Read our guide to fun and adventure at The Pinery and Wausau, WI

Read this guide to discover the thrilling adventures, serene retreats, and hidden gems that make Wausau, WI and its surroundings an all-season playground. Whether you’re an avid nature enthusiast, a history buff, a culinary adventurer, or simply seeking family-friendly fun, we’ve curated a treasure trove of experiences to ensure your visit to the Pinery is nothing short of extraordinary.

Experience nature’s therapy take a hike in The Pinery 

Look to the Great Pinery as you plan your next trail ride. With miles of wooded trails that run along the Wisconsin River you will love the time you spend riding. The trails vary from easy to difficult and give you ample opportunity to challenge your abilities. Nine Mile Outdoor Recreation Area offers a popular mountain biking trail that winds through a diverse terrain. Most area trails have easy access and ample parking – and you are never far from a host of outdoor activities. Once you hop off the bike, you can enjoy swimming in the river or one of the many lakes in the area. You’ll also have access to incredible camp sites, state parks, and many restaurants to satisfy every craving.

Set your sights on the Great Pinery for your next two-wheeled adventure

Look to the Great Pinery as you plan your next trail ride. With miles of wooded trails that run along the Wisconsin River you will love the time you spend riding. The trails vary from easy to difficult and give you ample opportunity to challenge your abilities. Nine Mile Outdoor Recreation Area offers a popular mountain biking trail that winds through a diverse terrain. Most area trails have easy access and ample parking – and you are never far from a host of outdoor activities. Once you hop off the bike, you can enjoy swimming in the river or one of the many lakes in the area. You’ll also have access to incredible camp sites, state parks, and many restaurants to satisfy every craving.

Pack your suits and goggles and give your kids a great time 

You have all the water you need to float, swim or just goof off throughout the Great Pinery Heritage Waterway. Looking for a more kid-friendly experience? Splash and sunbathe at one of the exciting aquatic centers – just minutes from the water trail. Whether you are paddling, camping, or exploring the many area hikes, there is always time to suit up and cool off in the water.

Relax and enjoy a golfing experience like no other

Tee off in the natural beauty of the Wisconsin woods and enjoy leisurely paced round designed to excite and challenge golfers of all skill levels. Not far from the Great Pinery Heritage Waterway, you’ll find several uniquely designed courses with rolling hills, well manicured fairways and enough hazards to make your time interesting and fun. Enjoy some of the best views in the area as you play a round on one of the six courses available to you. Whether you’re planning to enjoy a single round or spend several days playing all the courses, the golfing in the Wausau area is always a great day.

Give the kids the time of their lives

Let the kids get their energy out they laugh, run, climb and swim at one of the many parks and playgrounds the Wausau area has to offer. Whether it’s the unique climbing experiences of Jojos Jungle , the trails and bridges of Oak Island Park or the mini train that weaves through Marathon County Park, there is plenty of fun to be had by kids of all ages.

Spend your nights under the Wisconsin sky

The parks and camping sites of Northcentral Wisconsin are the perfect place to get away from technology and closer to nature. Enjoy rustic campsites with great views of the woods and waterways. Sleep under the stars and wake up to a new adventure every day as your tent or RV will be close to hundreds of miles of hiking trails, several boat launches, put-ins for kayaks and canoes and ample opportunity to cast a line. Enjoy everything the natural beauty of central Wisconsin has to offer.

Enjoy the winter fun

The Pinery offers outdoor fun in every season. When winter rolls around, that’s when the skis and snowboards come out and everyone hits the slopes and Granite Peak comes alive with skiers and snowboarders of all ages and skill levels. Whether you’re just starting out or have been skiing for years, the wide variety of runs make a winter day in Wausau a perfect getaway for the whole family.

Granite Peak skiing

They offer the most vertical at 700 feet and over 225 acres of terrain, providing abundant opportunities for tree skiing and hidden finds. Additionally, visitors will find three progressive terrain parks, including a learning park, catering to all skill levels.

Cross country skiing and snowshoeing

Explore the scenic beauty of Central and Northern Wisconsin with abundant opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Traverse through groomed trails in the pristine forests and enjoy the winter landscapes.

Ice skating

Indoor and outdoor ice skating offer thrilling experiences for all ages. Glide gracefully across smooth indoor rinks or enjoy the crisp winter air while skating on outdoor rinks, providing fun-filled activities for everyone to enjoy.

Snow tubing

Sylvan Hill Park boasts the state’s longest tubing hill at 1,200 feet, featuring six runs and two tow lines. Visitors can enjoy amenities including a chalet with a snack bar, restrooms, lockers, and a cozy fireplace. There are also several hills to enjoy sledding on as well.

