Wisconsin Bike Tour: Northwoods & Lake Superior - Lizard Head Cycling Guides
107 Aurum St, Box 855, Ophir, CO 81426 970.728.5891 info@LizardHeadCyclingGuides.com

Wisconsin Bike Tour: Northwoods & Lake Superior

Please click here to jump to the Overview section with all tour details including pricing.

Wisconsin Bike Tour: Highlights

Lizard Head Cycling Guides travels to the Northwoods and Lake Superior region on a Wisconsin Bike Tour that meets our criteria for exceptional bike travel. Join our local Wisconsin native guides to experience a landscape of breweries, rolling hills, islands and great food at it’s best: from the saddle of your bicycle.

Why Ride this Wisconsin Bike Tour?
Lizard Head Cycling’s criteria for the creation of exceptional cycling tours runs first from finding car-free roads, then to big scenery, and then next to including routes that include exceptional lodging & food. Pavement smoothness is the number four criteria and it usually suffers in quality when delivering the car-free roads we love. This is not the case in Wisconsin! Join our Wisconsin Bike Tour for silky pavement, empty roads, boundless swimming opportunities and fabulous fresh water seafood. Wisconsin is fabulous cycling destination!

Wisconsin was definitely milder than the Red Rocks trip or the White Rocks. Some short sections of dirt (very do-able), but mostly what one would expect from Wisconsin. Beautiful scenery (to my eye), nice hotels and meals (always!), fun guests, great guides. On a rest day, we took a boat out to the Apostle Islands. That was a nice diversion. We’ve never had a trip with Lizard Head where we were disappointed. – Barb S.

The Northwoods of Wisconsin

The serene beauty of the Northwoods of Wisconsin

Miles of beautiful roads await in Wisconsin

Miles of beautiful roads await in Wisconsin…

...along with Wisconsin's many quirky roadside attractions.

…along with Wisconsin’s many quirky roadside attractions.

Wisconsin Bike Tour: Tour Dates

Potential tour dates are listed below and not all tour dates will run. Lock in your preferred tour date early as unopened tour dates will be closed. Please see the Spring/Autumn Tour Calendar and the Summer Tour Calendar for confirmed departures. Any unopened date can be a Custom Week (9 riders required). Please contact us via email or call 970.728.5891

To easily register for a particular tour, please click the Book Now! link after the tour date listed below. This will select the tour name and the appropriate date on the registration form.

2024 Tour Dates

  • September 8 to 13, 2024 (Book Now!) – TOUR OPENED 5 riders needed to make GO

Tour Status Notes: NO STATUS = Date Set, no riders have signed up. TOUR OPENED = Tour Opened, rider minimums not met. TOUR A GO! = Tour is Go, rider minimums met. SOLD OUT = Tour Full, rider maximums met.

Why Should you Sign-Up Now and OPEN a Tour Date?
This is the proverbial chicken and the egg conundrum! We need our cyclists to first commit to the date that works for them so that we can commit to that date.

For starters, when you OPEN a date you get to pick your preferred departure date, and there is no penalty if the tour does not run. Once you pick your tour date, Lizard Head closes nearby dates and funnels all additional riders to your chosen date until the tour meets its 6 rider minimum.

BONUS: As an added bonus, we can also hold a spot for you on another tour date of your choosing. There is no fee to switch to another tour date.

In conclusion, if you want a tour to run, we need you to sign up and not wait for others to do the same! Waiting for others may mean that a tour date takes longer or does not confirm. Just Do It! Once a few riders jump into the proverbial waters, others will follow!

Wisconsin Bike Tour: Overview

Reptile Rewards

Tour Length: 6-Days Cycling/5-Nights Lodging

Meeting amp; Ending Town: Wausau, Wisconsin – Central Wisconsin Airport (CWA)

Total Miles: 300 to 430 miles, additional mileage options available. (Can I keep up on this tour?)

Mileage Range: 23 to 113 miles

Ability Level: Intermediate (2/3) 

Tour Cost: $3,350 per person with shared accommodations. Add $400 per person to this Tour Cost for a private room each night of the tour (5-Nights).

