
  • Snowshoe trails have new tracks around the Big Bog Loop, with an easy to follow trail to Dog Lake.  Don't head all the way to Mist Lake unless you know the way.  There should be tracks that far by Saturday.  This will be real snowshoeing instead of that sidewalk boot hiking we have been having.
  • Some fat biking will be viable by this weekend.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Great Hikers and a Kitty

47 hikers came out to the Underdown snowshoe trails on Saturday including seven fast ladies who made it around the Mist Lake loop with me.  I had to work to keep from slowing them down.  For the first time we were able to boot hike to Dog Lake on our Ice Age hike day with no will effects on the trail.

The trail was as fast and grippy as a sidewalk on the fat bike tonight.  I attempted to follow the tracks of an earlier rider around Mist Lake, but it was still too soft even after I let a lot of air out.  Bike tracks ended just over the first hill, and I was debating whether I should push it into the dark hemlocks up the next when out of the stillness I heard the scream of a juvenile sasquatch that people tell me is a bobcat screech.  I know they can't hurt me, but that incongruous yowl can give you the feeling that something is watching.  I headed back to Dog Lake remembering the only other time I've heard that sound, alone after dark on Turtle Lake Road after hours of silence.  I know that exact spot just like the exact location of the four times I've seen wolves in the wild are imprinted in my head.  Bears and owls I can forget, but some critters stay with you.
The bobcat I heard was something like this, but a bit less raspy, more a cross between a coyote and a crane.  Sorry for the guy cursing, but that sound can freak you out, especially in the dark a few miles from the car.

Thursday, January 14, 2016


  • Underdown ski trails have tracks set now.
  • Snowshoe trails are solid.  There are many tracks to Dog Lake and I'll get signs and tracks out to Mist Lake on Saturday.
  • Pat and I rode to Dog Lake again tonight.  It's not a plush ride like Mud Lake, but I was able to climb Heartbreak Ridge clean.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


I rode the fat bike to Dog Lake last night and it was nice.

  • A little bumpy from animal tracks, but plenty grippy
  • Not fast, but a rideable challenge

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Snow Report, so to speak

Underdown has a couple inches of pretty new snow.

  • Ski trails have enough snow for bushwack skiing, but not enough for setting a track.
  • Snowshoe trails are very good to Dog Lake with fresh tracks and all signs.  Lakes are solid and bogs are lumpy.  The Mist Lake look will have tracks and signs soon.
  • Fat biking to Dog Lake would be a sketchy, but not impossible ride.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Northwoods Chapter of the Ice Age Trail Alliance Snowshoe Hike

January 23, 2016
10:00 A.M.

The Northwoods Chapter of the Ice Age Trail Alliance will host  a
guided snowshoe hike in the Underdown area of the Lincoln County Forest on Saturday,  January 23, 2015 starting at 10:00 A.M.   Meet at the  Underdown Parking Lot parking lot on Copper Lake Road.

Come and enjoy the wonderful landscape created by the Great Wisconsin Glacier about ten
thousand years ago.  A UW geology and geophysics professor described the Underdown as a
“world class hummocky feature” of glacial topography.  In simpler terms, the area has swamps,
lakes, bogs and hills abundantly.

The snowshoe trail layout and design has been done by chapter member, Chris Schotz. The trail
is well marked and packed.  Hikers can chose between distances of one to four hours depending
on your ability, experience and endurance.  The trail is  moderately difficulty. Bring your
snowshoes, drink and weather appropriate clothing.

Hot cider, hot chocolate, cookies and a blazing fire will await you after the hike.  There is no charge for this event ,though donations will be accepted.

For more information, contact Ruby Jaecks at 715-551-1118 cell phone

Directions:  51 to K north of Merrill.  K right to H.  H right to Copper Lake Road.
Copper Lake Road to Underdown Parking Lot

Directions from Rhinelander:  Take Highway 17 South to Hiway J at Bloomville . Go right on J to Copper Lake Road. Turn left on Copper Lake Road to Underdown Parking Lot.
Follow the Ice Age Trail  signs

Friday, January 1, 2016