Chequamegon's Dead Horse Run Trail

The Dead Horse Run Trail in Wisconsin, named for an unfortunate event from 1900 when a team of horses met their demise, crosses a great area for bikepacking.

When: May 2016

Bicycle Adventurers: Nine started and six rode the full course. Everyone had a good time!

Accommodations:  A campsite along a bend in the Chippewa River.

Distance: 120 miles in two days.

Bike Overnight Bonus: 

  • Plenty of wildflowers!
  • My husband likes to sew bike gear, so he actually constructed most of our luggage for the trip.

Note: This Google map merely shows the general area and does not describe the route of this bike overnight.

Day One

Nine hardy souls left from the Double-O Trailhead near Seeley, WI. With temperatures in the low 40s, we set off for a sunny ride through the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. While there is very good single track in the area, we stuck to the gravel forest service roads. The temperature slowly warmed and we soon found ourselves having lunch in Clam Lake, WI, where the 75-year-old, chatty restaurateur claimed to have the best Chicago-style pizza outside of Chicago ... or even IN Chicago. We did not have pizza, though. (One rider who lived in the area planned to return for it).

The afternoon got a bit long, as we took a side-trip down part of the rutted, flooded, and rocky Dead Horse Run Trail. This rugged, isolated, 56-mile trail system, roughly between Clam Lake, WI and Camp Loretta, WI, crosses the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and is worth exploring.

Then, we had a bit more trouble than anticipated finding our camping spot for the evening. Luckily, this site lived up to its promises of being fantastic and after some warm food it was off to bed in a cozy tent.

Day Two

The next day we had a first breakfast in camp, packed up, rode an hour, then devoured a delicious second breakfast near Loretta, WI. Since the first day was a bit longer than anticipated, we opted to do more pavement and less gravel to shorten the second day a bit, while still enjoying the sunny day, warmer temperatures, and wild flowers.

Your favorite local bike shop?

New Moon Ski and Bike15569 US Hwy 63 N, Hayward, WI 54843

Bike overnight tips and tricks? 

  • You'll want a mountain bike for this country, so typical panniers aren't optimal. Luckily, my husband Neil made sweet custom frame bags and handlebar rolls to carry our gear.
  • Also, we did a “shake-down ride” the weekend before. We rode out 20 miles, stopped, unpacked, cooked a meal, then repacked. We wanted practice unpacking and packing the bikes. This was a great idea.


HOW ABOUT YOU? Inspire others by submitting your bike overnight adventure!

1 response so far ↓

Dave Battista - May 28, 2016 at 2:51 PM

That sounds like a great area. Is there potential for longer trips (and single track alternatives)/

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