16649 96th Avenue Chippewa Falls, WI 54729

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Irvine Park

The Best Cross Country Skiing Trails in the Chippewa Valley

Couple cross country skiing in the woods. canstockphoto55798447

There are plenty of winter visitors to the Chippewa Valley who put Cross country skiing and snowshoeing at the top of the list for reasons to spend time in the area. What better way to experience the natural beauty of the region than to strap on a pair of skis or snowshoes and create your own adventure.  Although the terrain can be somewhat of a challenge to some, there are plenty of parks and recreation areas that offer groomed and ungroomed trails for your level of expertise and comfort.

Be sure to include Inn on Lake Wissota as part of your trip when passing through the Chippewa Valley.  We are a true Bed & Breakfast with 5 guest rooms.  With plenty of amenities to ensure your stay with us is unique.  This winter has brought plenty of snow and we are blessed with a winter wonderland without the bitter cold of 2019!  Find your own adventure at our Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast and book your room today!

5 Great Cross-Country Ski Trails in the Chippewa Valley

Folks from Wisconsin and surrounding states love to spend time outdoors.  Since we have long winters here in the upper Northwest portion of Wisconsin, we love to spend time with the elements, even when it’s cold.  Strapping on a pair of skis and hitting the trails is an invigorating experience, one that gets folks hooked on immersing themselves in all the beauty and magic mother nature has to provide this time of year.  Here are some suggestions to get you started.

Couple skiing near pine treesLowes Creek County Park

Just minutes south of Eau Claire, experience 250 acres of cross-country ski and snowshoeing bliss. The two-way trail system separates skiers from snowshoers, and has many loops and shortcuts giving you a wide selection of route variety.

Irvine Park

Just 5 miles from Inn on Lake Wissota, Irvine Park offer trails that are easy to navigate. Woods trails above the zoo area double as ski trails. Loop back down and visit the zoo afterwards. Trails also go past Glen Loch Lake.

Tower Ridge 

Tower Ridge is the largest cross-country ski trail complex in both Eau Claire County and in west central Wisconsin. It is located on Eau Claire County forestland in the town of Seymour off CTH L. It has approximately 12 miles of trail with terrain of varying degrees of difficulty offering something for all levels of skiers. The ski trails include wooded, rolling terrain, and are groomed and tracked on the highest priority basis of the four ski trails offered by the county. The recreation area includes a Chalet with flush toilets, additional pit toilets, approximately 3 km of lighted trails and a snowshoe trail adjacent to but separate from the lighted ski trails. Tower Ridge requires a winter vehicle entrance pass.

Lake Wissota State Park

Lake Wissota State Park is located just 2 miles east of Inn on Lake Wissota.  Several trail options go through woods, meadows, lowlands, marshes, and Lake Wissota’s shoreline. Scenic lake trail is also a highlight. Daily and annual state park vehicle admission passes vary in price. Located on the northeast section of Lake Wissota.

Beaver Creek Reserve

A 30 minute drive in your car and you can spend an entire afternoon in the quiet beauty of the woods. Beaver Creek Reserve has a number of wooded, groomed trails for snowshoeing and cross country skiing. Rental equipment is available there, as well.

Relax, Renew & Refresh at our cozy B&B!

Inn on Lake Wissota Potbelly coffee mug sitting on the breakfast table

After you’ve filled your day with outdoor winter adventures, you’ll want a beautiful, cozy place to sit back and relax.  Inn on Lake Wissota is waiting for your arrival!  Innkeepers Beth & Roger have years of experience greeting guests and helping them to relax, easing away the cares of the day.  The aroma of fresh baked cookies wafts through the air upon your arrival.  In the morning you will wake to the smell of freshly brewed coffee and enjoy a bountiful gourmet breakfast.  Book your next winter getaway at Inn on Lake Wissota today.  We hope to greet you soon.

