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 about the project.

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 in 2023!

Last summer over 300 people enjoyed RIDE WITH LEINIE on the newly completed Conover-Phelps Trail and the same number signed up for the eighth annual SEPTIMBER RIDE based at Tribute Brewing Co.

Both events return in 2023 and you can register right now! Ride with Leinie will be held on July 29, and SepTimber Ride will he held on Sept. 9!

Great Headwaters Trails

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

River Trail - Our 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. It's 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 confuses things a bit. You can checkout coverage of the meeting in the Vilas County News-Review HERE. (The story is a solid summary of the meeting. But it overlooks the safety that River Trail will provide to walkers and bike riders by modeling itself on the existing Heart of Vilas System which has a great safety record. Some factual errors include that the River Trail will have two, not three, crossings of STH 70. Both are, like other Heart of Vilas crossings of STH 70, along the two-lane in locations with good sight lines where cautious walkers and cyclists can cross safely.)

You can write to the Eagle River mayor and council members asking them to revisit that decision. 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.

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!

Most of GHT board

Virus hasn’t slowed up GHT’s progress

September 30, 2020

Great Headwaters Trails ends this challenging summer without being slowed down by COVID-19. Fundraising to complete the Conover-Phelps Trail is close to being a total success, great progress has been made on routing the River Trail between Eagle River and St. Germain, and the annual SepTimber Ride biking event drew…

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Coming down to the wire – 66% of the way to our goal, donate now and double your impact

September 11, 2020

This is crunch time! We’re about $70,000 away from our goal with about $35,000 of the Flanagan Challenge Fund remaining to be matched. The math works to gets us to success, but you only have until Sept. 30 to make sure we get there. Double the impact of your donation…

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40% of the way to the Goal! An $80,000 Challenge Fund still doubling the impact of all donations! Let’s get this trail completed!

August 23, 2020

This virus is not going to keep Phelps and Conover from having a completed biking and walking trail! Over 50 people and organizations have contributed to the Homestretch Campaign so far. Donations are matched dollar for dollar, and the campaign has brought in over $80,000 so far, almost halfway to…

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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