Nestled in the heart of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Northwest Park offers an intriguing trail system built on a hill just off the North Crossing. With approximately 3 miles of well-ridden, fairly hard-packed singletrack, this biking haven has something for everyone—be it beginners or seasoned riders. Though the trails are not very long, their character, varying levels of technicality, and endless combinations ensure they don't get monotonous.
The trails feature a range of elevations and obstacles, from climbs and downhilly runs to tight rooty challenges. With twists and turns aplenty, the trail's design emphasizes flow. The mud sections in the forest add a gnarly but manageable touch to the experience.
For first-time visitors, it's important to note that trails are not individually marked and no maps are available on-site. GPS or good land navigation skills are highly recommended for getting back to the trailhead. But isn't a little exploration part of the mountain biking thrill?
While the trails have improved significantly over the years, maintenance can be inconsistent. Expect to deal with downed trees sporadically. In terms of surface, the ground is usually hard-packed but can get sandy in spots. Recent reports suggest the trails are in good shape and ready for hard riding.
The trail system is easily accessible from Hwy 312. Turn onto Jeffers Road, take the first right at East Prairie Lane, another right at Woodford Ct, and finally a left on Van Es Parkway. You'll arrive at a gravel turnaround where you can park, marking the start of the trailhead.
Though not the best system in Eau Claire, Northwest Park is definitely worth the ride. Its trails offer a balanced mix of challenges and fun, making it a perfect spot for an adventurous outing. If you haven't yet explored this hidden gem, it's about time you did!