Featured Photo by Timmy Wesley

5 Ways to Get Outside on the Turtle River

Turtle River is a hidden treasure in the Wisconsin side, consisting of 27 miles of water flowing through Iron County from Cedar Lake into the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage at Lake of the Falls. This summer attraction attracts tourists from far and wide for its beautiful scenery and the graceful way the water flows downstream. 

Regardless of the season, you can find outdoor activities to do around Turtle River that will be a great pastime to keep you active.

5 Ways to Get Outside on the Turtle River

Photo by Nahuel Hawkes

The Turtle Flambeau Flowage boasts an abundance of possibilities for hiking options in the town of Mercer. Hiking is the best way to take full advantage to admire the beauty of the greenery and floras of Wisconsin. You can have the option to do up to 8 miles hikes. Most of the trails can be used not only for hiking, but also biking, cross-country skiing. Snowshoeing, and hunting as well. There are usually interpretive signs throughout the trail explaining the history and management of the property, so you can be educated on the surroundings of your hike. On certain trails, like the Little Turtle Trail, it is the only open prairie in Iron County which makes for great birding opportunities.

Turtle River Winterfest

Image by ivabalk

If you are a fan of cross-country skiing and are looking for a challenge, MECCA Trail hosts a Winterfest every February. Events include the Claire d’ Loon 5km Classic Tour, which are ideal for recreational skiers and kids, and the Turtle River Pursuit, which has a 11km classic and freestyle race. The non-profit also provides membership for those interested in a full season of skiing on their trails that has a wide range of difficulty levels.

5 Ways to Get Outside on the Turtle River
Located on the Turtle River between Lake of the Falls and the Turtle Flambeau Flowage, the falls drop 10 feet into the Turtle River. The park has a scenic overlook to gaze in its beauty and a picnic area to enjoy with your family. For those who like to rough it, the park offers 32 rustic camping facilities and has a boat landing with access to the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage through the Turtle River. The campground is open only during the summer season but the boat ramp is accessible year round for those who would like to go on the river.
5 Ways to Get Outside on the Turtle River

Photo by Jake Ballard

For canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts, the Turtle River Trail runs for a good 27 miles from North Turtle Lake to Lake of the Falls County Park. The trail has a wide variety of put-in and take-out possibilities which offer flexibility in the length of the trip to suit your needs. From North Turtle to Cedar Lake to Shay’s Dam. The trail has many variations of Class I and II rapids that adds to the fun and challenge if you’re a canoe and kayak junkie. However, keep in mind that portage may be required at some stops so be prepared.

Off Roading with ATVs and UTVs

If you have the resources and equipment to go off-roading, Iron County is the home of the largest All Terrain Vehicle system in Wisconsin, consisting of over 250 miles of trails to explore. The trails are open year-round with many opportunities to experience scenic views of wildlife, lakes, waterfalls, and birds. The diversity of terrains from smooth flat surfaces to rocky roads to mud add to the thrilling adventure of going off-roading. During winter seasons, some snowmobile trails are open for ATVs and UTVs as long as the temperature is less than 30 degrees to protect the trail base.

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Carissa Chin

Writer , River Travel Magazine