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Rock Lake - IMBA EPIC

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.5 (36) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A linkup of deep woods singletrack - one of the longest skinny-trail routes in the Upper Midwest.


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Map Key

27.0

Miles

43.4

KM

90%

Singletrack

1,595' 486 m

High

1,420' 433 m

Low

1,524' 465 m

Up

1,524' 464 m

Down

2%

Avg Grade (1°)

13%

Max Grade (7°)

Dogs Off-leash

E-Bikes Unknown

Features -none-

Overview

This IMBA Epic is one of the longest skinny-trail routes in the Upper Midwest. It's mostly singletrack, with just a handful of wider sections and brief doubletrack interludes.

A variety of features will task hard-charging experienced riders who tackle the ride, while intermediate riders can back off the pace to revel in the route.

Need to Know

Parking at the Rock Lake trailhead is approximately 7 miles east of Cable and requires a daily fee.

The trail system is fairly easy to navigate with each intersection labeled with a letter-number combination.

Be sure to stop at the Rivers Eatery after the ride for great pizza and tasty beverages!

Description

The Rock Lake Epic starts at the Rock Lake trailhead. The route travels in a counterclockwise direction and includes the Rock Lake Trail, Glacier, Patsy Lake and Namakagon trails.

Despite the remoteness of this trail, there is excellent signage and maps can be found at most of the major intersections. If navigating by intersections, follow this order (all labels begin with N): Rock Lake trailhead,7,5,8,4,29,11,31,32,22,13,14,17,18,34,30, Namakagon/Town Hall trailhead,1,2,32,31,3,6,Rock Lake trailhead.

Begin the Rock Lake Trail behind the trailhead kiosk; avoid the ski trail to the left. The trail is quite easy in the beginning with only an occasional rock. A few rocky descents will be encountered on the way to N5, all of which are easily navigated, especially if you have front or full suspension. The trail is then pretty tame until the start of the Hildebrand Lake Loop at N4.

Hildebrand Lake Loop is at the southwestern end of the Rock Lake trail and begins with a small loose rock ride-over. This was intended to be a filter for riders to know what to expect through this more difficult part of the loop. Riders can expect many drops, steps, rock gardens, dips, and the 103-foot long, 18-inch wide No Hands Bridge over a stream at the end of Hildebrand Lake with an optional skinner 6" line. The penalty for failure is a dip into the lake. This location is perhaps one of the most remote areas in the state of Wisconsin, featuring mature hardwoods and striking glacial terrain.

After Hildebrand from N29 to the turnoff at N31, the trail is considerably more technical and difficult. Riders will come to Wall Street - a steep, downhill, rock causeway. The penalty for failure here is... higher, though it's actually not too difficult as long as you remain relaxed and loose while riding over the rocks. Afterwards, the technical features transition to steep climbs and descents.

Turning right at N31 takes you to the Namakagon Trail and a stretch of easier, non-technical riding. It's a welcome transition and a nice way to connect to the Patsy Lake trail.

Continue through intersection N22 to N14 to onto the Patsy Lake trail, which features bogs, wandering singletrack, interesting bridges and rolling hills. The trail is easy riding and meandering. You'll encounter three bridges between N14 and N15.

You'll find recently constructed, sweet flowing singletrack from intersection N15 to N30. Beyond that to the trailhead, the trail continues to be easy with the exception of one steep side hill which some riders may find challenging.

After making a hard left at the Namakagon/Town Hall trailhead, be prepared for a climb. After reaching the top, the trail is much less difficult and continues on a combination of mellow singletrack and overgrown doubletrack forest roads with short alternate segments of technical singletrack.

The section of Namakagon from N1 to N2 is a bit more technical. Bear right at N2 to continue the Epic route back N32 where a right takes you quickly back to the home stretch of Rock Lake Trail.

Saving the best (and hardest) for last, riders will finish the Rock Lake Trail. Be prepared for a very difficult section that throws everything at you: steep side-hills, large rocks, and tight passages through trees, rock gardens and dips.

The Epic route ends where you started, the Rock Lake trailhead.

History & Background

Created and cared for by the Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA), the Rock Lake Epic exemplifies the diversity of riding available on the extensive trail network that CAMBA maintains.

Contacts

Shared By:

Leslie Kehmeier with improvements by Lost Justpastnowhere

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 36 votes

#315

Overall
  4.5 from 36 votes
5 Star
56%
4 Star
39%
3 Star
6%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#3

in Wisconsin

#315

Overall
457 Views Last Month
23,626 Since Feb 20, 2013
Intermediate/Difficult

0%
0%
35%
5%
55%
5%

Photos

It gets tight and technical on the Rock Lake trail
Feb 28, 2013 near Namakagon, WI
Wall Street is a challenging armored section on the Rock Lake Trail
Feb 28, 2013 near Namakagon, WI
Rock Lake singletrack
Feb 28, 2013 near Namakagon, WI
The Patsy Lake trail has some great flowing singletrack.
Feb 28, 2013 near Namakagon, WI
Stopped to eat a snack and the sun peeked through the trees.
Aug 20, 2014 near Namakagon, WI
Tranquil, autumn day on Patsy Lake Trail
Sep 29, 2014 near Namakagon, WI

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
Minor Issues 20 hours ago See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Jul 2, 2020
Bryce McNitt
Trail in great shape, extreme deer fly and mosquito attacks when stopped. — 3h 54m
Jun 22, 2020
Brandon Thompson
23mi — 3h 40m
Sep 22, 2019
Bryan Kluth
27mi — 3h 51m
Sep 16, 2018
R.J. Meske
Definitely want a full suspension bike here. Trails are great, with no really challenging climbs. There aren't any major payoffs in terms of views 29.7mi — 3h 00m
Aug 20, 2018
Matthew Bohm
Aug 15, 2018
Mike French
34mi
Jul 22, 2018
Bryan Kluth
Longest and toughest for me. 27mi
Jun 8, 2018
Lost Justpastnowhere

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