Anyone, young or old who wants to appreciate Bayfield: lake and orchard will certainly want to take the Brownstone/Hatchery/Blue Vista ride. It is about 6-7 miles long and almost all flat or downhill. (Of course there’s a mile and a half of good climbing through beautiful, mixed hardwoods in order to earn the descent.)
The ride starts immediately in front of the bike shop. A tiny kiosk (look for the hanging petunia basket) in the middle of the lumber company’s yard shows the way. This is the Brownstone Trail, Bayfield’s only public access to the lakeshore. The well marked, self -propelled trail follows 2.6 miles of an old railroad bed that used to run from north of Bayfield all the way to Washburn. Thanks to the Bayfield Regional Conservancy that wrestled furiously for years to create this wonderful trail, we now are able to walk, jog, ski and bike along the edge of the sandstone cliffs overlooking the lake from town to Port Superior marina in Salmo Bay.
Ride the trail (follow the signs) all the way through to Port Superior Marina. Once there, check out the beautiful sailing yachts and the “marina life” then, look past the tennis courts for the entrance road leading out (100 yards) to Hiway # 13. Cross the hiway (careful! It’s not a commercial road but look both ways) and go left, stay on the wide shoulder, down the hill about 200 yards to Hatchery Road, a right turn. This is your uphill for about 1.5 miles. Before you turn on Hatchery Road to tackle this terrific climb, you may want to continue just a little farther on Hiway #13, over Pike’s Creek (narrow bridge!!) to the Les Voigt State Fish Hatchery. Tours are offered throughout this historic brownstone facility and no one, (especially the children) can resist leaning over the tanks and ponds of different sized fish in constant choreographed motion, gazing for a spellbound interlude. It’s worth the diversion!
Re-cross Pike’s Creek and take Hatchery Road up the hill. It’s a good climb. Don’t be afraid to dismount and walk; you can see more wildlife. At the top you find yourself at Four Corners. Straight ahead and to the right lies Co. Road J, to the left is Star Route. You want to turn right. You’ll see Blue Vista farm immediately on your right.
The farm is open to the public every day except Tuesdays and it must be visited. Fruits, flowers, vegetables and a magnificent view of the entire Chequamegon Bay await you and you’ll want to linger in the flower garden and soak it all in.
When you return out to Co. J, a breathtaking descent awaits you back down to Bayfield. If you should want another adventure, look for the sign to the golf course (a left) and make the steep winding climb up to the clubhouse and another famous view, this time of the Apostle Islands. At the bottom of Co. J you will turn left and ride the shoulder of Highway #13, ½ mile to town. You may want to this ride every day of your visit!