Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA) is an organization that has spear headed the construction of a vast array of single track mountain bike trails in northern Wisconsin. The system includes a variety of "clusters" scattered across the region, and the group's latest and northern most project surrounds Mt. Ashawabay near Washburn and Bayfield, Wisconsin. Also, Bayfield County recently built the Bayfield Rustic Yurt adjacent to the trail cluster. CAMBA's "Mt. Ashwabay Cluster" and the Bayfield Rustic Yurt combine for a unique element and are the focus of this MIDWEST OUTDOOR SPOTLIGHT.
^Take the turn west off Highway 13 onto Ski HillRd. away from the shore of the Great Lake Superior towards Mt. Ashwabay and just before reaching the parking lot of the non-profit ski area is this blue sign on the north side of the road that is pictured above. It points to the mountain bike trailhead on the south side of the road, which is the northern most trailhead of this trail system that CAMBA calls, the Mt. Ashwabay Cluster. The other trailhead is on the south side of the cluster trail system off of Whiting Rd. which runs parallel to the south of Ski Hill Rd. off of Highway 13.
^Pictured above is the trailhead information board and the shove-off point of this trailhead near Mt. Ashwabay's ski area parking lot.
^The map. This map has some new trail loops drawn in with marker that are brand new to the system cluster. Not all maps of the area have been updated as such at the time of this SPOTLIGHT, but the system is a work in progress at the time of this publishing as well. That is part of what makes it so exciting.
^From the Mt. Ashwabay trailhead the Stick Up/Down trail connects to the system which winds up the elevation towards the top of the ski area through the lush mature woods on trails like Diesel Bear and Dirt Lip. Fall is a famous spectacle of this region and the mountain bike trails are no exception.
^The trails are well marked and well mapped. CAMBA has been building trails for a while and are pretty good at it. The design and flow of the Mt. Ashwabay Cluster is further evidence of the organizations prowess.
^The design makes wonderful use of the terrain, and the views.
^As to be expected, the top of the ski area is a focal point of trail junctions as well as scenic views. Fall's luster complements the deep blue hues of the Great Lake and sunny day in this picture above.
^Big mature trees are commonplace, and the blanket of fall leaves on the forrest floor are a seasonal bonus.
^Another unique factor of this trail cluster, and a big reason we wanted to SPOTLIGHT it, is the Bayfield Rustic Yurt that has been constructed adjacent to the mountain bike trail system. North York Carpentry of Washburn built the yurt for Bayfield County Forestry recently, and the reservations quickly began to fill up. The yurt has its own parking area and access trail off of Whiting Rd. and is well marked and mapped. The mountain bike trail system does not mark or map the yurt though, so bike packers will need to do some extra due diligence to put the two systems together despite their proximity. There is a cross-country trail system that winds throughout all of it as well, which is another consideration of the zone. Keep all three straight, and the navigation is a breeze, confuse the three, and one can get a bit turned around momentarily. As always, maps and a compass can quickly resolve most trail confusion scenarios.
^The yurt has astounding views of the forest and Lake Superior from southeast to southwest on the compass with the wooded ridge at its back. A wonderful deck compliments the southern view.
^On the deck.
^A fire pit with some solid wood benches also adorns the location and takes advantage of the southern view laying just below the yurt deck.
^The entire trail cluster is accessible from the yurt. The yurt lies near the top of the ridge that provides the system its elevation thus it is pretty easy to navigate to all the trails from the yurt. Trails such as Trogdor, Hooter Hollow, and Lady Slipper offer the more advanced riding, but there are also easier trails as well such as Raven, Diesel Bear, Dirt Lip, and Hot Saw. The trail system is laid out mostly as "loop" style rides, but riders can mix and match routes somewhat as well within some of the loops. Most of the trails are directional as well which lends to the loop design.
CAMBA has already done another stellar job with the Mt. Ashwabay trail system thus far, and the addition of the Bayfield yurt adjacent to it brings another truly unique element to the table. The progress is exciting, and the future looks promising for this trail cluster, Mt. Ashwabay, and for the towns of Washburn and Bayfield, Wisconsin.
For more information about CAMBA, click here, for Mt. Ashwabay, click here, and for the Bayfield Rustic Yurt, click here.