The Story of Hurley: Connecting Trails to the Community

Hailey Rose

October 10, 2023

Photo Credit: Discover Mediaworks

Nestled in the utmost Northern region of the state lies the charming, community-centered town of Hurley. Hurley is tucked in Iron County–the snow capital of Wisconsin–and it surely lives up to its title. But the snow has never stopped the community from getting outside and connecting with one another by trail. Hurley continues to add on to their rich history by grooming trails, providing trails for visitors and locals alike to explore, and captures the heart of the community downtown. Read more to hear the full story of Hurley!

Hurley’s Grooming History

Photo Credit: Discover Mediaworks

Dating back to 1970, the White Thunder Riders Snowmobile Club was formed by local community members dedicated to grooming trails and connecting Hurley together. Among these generous volunteers was Larry Erickson. He’s been a part of the club since the beginning when there were just about 10 to 20 members and has watched it grow to now well over 300 members. One of these members is his grandson, Brodie Erickson, who continues carrying on the grooming tradition and legacy his grandfather introduced him to. 

At the age of four years old, Brodie began snowmobiling and learning the ropes. Then, by the age of six, he was ready to upgrade to a full-size machine. With his personal experience falling in love with snowmobiling, he steps in to assist with the Iron County Little Rippers Club open for those ages 12-21, who are looking to learn how to ride.

Given that Iron County is the snow capital of Wisconsin, there are a total of two snow clubs that cover all the bases–the White Thunder Riders and the Mercer Sno-Goers. In addition, the Iron County Forestry also helps groom the extensive trail system. Working together, they are able to provide pristine trails for locals and visitors alike to enjoy all winter long.

Exploring the Connecting Trails

Photo Credit: Discover Mediaworks

Hurley’s trail system is extensive, to say the least. There are over 300 funded miles of snowmobile trails plus town road routes, which connect the local businesses together. Iron County’s trails even connect far beyond the county line. Riders can venture to Ashland, Price, and even Vilas County

As you can see, there will be plenty of exploration ahead when you visit Hurley. And don’t worry… there will be plenty of snow, too. Annually, the average snowfall is around 200 inches. The snowy landscape is truly spectacular to ride in among the towering trees and surrounding Penokee Mountain Range.

To ensure trail safety, many precautions have been taken and implemented among the community to keep all riders safe and prepared for any emergency while on the remote and rugged trails. Local businesses connected to the trail system have started carrying first aid kits and clearly display wifi passwords outside in case they are closed for cell service at any time of an emergency. Also, as you ride, keep an eye out for numbered intersections on the trail marker signs to stay safe and know where you are at all times.

Downtown Hurley: The Heart of the Community

Photo Credit: Discover Mediaworks

The town of Hurley is truly rooted in community from local volunteer snow clubs to connecting snowmobile trails to downtown Hurley–the heart of the community. Downtown Hurley is a must-stop filled with one-of-a-kind local businesses. 

A local gem to kick-start your day is Sharon’s Coffee Company! But there is far more than just delicious coffee… Sharon’s serves hot bakery, breakfast, lunch, and even dinners on Friday and Saturday nights! Each week, menu items change offering new flavors and foods to try that will keep you coming back for more. And besides the fresh food, check out their boutique-style retail items. 

Speaking of local flavors, Iron Nugget is famous for their unique flare! Taste each of their mouthwatering courses including appetizers, specialty pizzas and pastas, hand-held sandwiches, salads, steak, and seafood. There’s certainly more than a little something for everyone. To pair with their amazing dishes, Iron Nugget will be opening an in-house brewery fermenting flavorful brews you’ll love.

Hurley’s story continues to be told today–no matter how much snow falls, the community always finds a way to get outside and connect with one another by trail. From Hurley’s grooming history, connecting trails, and community-centered downtown, this Northern Wisconsin small-town is truly a heart-warming destination worth visiting. 

The story of Hurley doesn’t stop there…Watch Discover Wisconsin’s digital short ‘Snowy Grandfather and Grandson Duo of Hurley’ to hear more: 

*This article is brought to you with support from Enbridge. 

Hailey Rose: Writer for Discover Mediaworks. A born & bred Wisconsinite with a love for fishing, hunting, and enjoying the great outdoors.

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