Help match the $25,000 Challenge!

Important trail building work lies ahead in 2024!

Your donation NOW will help get the work done successfully!

Our goal is $50,000. We'll get there with your help. Add your donation to match the $25,000 Challenge Fund already in place.

Click here to download the 2023 Update and Appeal Letter and donation form.

IN PROGRESS: A trail right along the Wisconsin River

GHT's current priority project is the River Trail.

The nationally recognized, 55-mile-long Heart of Vilas Trail System extends from Mercer to Manitowish Waters to Boulder Junction to Sayner/Plum Lake to St Germain. The River Trail will add 10 miles to the system and connect it into Eagle River.

You can help make that happen. Click HERE to get a summary of the project. Scroll down to get more detailed information.

Email us at if you want to add your time and talent to the project.

Click HERE if you want to donate.

11 miles of trail so you can get away from the roads!

The Conover-Phelps Trail winds through wetlands and woodlands well away from the highway.

Get a map of the trail - click HERE!

Take a virtual ride - click HERE!

Click HERE if you want to donate to help enhance and extend the trail.

Help keep the trail in top shape and plan improvements. Email us at to learn more.

Look forward to two great Rides again in 2024!

Last summer, just under 400 participants enjoyed RIDE WITH LEINIE on the Conover-Phelps Trail and the eighth annual SEPTIMBER RIDE based at Tribute Brewing Co.

Both events return in 2024 and you can register right now! Ride with Leinie will be held on July 27, and SepTimber Ride will he held on Sept. 14!

Great Headwaters Trails

Building family-friendly biking and walking trails near the source of a Great River

River Trail - A high-value, priority project!

THE RIVER TRAIL will connect Eagle River into the 55-mile Heart of Vilas System and extend the system by 10 miles. St. Germain will become a system hub and the new River Trail will, we predict, become one of the most popular parts of the whole system!

At the place shown in the photo to the right, the 10-foot wide asphalt trail will pass between the pines and the river. That would be the Wisconsin River, This spot is only about 20 miles from the river's headwaters at Lac Vieux Desert, one of our county's 1,300 lakes!

The "River Trail team" includes the River Trail Commission (St Germain, Cloverland and Eagle River) and Great Headwaters Trails. Momentum and support are the keys to helping the team get this complex trail built. How complex? Click HERE to see the detailed design information the Commission considered when it did a site tour of the route in October of 2021. Will donations help? Yep!! Click HERE! For a one-page overview of the project click HERE!

We thank all of you who wrote letters in early June to the Eagle River City Council and all 284 of you who signed the recent online petition supporting the project and applauding Eagle River and its two partner municipalities for pursuing the trail. You may have heard of the puzzling, route-truncating motion passed by the Eagle River City Council on June 13. It overlooked that the River Trail will increase safety for all walkers and bike riders in the STH 70 corridor that connects the Commission members, and has slowed down progress on the project.

To doublecheck the advantages of the proposed route for the River Trail, GHT volunteers studied and issued a report on that route as well as a northern option and a southern option. You can see the findings of that study HERE. At their Nov. meeting, the River Trail Commission unanimously passed this motion, "The River Trail Commission supports the original 'Central Trail Route' and will be asking for the same support from the three municipalities involved in the Commission."

The safety that River Trail will provide is undeniable. You can get details on that by clicking HERE.

You can write to the Eagle River mayor and council members to ask them to revisit their June 13 vote to truncate the River Trail route. Point out the benefits and safety of the proposed Central Route . Send letters to Mayor Jeff Hyslop and members of the Eagle River Common Council, 525 E. Maple Street, PO Box 1269, Eagle River, WI 54521, or email them by clicking HERE.

Trail info to share, people to meet, raffle tickets to sell!

HELP US GET OUT THE WORD about GHT's work. Watch for our booths at various events in Eagle River, Conover, Phelps and Land O' Lakes. Sign up to help us staff our booths. - CLICK HERE.

Since its founding in 2010, the Great Headwaters Trails Foundation has been closing in on its goal to build 40 miles of biking and walking trails in eastern Vilas County. The system we envision will expand the Heart of Vilas Trail System and connect the towns of Eagle River, Conover, Phelps and Land O’ Lakes, resulting in a connected, family-friendly, hard surface trail system over 110 miles long.

The first leg of the system, the Conover-Phelps Trail, was completed in 2021. The next leg, the River Trail, will connect St. Germain to Eagle River. There are a lot of people that need to be clued in to this important project! Want to know more? Contact us at

Help us develop more biking and walking trails in eastern Vilas County!


Make a virtual visit to the Conover-Phelps Trail or join Ride with Leinie on July 30!

July 24, 2022

The Conover-Phelps Trail connects the park in Conover to Lakefront Pines Park in downtown Phelps. This video lets you take a virtual ride from end to end of trail. On a rainy May 28, a hardy crowd of Conover and Phelps supporters turned out for the trail’s official ribbon cutting.…

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Ride with Leinie 2022 logo

Ride with Leinie continues in 2022

February 5, 2022

Registration is now open for Ride with Leinie with Dick Leinenkugel, happening this summer on and around the newly completed Conover-Phelps Trail! Ride with Leinie has been a popular summer event for the past ten years hosted by the Wilderness Lakes Trails (WLT) group in Land O’Lakes. When WLT decided…

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Experience the New Trail!

September 1, 2021

GHT and the Friends of the Conover-Phelps Trail are happy to be collaborating with the Phelps Chamber of Commerce and Eric Eismueller at Old World Charm Bed and Breakfast to be hosting an open house for the newly completed trail on Saturday, Sept. 4. We invite everyone to come out…

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Be an active ingredient – all kinds of skills are needed to build top notch biking and walking trails. Add yours! VOLUNTEER
Make the Northwoods even better – donate to help build the Great Headwaters Trail System DONATE NOW
When it comes to nonmotorized trails, here are the people – all volunteers - who are moving things forward in eastern Vilas County. LEARN MORE
Good trails pay off in fun, well-being, and dollars. Here’s what is in place and in the works right now! SEE THE PROGRESS