Three of us are heading up to CAMBA in a few weeks. It's our first time there so I'm looking for suggestions. We're planning on 2.5 days of riding and would like to hit as much singletrack as possible, but spread out the aerobic difficulty a bit so we don't kill ourselves. We like technical, but tons of climbing...not so much. Our tentative plan is to stay in Hayward and mainly focus on the Hayward and Namakagon clusters. I've heard good things about Ojibwe and Rock Lake, but don't know much else about the area.
Any help regarding trails/lodging/food/beer is greatly appreciated.
Went up to CAMBA for three days last fall and am heading back this fall.
We stayed at the Lake Namekagon National Park Camground. Ends up being about 45 minutes from Hayward and doesn't have much for amenities but was a great place to camp. The Loon Saloon on Hwy D outside of Namekagon Town Hall (on the way to the campground) had cheap beer and some awesome pizza.
What you are really up there for.....the riding. I'll break it down by rides I plan on doing this fall or did last fall:
1. Namekagon Trail / Rock Lake Trail double feature. Start at the Namekagon Town Hall and begin riding the Namekagon trail......about half way you jump onto the Rock Lake trail and ride the whole thing.....then finish off the Namekagon Trail.
2. Ojibwe/Esker. Simple enough....ride one and then the other.
3. Hatchery Creek/Makwa/Sugarbrush/Birkie. Start and Hatchery Creek and link these all together in whatever fashion you choose.
All of the rides are relatively easy to navigate. Buy the map set from the CAMBA website and carry them when riding for insurance. Makwa might not be on the maps yet but basically when you get to the outermost point of Hatchery Creek it heads out from there.
As far as climbing goes I wasn't in terribly good shape and rode my 29er rigid singlespeed on its first extended trip and had no complaints about how it handled the above mentioned rides.
From a former local - Staying in Hayward will give you the greatest choice of establishment, but is also the longest drive to some of the trailheads. There are three main trailheads with singletrack, Hatchery Creek (Hayward), Telemark (Cable), and Rock Lake (Namakagon).
Originally Posted by d_wrek
Hatchery has some really nice smoother rolling singletrack with one part being an 8 mile one-way loop, and then it connects to Makwa which is a 14 mile out and back. Park at Hatchery, ride up the east side of the Hatchery Loop, ride the Makwa out and back, then back on the other side of Hatchery. A good 22 mile singletrack.
Telemark has the Ojibwe trail, and its often uknown (and under-used) little brother, the Esker Ridge trail. Ojibwe is a 13 mile TIGHT singletrack, it will take about 2 hours. Esker has a bit of singletrack, but is mostly fun because of all the terrain types and forest types that it flows through. It is only 8 miles, 2 of which are a gravel road.
Rock Lake has the Rock Lake trail, the Patsy Lake trail, the Namakagon trail, and some connectors and challenging sub-loops. It kinda spider-webs in areas, but is well marked and mapped. You can do just the 14 mile Rock Lake loop, or you can peice things together and get up to 30 miles of singletrack and logging two-track. Hildebrand Lake is a sub-loop of Rock lake that is more challenging, and a must-do. Also, the Namekagon looks boring on the map, but ride it out to that trailhead, and turn back around on it. It is worth it. Or ride out to that trailhead on the singletrack, and take Patsy Lake back to Rock Lake. Lots of options.
As for places to stay. Telemark is silent-sports friendly, but in financial issues, and not always best-kept. Lakewoods is nice, with VERY nice people that own and run it, but sometimes its a motorhead hell. Both of those are in Cable. In Seeley part way between, there is a small Inn right in town, and there is a B and B out on Highway 00. In Hayward, there is your choice of resorts, chain hotels, etc. My personal choice would be to stay near Cable, but I am partial, its my hometown.
For food, check out the Rookery for higher-caliber chef food, its right near Rock Lake. For the best pizza ever (and microbrew on tap), try Rivers Eatery (also called Ideal Market) in Cable. The owner is a very big supporter of silent sports in the area, and a super guy. In Seeley, the Sawmill is a very popular hangout for good beer and good burgers. In Hayward, the Angry Minnow is a local place that is also a microbrewery. Try the Bar Burger with a River Pig Pale Ale. My fav dinner in the area. Willy, the owner and bartender is also a great guy who goes out of his way to support the silent sport trails in the area. Please support these guys, they helped make those great trails possible.
If you have any questions, stop by New Moon Bike Shop in Hayward. Its a log cabin just north of town on Highway 63. Ask for Chris, he can get you to the right places.
Plays nice with others
I was just in the area for CAMBA's Festival of the Trails and had a chance to sample a fair amount of the singletrack, as well as several of the eateries mentioned by Chequamegon. My favorite trail was Rock Lake, even though I rode several miles of the trail in torrential rain and hellish lightning. Whoever designed the trail did a textbook-perfect job of using the contours of the land to create a rolling ride of very few extended uphills or downhills. Lots of rocks, but not so many as to screw up the flow of the trail. Plenty of fun, as long as you're comfortable with technical singletrack.
I typically stay at one of the Chequamegon campgrounds when I'm up there. Namekagon Lake is pretty close to the Namakagon, Rock Lake and Telemark trailheads.
This is great info...thanks a ton for the replies.
Just stayed up at Namakogon Lake campground for two nights at $14.00/ nite and did it all in three days. For the shorter day head over to Ojibwe/Esker trails at Mt. Telemark then hit all of Rock Lake, Hildebrandt Loop, Patsy Lake, and Namakogon trail for the long IMBA epic. Then finish on Hatchery, if your headed back on a south route, and connect to Makwa. Makwa now has another 11/2 miles added as you come to Gravel Pit Rd. scoot across and immediately on the left look for the trail. It is new and part of the section which eventually will go all the way to County OO. Makes the whole ride 25 miles and if'n ya want more take a side trip on Sugarbush Trail off of Makwa in either direction. It's all FUN!