River Trail

River Trail 10 Miles of Trail

The River Trail will connect Eagle River to St. Germain, adding 10 miles to the 55-mile Heart of Vilas biking-hiking trail system.

The City of Eagle River and towns of Cloverland and St. Germain have formed a multi-jurisdictional commission to head up development of the trail. It will run parallel to Highway 70 along the Wisconsin River.

A detailed feasibility study prepared by MSA Professional Services in 2019 has been reviewed by officials with the DOT and DNR, as well as county personnel and supervisors, trail contractors, local residents, business owners, municipal officials, and the officers of the two local snowmobile clubs and ATV-UTV clubs.

Updates: River Trail

Let’s Talk Beer and Biking with Dick Leinenkugel

June 17, 2024

The community is invited to join Dick Leinenkugel and volunteers with the Great Headwaters Trails (GHT) Foundation for the annual “Let’s Talk Beer and Biking with Dick Leinenkugel”. “Let’s Talk” will be hosted at Greenhill’s Log Cabin, 226 Hwy 45, Conover, WI 54519, on Thursday, June 27, 2024 from 6:00 to 7:30 pm. “Let’s Talk”…

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13th Annual Ride with Leinie will be Held July 27, 2024

June 16, 2024

In the Northwoods of Wisconsin, there’s a unique bicycle event that has been drawing riders and Leinenkugel Beer fans for more than 12 years. On Saturday, July 27th, the Ride With Leinie fundraiser will once again return to Conover. The annual event, hosted by the Great Headwaters Trails (GHT) Foundation, attracts more than 300 riders. Participants…

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River Trail – A High-Value, Priority Project!

January 8, 2024

The River Trail will connect Eagle River to 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, the…

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River Trail Executive Summary Findings

November 11, 2023

GHT’s retired engineers did a study of several routing options to provide clarity to questions raised early in the summer of 2023 about the best route for the River Trail. Their findings confirmed that the route that had been proposed in 2018 was the best in all categories of study: providing safety to bike riders…

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Grabbing the opportunity to make River Trail a reality

June 6, 2023

A good place to learn more about the River Trail project will be the Eagle River Council meeting at 6 p.m. on June 13.

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River Trail Extending the Heart of Vilas Trail System

On the map above, the proposed route of the River Trail is shown as a DARK BLUE LINE. A marks the current end of the HoV trail, B is where new trail
will begin south of STH 70, C is where the trail crosses to the north side of STH 70 and D marks the eastern end of the River Trail.

For more than a decade, residents and officials in the Eagle River-St. Germain area have been informally discussing a biking and walking trail to connect those municipalities as well as Cloverland and Lincoln and extend the nationally recognized Heart of Vilas Trail System. The 2018 formation of the River Trail Commission and its partnership with Great Headwaters Trails sets the stage to make that connection happen.

The River Trail will be a paved, off-road trail for people of all ages to use on foot or on bikes. At its western end, the trail will start on the northwest corner of Hwy 70 and Cty O where the bike-ped trail coming out of St Germain now ends. It will head east from there for 10 miles, ending at a Riverview Park trailhead in Eagle River. This will connect Eagle River, the Three Eagle Trail and the Town of Three Lakes into the 55-mile-long Heart of Vilas walking and biking trail system (it’s the burnt orange line on the areawide map on the back page).

The River Trail will be close to the Wisconsin River for much of its route. It will include parking and waysides to enhance recreational opportunities already presented by the river, like fishing, boating and tubing.

The 10 foot wide asphalt trail will also give residents along busy Hwy 70 near Eagle River a safe place to walk or bike into town, providing a convenient way to visit neighbors, get to worship, and go to businesses.

Overall, the River Trail will add a convenient amenity for community members, and a powerful draw for visitors and for people considering the area as a place to settle down. It will also be good economic news for private property owners and businesses.

  • The River Trail Commission will build and operate the biking and walking trail. The Commission is composed of supervisors from the towns of Cloverland (Joe Spitz) and St Germain (Jim Swenson), and an alderman from the City of Eagle River (Ron Kressin). The Town of Lincoln can join at any time but has so far declined. County supervisor Holly Tomlanovich and County Recreation Supervisor Todd Bierman regularly attend Commission meetings.
  • Great Headwaters Trails (GHT) is a local nonprofit working with the Commission in the same manner that it had worked with the towns of Phelps and Conover, raising all the funds needed to build their bike-ped trail. GHT also provides volunteer engineering services and public information about the project.
  • MSA Professional Services completed a detailed Feasibility Study for the project in January of 2020. The study is based on MSA field work done in 2018 and a conceptual plan that GHT had developed. That plan was reviewed favorably by the DOT and DNR and local stakeholders. The study has also facilitated further coordination with the DOT and DNR, as well as with stakeholders of all sorts.

Planning a worthy addition to the Heart of  Vilas Trail System

The River Trail will cover the 10 miles between the current terminus of the Heart of Vilas Trail System in St. Germain (Point A above) and the area around Riverview Park in Eagle River (Point D.)

Planned to meet the standards set by the Heart of Vilas Trails, most of River Trail will be a 10-foot-wide, off-road, paved path staying as far from the traffic on STH 70 as possible. The goals are to provide a safe and convenient place for recreation and transportation.

Riders and walkers will stay on Old Highway 70, a mildly traveled road away from the current STH 70, to get from St Germain to where the first stretch of trail begins (Point B). The trail will run south of STH 70 near the river from there to a crossing near Zeman Road (Point C) to the north side of STH 70. From there on the River Trail will cross the Wisconsin River on a separate non- motorized bridge north of the current highway bridge. It will stay north of STH 70 all the way to Riverview Park. In this eastern stretch of the trail it will be as much a place for people to walk as for people to ride bikes.