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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,

My friends and I usually take a couple MTB trips during the year and I'm looking into the CAMBA trail system as a possible destination and was looking for your experiences good or otherwise. We'd be coming out of the Chicago area. Last year we did Brown County IN, and Copper Harbor MI for comparisons sake. If you were planning a trip to ride is this somewhere you'd plan to go having experienced the trails? I've been looking at some of the videos on YouTube and I see a lot of fire road. How is the single track? Is it easy to loop a ride together without having to load up the car and move to another trail head? If you traveled to this destination where did you stay? Any insight you guys have would be awesome. :D Thanks a bunch!
 

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CAMBA has a lot of singletrack trail to ride. They probably have about 60 or so miles of it, maybe more. Some of it is in clusters where you can ride and loop back to the car and another long stretch of trail links Hayward to the Telemark Lodge shadowing the Birkie ski trail. This has some areas that can be looped, but much of this will be out and back unless you drop a car on one end. It's not anything like Copper Harbor. Just not much for flowy downhill like you have at Copper. If you like a real backcountry feel (not many riders other than weekends), it is a fun place to ride. It is more for cross country riders, not for the gravity crowd though. Some of the trail is smooth, some of it is rocky. Most people either camp in the National Forest campground nearby, stay in some hotels in the towns, or some of the lake resorts. Check out the Angry Minnow brewpub in Hayward, the Brickhouse Cafe in Cable, and Rivers Eatery in Cable. You are less than an hour from Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands, so that is worth the trip also if you want something else to do. I've been going up there (live in Minneapolis) since 1994 and it has been great to see the change from fire roads, cross country ski trails, etc to the singletrack they have been putting in the past decade.
 

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singletracksuperfreak
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The CAMBA trails are out my backdoor. I ride them several times a week throughout the summer season. I would have to disagree with the previous commentor on loop options. The longest stretch I ever went on a trail without crossing a road was probably 15 or 20 min.

There are literally TONS of loop options available. Get yourself a CAMBA map pack & study the clusters. They are very well marked and constantly intersect with the network of county forest and forest service roads. This can be done on the fly too-it is literally impossible to get lost with all of the signage out there (and some basic orienteering skills).

The singletrack is very rolly, and overall low on the tech scale. Well suited to those on a xc hardtail. A few trails offer some more technical obstacles (mainly on the rock lake loop).

I'd spend a few days there, if I were you, then head over to Duluth for some real climbs and technical challenge.
 

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Of course there are a lot of loop options. Rock Lake/Namekogan are loop areas. Ojibwe and Hatchery Creek are loops, but what I meant to say is that Mosquito Brook to the Ojibwe loop are primarily a single trail. If course you can make much of this into loops with fire roads, but the op stated he wasn't very interested in fire roads. Plus the singletrack is so much fun, I personally like riding it out and back vs looping it with fire road. Different trail feel each direction. The previous poster mentioned something very cool about CAMBA, the talks are marked very well. Make sure you have a map and go explore. I truly love it up there. Been going there for 20 years.

Sent from my SPH-L720 using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks guys, I appreciate you taking the time to respond to my questions. Hopefully things will thaw and dry out pretty soon so we can get back on the trails sans snow, I'm ready for some dirt!
 

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I need skills
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For a mountain bike destination trip the CAMBA trail system is a great choice. There is more XC single track there than you could ride in a weekend. The fire road videos are probably from the fat tire 40, which is a fire road race and I wouldn't worry about that. I love Copper Harbor and greatly enjoy the CAMBA trails too.
Have fun.
 

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I agree there is lots of great singletrack in the CAMBA area. The top of my list is the Rock Lake/Patsy Lake/Namekagon loop at around 26 miles. It's all singletrack except for parts of Patsy Lake which has some double track.
 

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clown question, bro
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I would highly recommend the CAMBA trails as well. We try to get up there every summer [Central WI] and it never disappoints.

Last summer they connected the Cable and Hayward loops so it's possible to make a trip on [IIRC] entirely singletrack from one town to the other. It's supposed to be about 40 miles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
This is all good info guys, thanks. Looks like our first trip of the season is going to be up to Levis Mound, then maybe up to the CAMBA area trails later in the season... Still up in the air on that one. I really appreciate all the responses!
 

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Levis is awesome probably my favorite in the area. More big climbs then you'll find CAMBA. The downside is there is a lot of sand which can put a damper on the cornering fun. You should be ok early on in the season though before the ground dries out too much.
 

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The CAMBA trails are a ton of fun. My girlfriend and I went up there in July last year and had a blast on everything we rode. Rock lake loop and Makwa (I think that was the name) were our favorites. One thing to keep in mind would be mosquitoes, we camped at lake Namekagon and the skeeters last year were something else. We're hoping to go up early this year or after a freeze to avoid the bites. They won't bother you while your riding but after ride beers and camping was pretty much stay in the truck or tent. Levis shouldn't take long to be ridable, it's just down the road from my home and if the weather keeps cooperating I'm thinking within a week it will be golden on all the upper sections of trail.
 

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Perpetual n00b
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I'll second the skeeter problem at CAMBA. Stay away from Drummond trails. No good single track I could find and I never seen so much blood come out of my body. I was literally swarmed with mosquitoes as I struggled to put the bikes back on the car at the trail head. Thought I was gonna lose my mind. I actually screamed out loud.

That said, my favorite CAMBA trails are:

Namekagon
Hatchery Creek
Makwa
Seeley Pass

And the new trail at Mt. Ashwabay is pretty awesome too.
 

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Dan K. you guys still have a lot of snow on the ground there at Levis? Some pics from a couple weeks ago on the Facebook site looked like it was sparse.
I haven't swung over to check on the trails personally, but yeah at home basically everything is bare except for a few pockets on north facing slopes. Calling for near 70 and breezy tomorrow and had a rain yesterday that should have helped to push the frost out. The 10 day forecast looks promising! Won't be long now yeee haw!
 

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I have a place I go to 1/2 mile from Telemark, and go there a fair amount (and I rent it out: augiescabin.blogspot.com). The skeeters and ticks are really bad, in the spring. By fall it is completely different. There are tons of trails and always more being built. The Rock Lake/Namakagon loop is my favorite and one I do most often. I am not sure how close they are to being done, but you can almost ride from Rock Lake to Hayward on all singletrack. You can make Cable to Hayward though. The new stuff they are putting in is a lot more bermy "flow" trail, while the old stuff is more classic singletrack.

Levis is a lot of fun, but I been there several times for day trips and never seen a whole lot of off bike stuff to do. There is a bit more in the Cable/Hayward area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well for our first trip of the season looks like we're heading to Levis for a weekend in May. Hopefully everything works out weather-wise since it's been an interesting winter/spring this year. Stoked to hit Levis though, never been. Looks like a good time though! Maybe we'll hit the CAMBA stuff later this year.
 
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