Quasi-bikepacking in the Chequamegon National Forest

With the Colorado Trail Race rapidly approaching, I’ve been seeking out some longer mountain bike rides and overnight destinations (I’ve also gotten back into the embarrassing habit of dragging a bunch of bags and gear on my bike at all times, and basically look like an idiot). This past weekend I made it up to the CAMBA trails in northern Wisconsin for two days of awesome camping and riding. Initially I planned on making the trip solo and doing a proper pre-CTR shakedown using all of the gear that I’ll be taking with me for the race. When my friend Curtis expressed an interest in joining me, I threw that plan out the window instead opted for tent camping, beer drinking, and riding awesome singletrack with friends.

The CAMBA trails are located within National Forest land, so any patch of grass is a viable campground so long as you follow USFS rules. We parked at a trailhead, pedaled to a service road, and then hiked back into the forest to set up camp for the night. This meant we didn’t get to use the waterslide at the $35 a night KOA campground, but the weekend wasn’t a total loss. Next time I’ll load up a backpack with my camping stuff, ride to one of the lakes situated just off the trail, and set up there.

The trails completely exceeded my expectations. Each segment we rode had its own character and something unique to offer (Including newborn deer obstacles that we chose to hike around). After nearly ten hours of riding we still hadn’t seen everything that had been recommended to us. During the drive home we expressed our amazement that people even bother driving to Cuyuna when a few more minutes in the car gets you to somewhere with so much more to offer. I’ll be heading back to Cable in a few weeks to take part in the Chequamegon 100, and I can’t wait to see the rest of  what’s up there. 

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