Follow The Timber Trails
Tall stands of timber brought early settlers to the valley of the Chippewa River in the middle of the 19th century. Following treaties with the Ojibwe and Dakota who already lived here, Yankees, Canadians and Europeans poured into the region. As you travel the Chippewa Valley today, you experience the land and the legacy of people who followed the timber trails. The Timber Trails tours help reveal the hidden history that exists throughout the Chippewa Valley. Four main themes define the distinctive character of the Chippewa Valley. These themes appear in each of the Timber Trails tours.
Select an area or tour number to learn more about the tours.
Eau Claire, Downsville, & Menomonie
You'll be surprised how much the landscape can change in just a few miles. Explore river bottoms, prairies, deep ravines, oxbow lakes -- and lots of local history -- on this tour of the city of Eau Claire and southern Dunn County. See old mills, ferry landings, and even the site of a ghost town. There are lots of scenic riverside stops on this tour, too, so plan ahead with a picnic lunch. Or bring a cooler and fish for your dinner at a commercial fish farm along the route! The tour ends in Carson Park, the crown jewel of Eau Claire, where you can stretch your legs or continue your history adventure in the park's two award-winning museums.See Trail
Chippewa Falls & Chippewa County
Beginning in historic downtown Chippewa Falls, follow the Chippewa River deep into logging country on this fascinating tour of Chippewa County. See one-of-a-kind pieces of history like the Cobban truss bridge, the Cornell Pulpwood Stacker, and the Holcombe Indian statue. And of course, learn about the region's most famous resident, Old Abe. From Holcombe, drive through scenic hills of glacial moraine country before emerging back onto level prairie farmland. This tour ends with a double shot of relaxation. Visit the Leine Lodge and tour the Leinenkugel's Brewery and then kick back with the animals in Chippewa Falls' expansive Irvine Park.See Trail
Eau Claire, Town of La Fayette, Augusta, Fall Creek & Altoona
This tour begins at a huge factory and ends at a railroad boomtown known by the nickname "Cinder City." But don't let those two industrial sites fool you; this tour will take you to some of the most scenic destinations in the entire Chippewa Valley. Visit beautiful natural landmarks like Big Falls, charming buildings like Dell's Mill, and acres of glorious orchards in southern Chippewa County. If you're hoping to see iconic Wisconsin dairy farms, this is probably the tour for you. You'll even stop at a one-of-a-kind cheese factory in the town of Augusta. At every stop, you'll learn about the people who shaped our region's history.See Trail
Menomonie, Knapp, Boyceville & Colfax
The first three stops on this tour--a world-renowned theater, a mansion home, and a small railroad boomtown--all help tell the story of Knapp, Stout & Co. It was once the largest lumber company in the world, and it developed right here in Dunn County. At the end of the tour, you'll visit several locations that are both beautiful and important to the region's American Indian history. In between, you'll get to explore small towns noted for a wide range of agricultural products--cheese, pickles, rutabagas--and drive some of the most scenic roads in the Chippewa Valley.See Trail