Birthplace of the snowmobile

In 1924, a world of winter trail adventures started in Sayner, when Carl Eliason built his first “motor toboggan,” the world’s first modern snowmobile. Eliason’s invention is still on display at the Vilas County Historical Museum, located in Sayner. Today the area is an important snowmobiling hub, and snowmobilers launch new adventures from Sayner-Star Lake every day.

Get free trail maps that cover all of the county’s public snowmobile trails – download the Map It Vilas County trails app.

Thanks to a robust local snowmobiling club, the trails are well-groomed and well-marked. The Sayner-Star Lake Barnstormers were the original creators of the Vilas County trail system, and the club currently maintains part of the state’s oldest snowmobile trail, running through the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest, along with other trails that go through Arbor Vitae, Boulder Junction, Conover, Eagle River and St. Germain. Snowmobilers will find beautiful secluded forest trails as well as plenty of trailside amenities. A lot has changed since the day that Carl Eliason’s motor toboggan made its first tracks here, but the area is still a perfect place to enjoy a trail adventure. Get trail condition information.

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