Tour Discounts: Please see our Reptile Rewards & Tour Discounts page to learn more about Reptile Rewards, Tour Discounts, and Group Discounts. Tour discounts are not stackable with any other discounts or promotions – only the highest valued discount is provided. Please note that for discounts to apply the tour minimum must be met.

Tour Includes: 6-Days guide service, 5-Nights lodging, all meals, forest service fees, energy food, liquid refreshments, in-tour shuttles, and mechanical support. Alcoholic beverages, bike rental, and massage (if available) are additional.

Non-Riding Spouses & Partners on Tour: If a non-riding spouse or partner would like to join you on tour and they have their own transportation, they can stay in your room for the cost of the tour's single room supplement. Please note that non-riders cannot check into hotels prior to guide arrival as the guides need to manage the check-in process. Checking in a large group can be challenging and take longer than normal, so non-riders need to hang back and be patient. Non-riding spouses and partners are welcome to join the Lizard Head meal plan which includes breakfasts and dinners for $75 per day. Note: Lunches are not included for non-riders driving their own vehicles due to the inherent variability of both lunch timing and locations. It is best for non-riders to plan to explore each day.

Lodging Includes 5 Nights: (subject to change)

Meeting Hotel and Ending Hotel reservations and costs are NOT included unless specified otherwise. Guests are on-their-own to make reservations at the Meeting Hotel or Ending Hotel, or other nearby hotels.

Road Bike Rentals

NOTE: The make, model, and specifications of rental bikes may differ from what is described below. Please contact us if you have any specific needs for a rental bike or have any questions about rental bikes.

Lizard Head Cycling Guides is proud to rent Scott Bikes. The Scott Addict 10 Disc was designed from the ground up with those longer days in mind. With geometry that is less focused on racing and more on enduring, the Addict 10 will be your go to when you’re looking to put the miles in.

The Scott Addict 10 Disc features: Carbon Frame and Fork, Shimano Ultegra 2x11 Drivetrain, 34x32 Compact Gearing, 30mm Tires, and Hydraulic Disc Brakes. Approx. Weight: 16.89 lbs / 7.66 kg (without pedals)

Learn more about our Rental Bikes and Equipment

Road E-Bike Rentals: Click Here for more information on our Road E-Bike Rentals including pricing. Please note that E-Bikes are not available for certain tours including those that involve camping. Please contact us for more information before registering for a tour. NOTE: E-Bikes are great, but our tours are designed to be ridden without motorized assistance. We offer "bumps" along the road so that everyone can stay together.

Tandems and Recumbents: Lizard Head Cycling Guides happily accommodates both tandem and recumbent bikes on our tours.

If you have any further questions, please read more on our Rental Bikes FAQ page. You can also email us at info@lizardheadcyclingguides.com or call us at 970.728.5891

Meals On Tour

Lizard Head Cycling Guides provides most meals on all tours (unless otherwise noted) including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Guides will prepare a daily lunch en route for nearly every tour, both road and off-road, as well as provide nutritious snacks at periodic aid stations during the day.

Most of our road tours utilize local restaurants for all meals and occasionally guides may prepare a dinner or two during a tour. Due to the nature of being "off the grid", most of our off-road tours feature guide prepared meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. FUN NOTE: When guides prepare a meal in camp and the guests sit around and watch, this is called "Guide TV". :)

We also pride ourselves on being able to cater to specific dietary requests and needs, so rest assured that you will be able to get the nutrition that works best for you during your tour. Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan, or a someone who loves it all – we will keep you well fed during the tour!

Lunches: Lizard Head Cycling Guides prepares healthy lunches to keep you going. We will serve you fresh organic fruits and veggies, salads, hummus, sandwich fixings, nuts, gourmet cheeses and, of course, plenty of salty/sweet snacks such as chips and cookies.

Dinners: On our road tours, Lizard Head Cycling sources our favorite restaurants in each town that we visit. Our guides focus on establishments that offer fresh and local ingredients and guests choose whatever they desire to eat off the menu including: appetizer, salad, entrée, and of course, dessert... yum! :) Also, while on tour if a guest wants to dine early before the group and go to bed, this is fine. We understand that on some days sleep is the most important post-ride element.