Snowmobiling

Discover miles and miles of sprawling snowmobiling trails, meticulously groomed by dedicated clubs. Traverse picturesque fields, serene lakes, and dense forests, with up-to-date trail maps available at local establishments for a safe and memorable ride.

Ice fishing

Experience the winter charm of ice fishing in Wisconsin, with prime spots including the serene waters of Lake Wausau, Lake Du Bay, and Halfmoon Lake among the state’s countless fishing lakes and rivers.

Granite Peak skiing

They offer the most vertical at 700 feet and over 225 acres of terrain, providing abundant opportunities for tree skiing and hidden finds. Additionally, visitors will find three progressive terrain parks, including a learning park, catering to all skill levels.

Cross country skiing and snowshoeing

Explore the scenic beauty of Central and Northern Wisconsin with abundant opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Traverse through groomed trails in the pristine forests and enjoy the winter landscapes.

Ice skating

Indoor and outdoor ice skating offer thrilling experiences for all ages. Glide gracefully across smooth indoor rinks or enjoy the crisp winter air while skating on outdoor rinks, providing fun-filled activities for everyone to enjoy.

Snow tubing

Sylvan Hill Park boasts the state’s longest tubing hill at 1,200 feet, featuring six runs and two tow lines. Visitors can enjoy amenities including a chalet with a snack bar, restrooms, lockers, and a cozy fireplace. There are also several hills to enjoy sledding on as well.

Snowmobiling

Discover miles and miles of sprawling snowmobiling trails, meticulously groomed by dedicated clubs. Traverse picturesque fields, serene lakes, and dense forests, with up-to-date trail maps available at local establishments for a safe and memorable ride.

Ice fishing

Experience the winter charm of ice fishing in Wisconsin, with prime spots including the serene waters of Lake Wausau, Lake Du Bay, and Halfmoon Lake among the state’s countless fishing lakes and rivers.

Hungry? Eat along the trail or venture into town

All this paddling can work up quite an appetite and you can check out many different restaurants and bars along the water trail ranging from fast food to more upscale restaurants. In Tomahawk, you can find Dairy Queen Grill & Chill, Happy Snapper, or Guppys Lakeside Grill where you can pull up your kayak and walk right in. In Wausau, stop at Riverlife park landing and enjoy Briq’s Soft Serve Ice Crème and Wausau on Water restaurant and arcade. Riverlife park is a few minutes walk from downtown Wausau and is also a great spot to enjoy a stroll along the river, relax by the firepit and let the kids stretch their legs at a unique playground. On lake Wausau, get your fill at Nueske’s at Gullivers Landing, or Eagle’s Club. In Mosinee, grab a bite at Meyer’s Landing Restaurant, Tiki Beach Bar & Grill, or Moonlight Landing Bar & Grill.

Check out the communities around The Pinery

 

 

Events around The Pinery

Hodag Country Festival

The Hodag Country Festival, affectionately known as “Hodag,” annually transforms Rhinelander into a haven for country music enthusiasts, boasting a legacy of hosting top-tier artists since its establishment in 1978. From Darius Rucker to Loretta Lynn and Willie Nelson, the festival has showcased a stellar lineup of performers, complemented by a longstanding band contest that crowns Wisconsin’s State Champion Performers. Celebrated on television programs like Discover Wisconsin and revered as a favorite state destination, Hodag Country Festival remains a highlight in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, captivating audiences with its rich musical tradition and vibrant atmosphere.

The Project North Festival

In September 2024, Project North returns to downtown Rhinelander, Wisconsin, promising a dynamic fusion of live music, interactive art, and eco-conscious initiatives. This immersive event aims to unite tourists and locals, showcasing Rhinelander’s artistic community, celebrating its natural beauty, and reinforcing its commitment to sustainability. As a catalyst for progress, Project North solidifies Rhinelander’s status as a forward-thinking hub for local and global artists.

Main Street Memories Car Show

This lively event, rain or shine, offers a delightful mix of music, culinary delights, shopping, family fun, and more! Transforming four blocks of historic West Wisconsin Avenue into a showcase for up to 300 show cars from across the greater Northwoods and beyond, visitors can journey through automotive history or marvel at cutting-edge technology. With over 50 trophies up for grabs, including the esteemed Best Of Show and Peoples Choice awards, as well as unique honors like Youngest Participant and Mayors Choice, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this beloved downtown tradition. Best of all, admission for spectators is always free!

Northwoods Fall Ride

Tomahawk, Wisconsin, gears up in the second weekend of September for their annual Northwoods Fall Ride that draws motorcycle enthusiasts from across the nation to their scenic town. What started as a charity fundraiser in 1982 by the North Country Riders Motorcycle Club, supported by Harley-Davidson Inc, has evolved into a cherished event that raises funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and attracts record attendance, like the milestone 2006 gathering of 45,000 riders. The Northwoods Fall Ride promises a weekend filled with music, food, vendors, and thrilling bike-related activities.

