WAUZEKA - With the recent 75 degree weather, many folks have felt the urge to escape to the great outdoors.
Across the Driftless Region, many people have been utilizing our country roads that are approved for use by ATV and UTV drivers.
However, in rural Wauzeka, the experience is being taken to the next level. Larsen UTV got its start in the summer of 2020 as many were looking for ways to escape the weight of the pandemic.
“It started when more and more people were renting our AirBnB and saw that we had a side by side (UTV) and asked if they could rent it,” owner Travis Larsen explained.
The family property already offered a wealth of trails and opportunity for riders, resting on 600 acres of pristine Driftless land in rural Wauzeka. So offering it to others seemed like a natural choice for Larsen.
The land features a variety of different landscapes and trails, from easy riding, to the more tough climbs and muddy fun. As well as what Larsen notes is Wisconsin’s largest one-room cave.
“We get a lot of people who come out with their family and drive around and explore the cave,” Larsen noted.
There are three different UTVs for rent currently available to accommodate a variety of rider desires and abilities.
“My favorite is probably the Kawasaki Teryx 4,” Larsen shared. “It’s a little less horsepower but a very comfortable ride.”
The Kawasaki offers quality bucket seats among other features.
Also available is a Polaris RZR 1000 4, which is a higher-power machine that seats four and boasts the ability to make it up and down the hills on the trails with ease. There is also a more classic model, the CAN-AM Defender HD-10 which resembles a more familiar ‘Mule-type’ of machine. Equipped with a bench seat, perfect for a family of three or a couple.
Each one of the units cost $250 a day to rent and ride on the trails.
Riders with their own machines are also welcomed to come and tackle the trails in Wauzeka. Those who bring their own or ride in to experience the landscape will pay $20 per UTV/ATV and $5 per passenger, per day.
“It seems like since the pandemic, there have been a lot of people who wanted to get out and enjoy the woods and the country,” Larsen said. “And we are able to offer a little bit of everything here for riders. We have quieter easier trails for someone just looking for a nice nature drive, and we have some mud and hills to climb for those looking for a little more adventure.
“We’re always out there working, fixing and grooming the trails,” he explained.
Larsen also added that all of the trails are mapped on Google Maps to make things easy.
Riders must be 25 years old to rent or drive the rental vehicles. Riders 18 and under must wear a helmet. ATV riders are also required to wear a helmey,t while on the trails.
Recent reviews of the trails at the Larsen property have been enthusiastic.
“We had a group of 15 people, eight UTVs and two ATVs and this place is a blast to ride at! Lots of cool and technical trails,” one review gushed.
“Great local privately owned off road park,” another review noted. “Most trails are easy to moderate riding with some difficult trails too. Also has some great natural scenery.”
“We’ve had a mix of people from local and far,” Larsen said of his clientele. “We even had one couple who stopped from New York on a road trip. It's been pretty cool to meet everyone. It is nice that people can even ride in and go get something to eat at the local bar and grill and come check out the trails.”
UTV and ATV use has grown significantly in the area thanks in part to the law change introduced in 2018 which legally allowed them on designated roads. Since then, many groups of riders have been formed and have helped pay for signage on local roads indicating where riding was available and promoting local businesses and safety.
Despite the widespread popularity of the pastime, as Larsen points out, newcomers are always welcomed.
“We’re happy to walk them through how to use it and make sure they feel comfortable,” Larsen said. “We’re insured and everyone signs a waiver before hitting the trails.”
To learn more about Larsen UTV/ATV rental or to book a day to hit the trails yourself, you can check out www.larsenutvrentals.comor call 608-412-4087.Trails are open until September 1 when they close for the deer hunting season, but the fun resumes February 1.