Welcome to the premier system of mountain bike trails in the Midwest, located in and around the beautiful Chequamegon National Forest region of Northwest Wisconsin.
The Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association off-road bike trail system consists of over 300 miles of marked and mapped routes through a near-wilderness area of striking beauty and peaceful solitude. The CAMBA system is quickly becoming the Singletrack Mecca of the Midwest, with more singletrack trail being constructed every year. CAMBA's ultimate vision is a linked system of singletrack trails connecting Hayward, Seeley, Cable and Namakagon.
CAMBA East-West Connection Completed
On Tuesday, November 3, a group of volunteers “drove the golden spike,” so to speak, and completed the final segment of the trails connecting the Cable Cluster to the Namakagon Cluster. Over six years in the making, this eight-mile combination of new trails helps fill out one of the remaining connections in CAMBA’s 90-mile plus system of interconnected singletrack trails.
The Treasures’ Trace trail runs from the Rock Lake bike trail near Emerson Lake, 3.5 miles west to the boundary of the national forest. From here, Danky Dank, which was completed earlier this summer, runs 4.5 miles to connect with the Esker Trail. It is necessary to ride in on the Esker about two miles from Spider Lake Firelane to pick up Danky Dank. The total 10-mile through-ride is about as diverse a series of trails as you are going to find in the CAMBA system, each trail with very different character and personality, sometimes changing several times within a few miles.
John Leighton has been the lead volunteer and advocate for Treasures’ Trace and has been holding regular volunteer workdays. This year the team has put in over 750 hours and constructed 1.1 miles of trail. This segment of trail has been entirely hand built. Earlier this summer CAMBA deployed one of its paid summer trail crews to help advance the project. Their five-week stint on the trail yielded another .9 mile.
Treasures’ Trace is a narrow, benchcut traditional singletrack trail through the big woods of the Chequamegon-Nicolet national forest. It is a mature forest and the trail winds through varied glacial topography and forest types. Among the scenic highlights is a vista of the headwaters of Cap Creek, a tributary of the Namekagon River. Generally intermediate overall, the trail is accessible by most riders, and features occasional moderate rock features.
Presently, there is little signage, which will be installed for next season. Once a rider reaches the Rock Lake Trail, they will have the option of turning left and riding two miles directly to the Rock Lake Trailhead if they do not wish to complete the eight-mile balance of the Rock Lake loop. There are a couple of bailout options too, to return via Rock Lake Road.
Matt Dale was the architect and project leader of Danky Dank, which was constructed over a similar timeline. Early portions closest to the Esker Trail were hand built and follow the southward continuation of the mile-long esker. This is old-school riding, on the more difficult edge of the spectrum and a pretty cool ride along the esker. Along with Matt, much of this was constructed by Cable and Hayward area volunteers including Jack Moin, Joe Kelsey and Dave Cook, along with a host of other workers. Contributing to its eclectic character was the use of three different excavator operators on the machine built segments of the trail, each offering up his own flair for trail building. After about the first mile of hand built trail, machine building commences with occasional challenging rock sections, before morphing in to a full-on romping flow style trail with big bermed turns and climbs through some very remote woods. The rocks return shortly before the end of Danky Dank with some extended rock ride-overs to add some spicy punctuation to the trail. Because of some of the rock segments along the way, CAMBA’s technical trail classification considers this a “most difficult” trail – relative to the trails in the CAMBA system.
These trails are terrific additions to the CAMBA system, adding more great singletrack riding in the Cable and Namakagon areas. A huge CAMBA thank you to the project leaders, John Leighton and Matt Dale, for their efforts to help realize this part of the CAMBA vision.
And into the future
CAMBA is now in its 23rd year of maintaining and developing trails in Bayfield and Sawyer Counties in Northwest Wisconsin. The bounty of public land throughout the area continues to be our greatest asset and has been instrumental in our success in gaining access to a significant land base that has provided a tremendous variety of wonderful areas in which to site trails. The result has been the creation of a vast interconnected network of trails spanning large distances.
Over the past 23 years the CAMBA system has evolved from a
TRAIL CLOSURES, REROUTES & DETOURS
All trails remain open, although recent wet weather has rendered them a bit soggy and slippery. It would be best to wait a couple of days - til Thursday or Friday before hitting the trails again.
Note that Wisconsin's firearm deer season starts this Saturday, November 21. CAMBA does not recommend trail riding during the 9-day season, except perhaps at night.
As a rule the CAMBA trails are rideable within 12 hours or less of almost any major rain event and sooner after lesser storms. As always, please use good judgement when deciding to ride during wet weather. If you leave much more than the dimple of a tire tread, you should wait for the trails to dry out. Trails will only need to be closed due to extreme events.