Wisconsin River Pro Rodeo

Attend an unforgettable weekend of western family fun at the Wisconsin River Pro Rodeo in Merrill, WI. Professional Cowboys and Cowgirls from across the nation compete to showcase their talents, while attendees indulge in delicious food, live music, and shopping for all ages. As a 100% volunteer-run committee, they take immense pride in hosting this premier event, attracting over 14,000 visitors annually to central Wisconsin.

Wausau Festival of Arts

For over fifty years, Wausau’s Festival of Arts has been a beacon of artistic celebration, offering exceptional artwork, free entertainment, and engaging activities for all ages. From its inception in 1965, this outdoor extravaganza has become a cherished tradition in downtown Wausau, featuring over 120 juried artists showcasing diverse styles and price ranges. With food courts, live music, family-friendly entertainment, and hands-on art activities, it’s a festival that caters to everyone. Recognized as American Style Magazine’s #1 art festival in 2009, Artrageous Weekend, including Wausau’s Festival of Arts, continues to captivate audiences with its enduring charm and artistic flair.

Big Bull Falls Blues Fest

Get ready to get your Blues on with Wisconsin’s longest running Blues Fest! Located on Fern Island in the heart of Wausau, Wisconsin, this venue is one of a kind. Join the locals and enjoy big names Like Eric Gales & Mike Zito and local artists alike.

Wausau Balloon and Rib Fest

Come and see what all the buzz is about at the event voted THE Favorite Event in Wausau for 5 years in a row. The Wausau Downtown Airport hosts the annual Balloon & Rib Festival. While you enjoy the live music, your kids can put all that the extra energy to good use in the Kids Zone. There are typically close to 20 hot air balloon vendors, 7 rib vendors, and other delicious food & drink vendors. There will be other fun and entertaining activities for everyone to enjoy. Finish the night with a beautiful fireworks show. Admission is free but food, drinks, and entertainment are not.

Concerts on the Square

Spend your evening relaxing listening to free music, enjoying the local community, and the people of Wausau. Concerts are held Wednesdays in the summer months starting mid-June. The concerts normally start at 6pm and run until 8pm. The concerts are located on the beautiful 400 Block and are very popular! Keep an eye out for food trucks to satiate your hunger. Bring your friends or family to the square for night of music and fun.

Chalkfest, Wings over Wausau Show, and Sidewalk Sales

Wausau’s Big Weekend is packed with events for everyone to take part in. Over the weekend in late June, you can enjoy amazing chalk artwork done by both amateur and professional members of the Wausau community in the 400th Block. Traffic is blocked as pedestrians and food trucks take up the streets. Walk in any direction from the 400th Block and you’ll run into the sidewalk sales from local businesses. Here you’ll find clothes, shoes, sports equipment, cafes, restaurants and way more!

If this isn’t quite your style, you can head over to the Wausau Airport and enjoy the Wings Over Wausau – an airshow and fireworks. The Big Weekend may also include a 5k and a car show. If you are looking for a 360 experience when you come to paddle, this is a great time to plan for!

Central Wisconsin Water Ski Show

Since its establishment in 1997, the Central Wisconsin Water Ski Show Team has been dedicated to delivering top-notch entertainment, fostering the sport and skill of water skiing, and nurturing team camaraderie in a family-friendly environment. Watch their exhilarating water ski shows, free for the whole family, every Tuesday at 6:30pm on Lake Wausau and every Thursday at 6:30pm on Lake DuBay. Experience the thrill as they showcase their passion for water skiing from June 4th through Labor Day.

Logjam Festival

The Little Bull Falls LogJam Festival, a nonprofit event organized by a dedicated volunteer board, channels all proceeds towards approved festival expenses through Friends of LogJam, Inc. This initiative not only supports numerous clubs and community organizations but also creates a vibrant venue attracting thousands of attendees. They offer free admission to an entertaining, and educational family event, while simultaneously contributing to their local community organizations. Led by an all-volunteer board sharing a deep passion for the festival’s success, the Little Bull Falls LogJam Festival has evolved into a premier family event for Central Wisconsin, boasting a diverse array of interactive, educational, and free activities for all ages. From captivating interactive displays to thrilling canoe rides reminiscent of Wisconsin River history, this festival promises a unique experience for everyone to enjoy.

This water trail is made possible by generous donations from local organizations and community members. Learn More →

JOIN OUR MAILING LIST

Sign up with your email address to receive news and event information.