Eagle River proclaims itself the Snowmobiling Capital of the World, and they may well be right. With an abundance of snowfall every year, it boasts some of the best snowmobiling in the world. Numerous area snowmobile clubs groom and maintain a 600-mile trail network. The trails wind through beautiful forests, across frozen lakes and meander along numerous small streams including the Wisconsin River in its early stages as a small stream.

Eagle River is also home to the World Championship Snowmobiling Derby, the World Snowmobile Headquarters is located here, and the International Snowmobile Hall of Fame.

"I can snowmobile from here up to Michigan's UP, over to Minnesota and down to Illinois if there's enough snow," said Fred Brogel, owner of Have Sled Will Travel, a local guide service. "We can head up into Canada and just about anywhere north from there for multi-day trips on the trail."

I hooked up with Brogel for a day of snowmobiling recently while staying for three nights at Wild Eagle Lodge located on the area's beautiful Chain of 28 Lakes. Wild Eagle offers a nice selection of multiple bedroom lakeside lodge homes.

I don't own a snowmobile which was intriguing about Brogel's guide service. He imparts his considerable snowmobiling knowledge to you along the ride, and makes sure all the equipment and you are operating properly. He doesn't rent sleds, but points you to several options in the area. We went to Boat Sport Marina.

A normal day trip with Brogel will take you to the UP and possibly the Gogebic Mountains with a couple of warm-up stops along the way and a nice lunch at one of the local watering holes along the trail. Much of the ride is through forests with no signs of civilization. It was beautiful and exhilarating.

It was nice to be able to spend a day on the snowmobile trail without the hassle of owning and transporting my own sled and to have a knowledgeable guide lead me along the miles and miles of trails. This is a wonderful, safe opportunity if you've ever wanted to give the sport a try.

Snowgoer Magazine readers have consistently ranked the Eagle River Area as the best snowmobile destination vacation in the nation over the last decade. Check out Nero's (715-477-0555) if you're in the area for some of the best contemporary Italian cuisine north of Chicago. It was a delightful surprise.