The Three Eagle Trail Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit, community based organization established to develop, construct and maintain a safe, family friendly, biking and walking transportation route connecting the Town of Three Lakes and the City of Eagle River. The Three Eagle Trail is supported, in concept, by the municipal entities of Three Lakes and Eagle River. The trail is a central component of a larger plan for pedestrian trail development by both Oneida and Vilas Counties as adopted by their County Boards in cooperation with the North Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission. The plans call for connecting north woods communities with safe pedestrian transportation alternatives to vehicular highway travel. Future connections to the Three Eagle Trail include trails leading to Land O’ Lakes and St Germain from Eagle River and to Sugar Camp and Monico from Three Lakes. The Land O’ Lakes and Monico connections would also utilize the old Chicago Northwestern Rail corridor to the maximum extent possible.
The southern segment of the trail is 8.4 miles long, ten feet wide and surfaced with crushed limestone. The trail also includes two boardwalks and one bridge as described below at miles 3.0, 5.5 and 6.5. The northern segment of the Trail in the City of Eagle River will be completed as Phase Two of the Trail project. Between the north and south Trail segments is approximately 3.8 miles of Sundstein Road, a very lightly traveled, paved road. A small parking area is available on the south end of Sundstein Road where the southern Trail segment begins.
Mile 0. The southern trial head is at Don Burnside Park in Three Lakes. The park has excellent parking and restroom facilities as well as tennis courts, basketball courts, baseball diamonds, soccer fields, playground, picnic tables and open and enclosed shelters. Pedestrian access to this popular and attractive park is greatly enhanced by the Three Eagle Trail.
Mile 0.2. The route heads north across private property past the former Three Lakes Train Depot ( now the home of the Three Lakes Winery) and then across County Highway A at a three way stop intersection to the rail corridor.
Mile 1.5. The trail crosses Rice Lake Road, a dead end road leading west just 0.2 mile to the Thunder Lake State Wildlife Area. The trail provides an alternative transportation mode for visiting this area for residents and seasonal visitors.
Mile 3.5. Trail leaves the RR corridor and heads west through level, wooded terrain.
Mile 5.0. Trail passes a small lake at the edge of wetland by way of a 250 foot long, ten foot wide, wood surfaced boardwalk on pilings, thirty inches above grade.
Mile 5.5. Trail passes just west of Clearwater Lake by way of a 550 foot long, ten foot wide, wood surfaced boardwalk through a Black Spruce swamp.
Mile 6.5. Trail crosses Mud Creek on a prefabricated steel bridge ten feet wide and 70 feet long before continuing through a level to gently rolling wooded area.
Mile 8.4. Southern Trail segment ends at a small parking area on Sundstein Road, a very lightly traveled, paved, town road.
Phase Two – the northern Trail segment in Eagle River will be primarily an east-west route starting at the Old Depot, heading southeast along the old rail right-of-way and then heading west just south of Dairy Queen to the Wisconsin Public Service Sub Station on Sundstein Road.
The trail is open to biking and walking from Spring through late fall. The trail serves as a viable and attractive transportation alternative to many residents, tourists and visitors. The trailheads in both communities are within one mile of schools, shopping districts, libraries, grocery stores, restaurants, town offices, museums and several municipal parks.
The southernmost three mile section of the trail also serves as a snowmobile trail in the winter season as approved by the Town of Three Lakes. Also, the northern (phase two) end of the trail may be used by snowmobiles as approved by the City of Eagle River.
In addition to its functional addition to Wisconsin’s multi-modal transportation system, the Three Eagle Trail is a major enhancement to tourism and economic development. It connects two vital, tourist based communities by way of a very scenic route showcasing northern Wisconsin’s rich environmental resources of woodland, lakes and marshland.
Total cost of planning, design and construction of the southern trail segment was $1,320,000. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation funded 80% of the design and construction costs through the Local Transportation Enhancement Program which is federally funded through the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). Also, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources contributed $104,000 under the Stewardship Grant. The remaining trail construction and maintenance expenses have been raised by the Three Eagle Trail Foundation, Inc. through generous donations from both public and private sources.