Overall Route Map

Below is an example of the daily routes for this tour and are subject to change based on season, available accommodations, road closures, and other factors. The actual routes will be made available to registered participants before their tour, so please view these routes as a general outline as to what to expect.


Ability Level: Can I Ride This Tour?

Definition of Ability Levels

= Intermediate (2/3) Rides and/or takes spin classes 1 to 3 times a week for a total of 50 or more miles.
= Upper Intermediate (3) Rides and/or takes spin classes 2 to 4 times a week for a total of 75 or more miles.
= Advanced (3/4) Rides and/or takes spin classes 3 to 5 times a week for a total of 100 or more miles. Has ridden multi-day tours and done a century ride.
= Expert (4) Rides 4 or more times per week totaling 150 or more miles. Rides E.F.I. with regularity. Has done numerous multi-day tours, century rides and races.

How Fit do I Have to Be? If one month prior to the tour, you can ride 2 to 3 times a week equaling a total of 75 or more miles a week, you'll do just fine. We like to jokingly say that "one is ready for a Lizard Head Cycling Tour when they are finished with tour" and this is true! The only way to simulate a week long bike tour is to go on a week long tour.

Our average rider age is 55 years. These are bike tours, not races so we take our time to stop, take pictures and see the sights. We have all day to reach our destination and most riders take "bumps" at some points. We offer reduced mileage options for each day. Of course if someone wants to ride E.F.I. (Every Freaking Inch), we love to show them all the extra climbs, loops and hidden canyons that can be included!

Do the Bump! Daily mileage options allow cyclists of varying abilities to enjoy this tour. One of our favorite options is to give cyclists a "bump" via the support vehicle, or a 10 to 20 mile lift down the road representing an hour of pedal time. After the bump the rider is "off the front" and riding at his or her own pace without feeling they are being left behind the group. They'll then have time to linger and take in the spectacular scenery. All cyclists come together in time for lunch. Afterwards, cyclists can take another bump and/or continue riding.

Seamless Mileage Options: Lizard Head Cycling Guides designs multiple mileage options for each tour – something we're well known for in our business. This technique is similar to heliskiing in that one does not ski everything, they ski the best. 🙂

Slow or Fast? Many cyclists who sign up for our tours have worried themselves silly about not being able to keep up, but then they're surprised to find that all the worrying was about nothing. They do just fine! Slow and Fast only exist relative to other cyclists. Speed does not matter as long as one is moving on the bike. As long as one is moving, they are truly going fast enough.

If you have questions about your ability to ride this tour, please contact our office via email or call us at 970.728.5891 - we'll more than happy to guide you!

Please also see this blog post for more information.

Wisconsin Bike Tour: Itinerary*

*PLEASE NOTE: Tour itineraries are subject to change and modification based on the group, available accommodations, road construction, road closures, and other unforeseen circumstances including weather, wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, landslides and/or other acts of nature. Also, the distances and elevation profiles shown below may not reflect the actual distances and elevations while on tour as these are provided here to give an idea as to the anticipated mileage and terrain. Please view this itinerary, the distances, and elevation profiles as a general outline as to what to expect while on this tour.

Day 0: Arrival in Wausau

Downtown Wausau, Wisconsin

Downtown Wausau, Wisconsin

Guests either fly into Central Wisconsin Airport (CWA) and shuttle to the meeting hotel, or drive to the meeting hotel. The meeting hotel will be the Stoney Creek Hotel Wausau-Rothschild, Wisconsin (just south of Wausau) and there will be a late afternoon “Meet & Greet” session where you get to meet your fellow riders for the week, get your rental bikes fit and where guides will discuss the highlights of the week ahead.

NOTE: Guests are on-their-own for accommodations this evening either at the Stoney Creek Hotel Wausau-Rothschild, or at other nearby hotels. The Stoney Creek Hotel Wausau-Rothschild offers a complimentary airport shuttle to/from Central Wisconsin Airport (CWA). Guests are also on-their-own for dinner this evening and there are several restaurants within walking distance from the hotel.

