One of the first places I checked out after settling into the new house is a fatbike trail about mile away, right here in New Richmond! It’s a wonderful park known simply as Nature Center and is shared by skiers, fatbikers, runners, hikers, or those simply out for a walk with the dog. When I first rode it, it consisted of three main sections. A fourth section was recently added. I’ll give a brief overview of each section.
By automobile you can enter the Nature Center on County Road A, 1/10 of mile south of Bus 64. This is the meet-up point for most organized group rides. The park is also easily accessible to cyclists or pedestrians via a paved trail which parallels the north side of Bus 64 starting at East River Drive. There are no facilities other than a utility building and a fair weather pavilion. Trail length is roughly one mile if taking the outermost loop, but there are some cut-through trails which allow figure-of-eight loops until your heart is content. As with all sections the trail is well groomed, roughly six feet wide allowing bi-directional riding. The western edge of section I meanders along the Willow River. To the north is the Bus 64 bridge which has a double track trail between the Nature Center and the Section II.
To the north of Section I and east of the Willow River is Section II. It’s part of the New Richmond Golf Club and generously provided for wintertime use free of charge! As with Section I there are a couple of offshoot trails which allow you to stay in the fairway if you so choose and pound out oval laps. It’s a fairway area and is pretty much what you’d expect with a golf course, wide open with areas of groomed pine trees. Although relatively flat, the trails makes up for it with sheer beauty, especially along the northernmost wooded portion which follows the river’s edge before cutting south through the pines. There are a few punchy berm’ish ups-and-downs along the river section.
From Section I you can get to Section III by heading north under the bridge and keeping right until you come to the paved trail. Be aware this section is shared by snowmobile traffic from the east and west. Once clear just take the side path of the bridge to get to the other side. You will then take a cloverleaf exit and go under the bridge on the west side of the Willow. From there it’s roughly a quarter mile climb to Doar Prairie Savana, another generously approved park for fat bike usage with the same wide, well groomed trails. This section does seem to be less traveled by fat bikers and as such expect more bumps due to the “stampeding effect” of more foot tracks. Overall this section is about 1.5 miles from the bridge and taking the loop of the Savana back.
Section IV is accessible from Section II via an East/West orientated pedestrian/golf cart bridge over the Willow. It is entirely part of the New Richmond Golf Club and by far the longest and most challenging in terms of hills. Depending upon which way you loop it there are some sections where you can confidently descend at top speed, or climb in the low range of gears. As always, be mindful of blind corners and use common sense judgement when barreling down hills. One section to be mindful of during the day is the trail crossing at Saint Andrews Place, as there is no signage and pines block any sight lines when approaching the road from the west. This section comes in at approximately two miles.
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