Anyone bike in Sparta Wisconsin?
I am thinking of taking the family to Sparta WI to ride the trails. Does anyone have suggestions on where to stay, where to get on the trail for the best ride. I have an 8 yr old and a 5 yr old, the youngest will be on a tag a long.
I've written the Elroy-Sparta trail a few times. I think the best web source for general info is www.elroy-sparta-trail.com.
Originally Posted by Pharmgirl
In Sparta the Best Nights Inn (www.bestnightsinn.com) was a decent place with a pool and food a reasonable walk away (I was there car-less and I didn't want to ride to dinner). They seemed to get a fair amount of truck traffic that night but it was during the week. I'm planning on staying there again this summer with my wife and two kids (8 & 12).
Near the other end of the trail in Kendall there's a very nice place right on the trail called the Country Livin Motel (www.countrylivinmotel.com). Unfortunately, there is NOTHING to do in Kendall. The motel has a small swingset and a fire pit. There's a bar that serves decent food and a mini mart with an ice cream counter. That's about it. I've stayed there with my wife but I wouldn't suggest it for kids.
As for getting on the trail. With small kids, I'd skip the Elroy-Kendall section since it's kind of boring. If you start at the Kendall trail headquarters you'll be pretty close to the first tunnel but you're still 26 miles from Sparta. If you start in Sparta there's also decent parking but you're 8 miles from a tunnel. If your kids can handle the 16 mile round trip though, Sparta is not a bad place to start. It would be a long gradual climb to the tunnel, they could explore the tunnel, and it's 8 miles downhill back to Sparta.
I'm guessing that you want a motel since you didn't mention camping, but just in case you are interested in camping: I camped at the park/fairgrounds in Elroy when I was there a few years ago. Tents $10. RV's $20. The city pool is very close, but I did not use it. The campground has flush toilets, but no showers, showers are available at the trail head, but close about 4pm. Elroy is a freindly, peaceful small town and I enjoyed my stay there very much - four nights in a row without hearing a single siren.
Be sure to have flashlights for the little ones when you get to the tunnels. If it is a sunny day, it will take your eyes a few minutes to adjust once you enter the tunnels, so it is difficult to see anything at first.
The '400' trail south out of Elroy is very flat and has a town every 5-7 miles. While riding it, I was thinking "what a perfect trail for families with small kids!"
Last edited by savage24; 06-04-06 at 05:42 AM.
"Marriage is a deathtrap these days. I would no more get married than I would own a chinese SUV."
Originally Posted by catatonic
No advice on hotels/motels, but as someone who has taken his kids to the trails, let me add to the "flashlight" advice ... bring a few bucks and let the kids buy a wooden train whistle. When I was there last (a few years ago) they sold them at the various trail info centers, and maybe even right at the tunnel. It was jarring to me the first time I entered the tunnel and heard the whistle ... ever since then my kids have gotten an absolute giggle out of jarring others lol.
We just did this over Memorial Day. We arrived in the evening stayed at the Country Livin' Motel in Kendall just because we could get a ride to Sparta. I think the service is $22, or was it $18? Anyway I did it with the wife towing the kid in the Chariot. The tunnels are fun, she had her HID and I had 30 watt Halogen full blast and it was still pitch black 100 yards down the tunnel.
No one carries the DogBoy
I like the park in Norwalk, going back toward elroy to ???? town that has the train caboose in the park and back. It makes for a short trip (10 mi or so round trip) and has something for the kids to do at each end.