The Underdown Recreation Area trail system is located in the Underdown Wildlife Area an 8260 acre managed forest of Pine, Aspen and Northern Hardwoods, containing numerous small lakes.
The area is designated as a multi-use recreation area and contains trails for Cross Country Skiing, Equestrian, Snowmobile, and (winter only) ATV trails. The area also contains a section of the interstate "Ice Age" Trail.
The Horse Trail consists of approximately 20 miles of marked two way trail that encompasses old logging roads, railroad right of ways and hundreds of small lakes and streams. There are short cuts marked that allow users to travel 3.5, 10 and 12.7 miles as well as the complete 20 mile main trail. Portions of the horse trail are used to connect with the single track mountain bike trail. The Horse Trail is also used by hikers as it intersects at several points with the Ice Age Trail and runs concurrently with many sections of the Cross Country Ski Trails. Since 1982, the Underdown Horse Club volunteers have done all of the regular maintenance on the horse trails, spending hours clearing brush and windfalls, marking all of the different trails with signs paid for by the club and replacing markers when necessary.
The Cross Country Ski area consists of approximately 33 KM of one way marked trails, which traverse some 4600 acres of Lincoln County Forest. The Ski trail consists of three loops. The "Blue Trail" is a 20 KM loop which circles the perimeter of the Ski area. The "Red Trail" is a 12 KM loop. The "Green Trail" is about 5KM loop. Most winters Loop Road is groomed from point 6 to point 38 for "Skate Skiing".
The Recreation Area Trail Head & Campground consists of one large parking area with year round hand pump well and wayside style pit toilets. There is a smaller parking area with new high line tie rails for horses and group camping, as well as eight individual campsites designed for horse trailers up to 40ft tri-axle size. The campsites will easily handle motor homes as well. During the non-snow months the campsites are available to the general public and are used by just about everyone, i.e. hikers, bikers, hunters, fisherman, horsemen and general campers. An additional parking area has been added to the west end of the main parking area at the head of the bike trail. This area is also available for overflow camping.
Hunting and Fishing are also very popular recreational activities in this area. The whole area is designated a Ruffed Grouse management zone. Numerous hunter walking trails were constructed during the 1960s. Today, small acreage aspen clear-cuts are done to increase the age diversity of the aspen in the area. This type of habitat management also favors deer, bear and other wildlife species. There are several kettle lakes in the area that are accessible to year-round fishing opportunities. The county maintains 8 formal boat landings to give access for fishing or other recreational uses. Many informal access points to water also exist.
The Snowmobile trail skirts the south and eastern perimeter of the Underdown Wildlife Area. ATV's are allowed on the snowmobile trail during the winter months only. There are no designated ATV trails in the Underdown Trail System during the rest of the year. ATV's are however allowed on the Town of Birch designated ATV route which includes Loop Road.
Underdown Horse Club
W8403 Joe Snow Road
Merrill, WI 54452
Phone: Becky 715-218-2604
Forestry, Land and Parks Department
801 North Sales, Suite 106
Merrill, WI 54452