Day 1: Council Grounds State Park to Minocqua
55 miles with up to 1,800 feet of climbing

Council Grounds State Park

Council Grounds State Park

After a short shuttle from our meeting hotel, we will start pedaling out of the beautiful Council Grounds State Park following Hwy 107 North along the Wisconsin River. Enjoy a scenic and blacktopped road all the way to our lunch stop in Tomahawk, Wisconsin at Memorial Park where you can jump into the cool and refreshing Wisconsin River!

After lunch, a small road followed by more blacktop will wind our way into the woods and water of the true Northwoods town of Minocqua, Wisconsin where we will enjoy great food, beer, hospitality and another swimming opportunity.

Wisconsin River near Tomahawk, Wisconsin

Wisconsin River near Tomahawk, Wisconsin

Wisconsin back country road

Wisconsin back country road

Elevation Profile: +1756 ft / -1459 ft

Elevation Profile: 55.1 mi +1756 ft / -1459 ft

Day 2: Minocqua to Ashland
113 miles with up to 3,000 feet of climbing; optional 55 mile ride

The Island City of Minocqua, Wisconsin

The Island City of Minocqua, Wisconsin

Today is a chance for a classic century+ ride. We depart Minocqua, Wisconsin either on a bike path that adds some miles before joining up with Hwy 51, or by just taking off on Hwy 51 – both promise a fast cruise along rolling hills with smooth riding surfaces and a giant loon sighting in Mercer, Wisconsin on the way to lunch at Copper Falls State Park outside of Mellen, Wisconsin. Make sure to pack your hiking shoes in the support van before the morning departure to do some exploring of ancient lava flows, deep gorges and spectacular water falls while the guides prepare lunch for you.

Post lunch it’s a quick wind North on country roads to Ashland, Wisconsin on Lake Superior. From here we shuttle a short distance north to our lodging at The Bayfield Inn in Bayfield, Wisconsin.

A new support vehicle?

A new support vehicle?

Elevation Profile: +3015 ft / -3987 ft

Elevation Profile: +3015 ft / -3987 ft

Day 3: Bayfield Loop Ride, Madeline Island, Apostle Islands
25 miles with up to 600 feet of climbing

View on the way to Bayfield, Wisconsin

View on the way to Bayfield, Wisconsin

The loop ride from Bayfield and back is along the shore of Lake Superior is beautiful as well as is the potential for additional riding on Madeline Island. A great book store, many galleries and a bakery are along the way in Washburn, Wisconsin and should not be missed. Bayfield has a ferry to Madeline Island, neat shopping and small museum options. In the afternoon, there is also the option to rent a boat to tour the nearby Apostle Islands National Lakeshore via the water, or to rent kayaks to get out onto the water.

Our lodging for the evening is again at The Bayfield Inn. Rated #1 on Trip Advisor, it boasts excellent lakeside views and a roof top bar & restaurant.

Roof Top Bar & Restaurant at the Bayfield Inn

Elevation Profile: +579 ft / -531 ft

Elevation Profile: +579 ft / -531 ft

Day 4: Bayfield to Hayward
91 Miles with up to 3,200 feet of climbing; optional 45 mile ride

View of Namekagon Lake

View of Namekagon Lake

Breakfast is served up at the Old Rittenhouse Inn dining area overlooking Lake Superior before retracing our steps south on Hwy 13 towards Ashland. The riding is superb as we pedal along classic country roads through the woods and land of lakes. Lunch at the Namekagon Lake Recreation Area offers yet another chance to swim!

After lunch, we hit a bit of gravel as we wind our way through the low marshlands on our way to Hayward, Wisconsin’s bike capitol as well as the home to the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame! In the evening we’ll BBQ on our hotel’s lake front patio before heading to Fred Scheers World Famous Lumberjack Show!

Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame

Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame

Comfort Suites in Hayward, Wisconsin

Comfort Suites in Hayward, Wisconsin

Elevation Profile: +3148 ft / -2630 ft

Elevation Profile: +3148 ft / -2630 ft

Day 5: Hayward to Palmquist Farms
97 miles with up to 2,600 feet of climbing; optional 55 mile ride

Wisconsin Concrete Park

Wisconsin Concrete Park

We wake up with another long, glorious day of Northwoods riding. Breakfast is available to us at our accommodations, or take an early morning spin into town for some great coffee options. We will then ride out of town on Hwy B into the Chippewa Flowage area, riding through woods and marshland on our way to lunch at the local marvel of the Wisconsin Concrete Park. In 1948, at age 62, local folk artist Fred Smith began creating this wonder including notable sculptures of Ben Hur, the Lincolns, Sacajawea and Paul Bunyan.

We leave Phillips for our final stretch on Hwy D to the Palmquist Farm where we will be welcomed onto the property of a four generation Finnish farm for a delicious meal, hiking trails, Finnish sauna and a restful night out in the countryside.

Quiet Wisconsin backroads

Quiet Wisconsin backroads

Palmquist Farm

Palmquist Farm

Elevation Profile: +2560 ft / -2154 ft

Elevation Profile: +2560 ft / -2154 ft

Day 6: Palmquist Farms to Timm’s Hill
51 miles with up to 1,600 feet of climbing

Breakfast at Palmquist Farm

Breakfast at Palmquist Farm

Today is a special day as we wake up to another home-cooked Finnish breakfast out on the farm while the well-paved roller coaster roads await us! We have a chance to go on a leisurely bike ride on our way to our lunch and ending spot atop Wisconsin’s highest point, Timm’s Hill, sitting at a whopping 1,952 ft above sea level, and a final chance to do some wild Wisconsin swimming in either Bass or Timms Lake! The day includes a bonus stop at a local cheese factory on the shuttle back to Wausau, Wisconsin for us to get the real fresh squeaky cheese curd experience and purchase some goods for our journey back home.

Timm's Hill

Timm’s Hill

Elevation Profile: +1597 ft / -1372 ft

Elevation Profile: +1597 ft / -1372 ft

Wisconsin Bike Tour: Logistics & FAQs

Bike Shipping

Lizard Head Cycling recommends shipping with BikeFlights.com. Bikes can be shipped either to our partner bike shop in each meeting town for professional assembly or directly to the meeting hotel for self-assembly. Bike boxes can generally be left at the meeting hotel during the tour. Bikes shipped across the continental US should be shipped 8 days prior to your tour.

Any dietary preferences or allergies should be noted on the registration form. Each of Lizard Head Cycling’s lunches contains gluten free options.

Tour Support
A 15-passenger van and trailer that carries luggage, food and equipment will support this tour.

General Tour & Cancellation Policies

Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with all of our tour and cancellation policies, which can be found by clicking here.

Travel Insurance

If you have not already, now would be a great time to consider adding travel insurance to your tour. You are welcome to use any travel insurance company you would like. We recommend Generali/Trip Mate.

Generally, if contracting COVID causes clients to cancel or interrupt their tour, trip insurance companies would treat it as any other illness as long as it is contracted after the insurance was purchased. Please check your individual plan documentation for details. Please note that quarantine is usually only covered if clients are actually sick with COVID. If a state requires quarantine upon arrival because of standardized state law, coverage is generally not covered. Again, check your individual plan documentation for details.

American Guests - use this link: http://www.generalitravelinsurance.com/get-a-quote.html?partner=LIZA0855

  • The Premium Plan is the only plan which offers Pre-Existing coverage so long as the plan is purchased prior to Final Payment.
  • The Premium Plan is the only plan that offers an optional Cancel For Any Reason - the policy must be purchased within 24 hours of initial trip deposit, the full trip cost must be insured, and if they cancel for Any Reason, it must be 48 hours prior to departure, and the reimbursement for an Any Reason claim is 60% of pre-paid, insured, non-refundable trip cost.
  • Customer Service can be reached at 1-800-874-2442 for coverage questions and policy modifications or to purchase by phone. Agency Code: LIZA0855

Canadian Guests - use this link: https://tripmate.catravelins.ca/?utm_source=lizardhead

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