The North Country National Scenic Trail is the longest national trail. Going from North Dakota to Vermont, it passes through eight states and is approximately 4,600 miles in length. However, most of the trail remains incomplete, and leverages connecting roads to span the distance. This, along with the landmarks along the route, creates naturally defined sections. This FKT highlights the Wisconsin section. The trail traverses Wisconsin over roughly 209 miles, from the boarder of Minnesota to the Michigan Upper Peninsula. This includes a combination of road connectors and trail. The road currently accounts for less than 25% of the trail through Wisconsin. It passes through the Brule River State Forest, the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, and through several Wisconsin State Parks.
From the North Country Trail website (https://northcountrytrail.org/new-maps-2018-wi/?fbclid=IwAR3-jf0ICURaqRZdqBCTgey8mh1-aCdaq8noX9eTs6kjTP2ZFjkwCYg-a_k):
Coming in at just over 209 miles, this section of NCT traverses large tracts of northern forests and world-famous rivers. This is pure, iconic North Country! The map set for Western Wisconsin is the first official map release for the 50-mile segment of NCT from the Minnesota state line to the Saint Croix River, southwest of Solon Springs. With the exception of a five-mile segment on the University of Wisconsin-Superior’s McQuarrie Wetlands property and two miles in Pattison State Park, this is a mostly unbuilt (currently on-road) section of NCT.
From the NCT’s intersection with the Saint Croix River, the Trail heads north to Solon Springs and the historic portage to the world famous Brule River. Following state and county forests, the NCT winds roughly 100 more miles of essentially off-road trail to the Chequamegon National Forest. The 60+ miles of off-road NCT in the Chequamegon National Forest is a popular regional attraction, while at the same time offering the solitude of two federally designated Wilderness Areas. After leaving the Chequamegon National Forest, the NCT passes through the town of Mellen and into the scenic forest and high ridges along the Bad River in Copper Falls State Park. From this area east, new trail construction has been ongoing as local volunteers and staff work to develop the Trail heading towards Lake Superior and the Montreal River at the Michigan state line. This modification to the route of the NCT resulted from a somewhat recent National Park Service planning process.
Wisconsin features some of the longest continuous sections of completed off-road NCT. Additionally, as a result of the work of the highly skilled NCTA staff and volunteers in this area, the NCT in Wisconsin is a showcase of high-quality trail design and construction. The Trail, trail structures, and supporting facilities in Wisconsin are truly world class.
Will be attempting this August 26th, 2020, west to east. Supported.