Favorite Northwest Wisconsin Bike Routes: A Big Barnes Loop Around the Eau Claire Chain of Lakes
Looking for good bike routes in northwestern Wisconsin? Check out this scenic loop in the Barnes area. If you’re more familiar with the area’s lakes than its towns, this route circles most of the Eau Claire Chain of Lakes. It includes a few steep hills, but most of the route travels gently rolling terrain.
The route starts at the Barnes Park, and passes near Lower Eau Claire Lake, Middle Eau Claire Lake, Upper Eau Claire Lake, Birch Lake, Bony Lake, Sweet Lake, and Robinson Lake—all in a roughly 21-mile loop. (By the way… If you’d like a scenic but shorter ride in the same area, here’s another option.)
Roads you’ll travel (clockwise): County N, Pease Road, 27 (for less than a mile), South Shore Road, River Road, Lake Road, 27 (for only a few yards), Lake Road, Peninsula Road (optional side trip to check out the boat landing and study the water), Lake Road, Robinson Lake Road, and County N.
Optional side trip: At the southwest corner of this route, follow South Shore Road a short distance west to check out the miniature lock and dam between Middle Eau Claire Lake and Lower Eau Claire Lake.
Optional short cut: On the way back, take a left on Birch Lake Road. It heads northward to Barnes between Bony Lake and Birch Lake. It then passes near both Robinson Lake and Pickerel Lake. This road, although just as scenic, will shave off a couple miles and a couple of hills.
For a mid-ride lunch stop, check out P.J.’s Cabin Store, which also has a bar and grille adjacent to the store. It’s just off your route. At the corner of River Road and Lake Road, head west about half a mile. You’ll also find a few other taverns and cafes along or near the route.
For breakfast before your ride, or for post-ride lunch, dinner, or refreshments, check out some of the restaurants and taverns in or near Barnes. The Cedar Lodge Steakhouse and Grille features a full menu, hand-tossed pizzas, and a fine selection of wines and local microbrews.
Click www.JeanHedren.com to see all my listings in Barnes, WI, and NW Wisconsin.
Please check back now and then; I’ll occasionally be posting more of our favorite hiking and biking routes. I’ll try to include a couple photos with each post, but not enough to take all the fun and mystery out of exploring these routes yourself. Stay tuned…