Accommodations: bathroom in season, picnic tables, nature trail
Some alternate roads for scenic vistas
Lake Puckaway Loop (14 miles) Park at the Lake Puckaway Boat Launch Site at Fox Court and Toepper Drive. Begin by taking a left on Fox Ct, continuing onto CTY C, take a right on 18th Rd, right on Fern Ave, Left on 19th Ave, right on Evergreen Lane, right on Town Hall Rd. Continue straight on Fawn Dr, right on CTY C, a left on Riverview, right on 22nd Ct, left on Fern Dr, Right on 22nd Lane back to Fox Ct and take a right. This ride will take you through the Puckaway Marsh, and further north, past White Lake. Stop at the resort there and meet the “free-ranging” peacocks.
Apuckawa or Puckaway, use the Natvie American Apuckawa or Anglicized Puckaway, it's still a beautiful area to walk or bike. This quiet, mostly flat trail is the Lake Puckaway Loop just north of Puckaway Lake. The best place to start this trail is at the Puckaway boat launch. There, you can leave your car, take your bike off the rack, and pedal away into sublime country beauty. The boat launch area has picnic tables so you can start or end your ride with a relaxing snack or lunch. There are also bathrooms located at the boat launch site and the beautiful view of Puckaway Lake will make a rider want to stay. The lake is 5,433 acres. Bring binoculars and try to spot some of the hundreds of birds that migrate, live, or nest on Puckaway. There is also the Apuckawa Nature Trail at the boat launch so you can stretch your legs before or after your bike ride.
Before you leave the boat launch area and as you view the wide lake, think about how this area was inhabited for thousands of years by Paleo-Indian, Archaic, Woodland, and Oneota people and then by Ho Chunk and probably other Native Americans. The Puckaway wetland area was always a thriving place with plentiful food sources like wild rice and water fowl, turtles, and small mammals. The evidence of inhabitants as far back as 8,000 years has been found throughout the years. Their spear points and pottery sherds as well as camp sites and villages leave a record of their being here long before European settlers. The area you bike through was walked by men, women and children hundreds, even thousands of years ago who found their home here in the same land you now bike through.
Puckaway comes from a Native American term apuckawa or apuckawa meaning wild rice field, according to origin of place names on the Wisconsin Historic Society website. Mecan may be derived from an Ojibwa word for trail, mikana, as reported in The Romance of Wisconsin Place Names.
The Lake Puckaway Loop is just about 14 miles of mostly flat road. The far north section presents a few hills, most of which can be avoided, for those less athletic riders, if you turn south off Fawn Drive onto Town Hall Road and then take Fern Avenue west back to the designated route. But if you do take the shorter route, you’ll miss some beautiful country and good biking.
You may want to make a jaunt off the trail south onto County C off Riverview Drive to see a small roadside cemetery of early settlers, the few old headstones standing as a tribute to some of the people who were here over 100 years ago.
On the Lake Puckaway Loop you’ll see miles of hardwood forest, hear songs of scores of birds, and be able to view hundreds of wildflowers that vary throughout the spring through fall seasons. You’ll see nary a car as you pedal through lush vegetation and breathe fresh country air.
For miles you’ll only see woods and a few farm houses with outbuildings. Take a break for pictures at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, a beautiful example of the little country church, its spire reaching into the sky. Then, as you travel on 19th Avenue, you’ll drive by White Lake golf course and be able to peak through the woods and vintage resort cabins at White Lake where White Lake Resort keeps peacocks in the summer season. Look for their dramatic tail displays in spring. Stop by Sondalle's Golf Course, too and grab a sandwich on their deck. Along the lake on your route you'll find other stopping places like Good Old Days tavern and restaurant.
If you’re not riding through hardwood forest, it’s likely you’re gliding through wetlands where dragonflies hover and frogs croak out love songs. It’s prime area for bird watching. Don’t be surprised to see wild turkeys and white tailed deer along the route.
The Lake Puckaway Loop bike trail in Marquette County also makes a great walking trail. Of course, follow safe pedestrian walking guidelines if you head out by foot. If you leave from the boat launch, you can use your map to shorten the trail, and if you stay on the southern portion, you won’t have any uphill climbs.
Back roads pedaling or walking doesn’t get much better than on the Lake Puckaway Loop bike trail in Marquette County.
What you'll see:
Stretch your legs on the Apuckawa Nature Trail