Between a world class kayak run with adjustable flow rates, downhill skiing, miles of rolling gravel roads and all the new, purpose-built mountain bike trails, Wausau may be the Chamonix of the midwest for outdoor adventure seekers.

2020 marks CWOCC’s 8th year of trail advocacy and development in central Wisconsin.   CWOCC is leading the way towards the vision of creating the greater Wausau, WI area into an IMBA Ride Center. With the support of Marathon County government, investment from local foundations, numerous business sponsorships, club memberships, and thousands of volunteer hours, CWOCC’s efforts have generated over $600,000 into creating better mountain biking in the greater Wausau area.  

Currently, CWOCC maintains nearly 65 miles of singletrack mountain bike trails on six trail systems and even grooms 35 miles for winter fat biking.    

CWOCC’s efforts have directly led to better mountain biking and increased ridership. In 2015 alone, just over 600 volunteer hours were put into new trail new development, as well as new signage and maps at the Nine Mile trail system.  2017 began with the inclusion of Lincoln County’s Underdown mountain bike trail system into CWOCC’s purview. Sporting nearly 30 miles of rugged, backcountry single track and 2 trailheads, this trail network meanders through some of the most beautiful hills, valleys and lakes in the entire state.  

Woman riding a mountain bike away from camera in woods
The trails at Ringle have something for everyone, from fun flow to rocky drops.

CWOCC was awarded over $200,000 through public and private partnerships the Sylvan Hill Mountain Bike Park, which completed construction in August 2017. Not only does the bike park include beginner, intermediate and advanced flow trail for riders of all abilities; it has unique skill development areas and a pump track, which are configurations of rollers, berms, and jumps. The Sylvan Hill Mountain Bike Park has become a premier outdoor mountain biking destination for children, families, and experienced mountain bike riders throughout central Wisconsin. From a 3-year old girl on a balance bike to a bunch of 17- year old kids on BMX bikes to a family on mountain bikes, Sylvan Hill is teeming with riders of all ages and abilities every week. 

Pulling a drag with a snowmobile, CWOCC volunteers take advantage of the typically good snow conditions to groom fat bike trails at Big Eau Pleine County Park and Ringle. So there is no reason to ride in the basement on a trainer if you don’t want to.

snowmobile with a groomer attached
fat bike tire in foreground with groomed fat bike trail in background
Volunteers groom miles of fat bike trails in the winter.

2019 saw the groundbreaking for the new Ringle Trail system,  just east of Wausau on Highway 29. Ringle Trails is machine-built “flow” trail that is hard-packed and smooth with very few technical root or rocky sections, making it a great riding experience for beginner and intermediate riders. Scattered throughout the trails are numerous optional “b-lines” that feature rock drops, gap jumps, and technical rock sections that will challenge even the most advanced rider. With 8 miles on the ground today, Ringle will be completed in early summer 2020.  To date CWOCC maintains nearly 65 miles of single track mountain bike trails. 35 miles of which are groomed for winter fat biking.    

Looking forward, CWOCC is in the planning stages for a new trail system in the Village of Maine, formerly Brokaw on the north border of Wausau.  This land is rich in quality soil and varied terrain offering great potential for cross-country and downhill trails. Hopeful timeline to begin building is sometime in 2021.   In 2020, the Wisconsin DNR will continue their process to revise the 2005 Master Plan for Rib Mountain State Park. This process will explore and evaluate outdoor recreation opportunities in the park including the addition of mountain biking trails.  CWOCC will collaborate and provide feedback with the DNR, Greater Wausau Chamber of Commerce and other stakeholders regarding the Master Plan. Interested parties are encouraged to follow the process at this link.

man riding up hill on gravel road
Endless gravel await bikepackers and the Ironbull Red Granite Grinder will test any racers grit.

Outdoor recreation in central Wisconsin took another step forward with the birth of  Ironbull, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that will host endurance, running, paddling, biking, adventure, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing races, which started in 2019.  Partnering with CWOCC, Wausau now plays host to the Red Granite Gear Grinder in October featuring 140, 85 and 50 mile gravel route options.  January showcases the Winter Triathlon where participants can cross country ski, fat bike and snowshoe through Nine Mile County Forest. The inaugural Xtreme Triathlon is planned for August 1st, 2020 challenging athlete’s skills at whitewater paddling, trail running and mountain biking.   

Follow CWOCC’s progress on Facebook, Instagram or cwocc.org.  The Central Wisconsin Off-road Cycling Coalition (CWOCC) was formed in 2012 as a chapter of the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) and is recognized as a subordinate 501©(3) of IMBA’s 501©(3). CWOCC’s mission is to educate through trail advocacy and promote fitness, group activities, as well as exploring nature. CWOCC is dedicated to maintaining, designing and building sustainable, environmentally sound, off-road bicycling trails.

a young boy on a strider with mountain bikers in background