 

 

A Winter Walk through Irvine Park

Winter Scene of Duncan Creek

Duncan Creek in Irvine Park

 

This January has brought a wide variety of temperatures and not a lot of snow in the Chippewa Valley.  We took an opportunity one Sunday afternoon that offered somewhat balmy temperatures (for January, that is) to take a winter walk through Irvine Park in downtown Chippewa Falls.  A chance to get outdoors and spend time with friends could not be passed up on this particular day.  The weather had warmed to near freezing after several days of sub-zero temps, so we were all anxious to get out and about.  As transplants to the area just a few years ago, Roger & I still have plenty of exploring to do in the Chippewa Valley in order for us to get to know the area.  We were somewhat surprised when our friends suggested a winter walk in the park.  We have visited Irvine Park during the holiday season as it is lit up with over 100,000 lights and Christmas scenes displayed throughout the park.  It has turned out to be an annual holiday tradition for our family, as it is for many families in the Chippewa Valley.  Yet, we had never considered truly exploring the park after the Christmas Village closes for the season.

On such a beautiful January afternoon we were not surprised to find the park filled with plenty of other visitors.  Families with young children who were having all kinds of fun sledding, or just running around expending pent up energy!  Young couples enjoying some quality time for just the two of them, and, of course, us older folks just happy enough to have something different to do and get some exercise in the process.

 

Naturally formed ice sculpture

Naturally formed ice sculpture in Beer Cave at Irvine Park

Even though the park was busy, there was plenty of parking available.  We parked on Bear Den Road then headed out for our winter walk.  I was pleased to find the roads within the park had been plowed, which made walking easy.  Our first stop was the Beer Cave.  This is actually a registered Wisconsin Historical Marker.  It was originally put to use by the Schmitmayer Brewing Company.  The cave was a great place to keep the beer cold, even in the summer.  There is a shaft towards the back of the cave that goes to the street above, this is where the beer was lowered into the cave.  On this cold January afternoon there was a beautiful naturally formed ice sculpture from the water dripping onto the cave floor.

 

Further exploration brought us to a bridge which spans Duncan Creek.  What a beautiful sight this was.  The beauty and wonder that mother nature has to offer in the winter is nothing less than spectacular.

Bridge over Duncan Creek

Bridge over Duncan Creek at Irvine Park

It took my breath away for the serenity of it.  The quiet sounds of the rushing water, the stark contrasts of the white snow and ice against the blackness of the water.  What is it about water that is so mesmerizing?  If find myself instantly relaxing any time I am near a body of water.

 

Once we crossed the creek we found ourselves at the Bison exhibit.  Irvine Park is extremely fortunate to have a couple of white bison, and we were even more fortunate to see one of them that afternoon.  They certainly are impressive animals.  Their thick fur coats have them well prepared for the winter cold.  Then down the road further we found the bear den followed by the cougar den.  In the aviary we saw a variety of owls.  While the welcome center wasn’t open, we did marvel at the new center which opened the summer of 2016.  The park will be adding features to the welcome center this year.  We walked past the duck pond and on to wolf drive.  Here we saw some stunning frozen waterfalls on the sides of the limestone walls in the park.

Once we had our fill of fresh air and exercise we headed to the Leinie Lodge, which is just across the street from Irvine Park.  Leinie’s is a great place to get out of the cold and sip a few seasonal samplers by their huge fireplace and spend time with friends.

Leinie’s Lodge Fireplace

After a 2-mile walk in the park and a few beers, we were getting hungry.  There’s a new place in Chippewa Falls called the Blue Marble Pub.  In July of 2017 Heather Marble opened the Prohibition-themed pub which specializes in wood fired pizzas.  Their grinders, which are subs baked in the wood fired oven, are also popular among the patrons.  A short walk from Leinie’s Lodge, stop in for a bite to eat or grab a glass of beer or wine.

wood fired pizza

Pizza made in the wood-fired pizza oven at the Blue Marble in downtown Chippewa Falls.

So, all in all, it was a great afternoon and evening spent in downtown Chippewa Falls, even if it was January.  Sometimes the hardest part about getting out and about on a winter weekend is getting out of your chair and putting on your coat and gloves.  I’m so glad we seized the opportunity for a winter walk, and I hope you will do the same soon.  Don’t forget, there’s always something to do in the Chippewa Valley and Inn on Lake Wissota is happy to host you while you’re here.  We hope to greet you as one of our guests sometime soon!

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