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Wisconsin Trails

Old 07-25-10, 11:17 AM
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MJH
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Wisconsin Trails

I posted a similar thread in the touring section, but will expand here a little. My wife and i will be in Wisconsin in the Dells area in mid September. I was thinking of staying on a couple of days and riding the Elroy-Sparta Trail. Since I posted, I have been online and found out that I could probably ride about 4 trails totalling 100 miles in that general area.

Some questions:

I am still curious about the "wildlife" in the tunnels. I'm not big on creepy crawlies. I also figure there might be bats? I don't know.

Do they all connect pretty well? I'm talking the 400 Trail, the Elroy-Sparta Trail, the LaCrosse River Trail, and the Great River Trail.

Is one way more downhill than the other? East to West or West to East?

Is there plenty enough motels to stay in? I will be credit card touring. I figure 3 days riding.

I think that's all for now. Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-25-10, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by MJH View Post
I posted a similar thread in the touring section, but will expand here a little. My wife and i will be in Wisconsin in the Dells area in mid September. I was thinking of staying on a couple of days and riding the Elroy-Sparta Trail. Since I posted, I have been online and found out that I could probably ride about 4 trails totalling 100 miles in that general area.

Some questions:

I am still curious about the "wildlife" in the tunnels. I'm not big on creepy crawlies. I also figure there might be bats? I don't know.

Do they all connect pretty well? I'm talking the 400 Trail, the Elroy-Sparta Trail, the LaCrosse River Trail, and the Great River Trail.

Is one way more downhill than the other? East to West or West to East?

Is there plenty enough motels to stay in? I will be credit card touring. I figure 3 days riding.

I think that's all for now. Thanks in advance.
I am weirded out for several reasons:

1. You are the reason I had to register as MJH2;
2. You are from Illinois as well;
3. You are asking about Elroy-Sparta.

I did most of Elroy-Sparta for the first time this weekend. Rails-to-Trails paths can be boring (flat and straight for miles on end) and I was ready to be disappointed. I really enjoyed it, though. The lack of road crossings offered a nice change of pace from the trails here.

If you do it, I'd suggest starting in Sparta and going "backwards". That way, you'll hit the "big" tunnel first. It's pretty damn awesome. Not that the other two aren't, but it's nice to start off with the "wow".

Absolutely nothing to worry about in those tunnels. With the exception of the second trip through the second tunnel (started in Sparta, rode west through all 3 tunnels, and then turned around and rode back) there were enough people walking through that critters wouldn't ever be a problem. They're not joking about walking the bike and brining a light, though!

Not sure if you're looking to ride along there and camp, but there was plenty of opportunity for that.

I don't know much about how they all connect, other than to say that it looked like the Western end of Elroy-Sparta was right at the beginning of the Lacrosse trail.
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Old 07-26-10, 07:37 AM
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This is like a twilight zone episode. I'm out.
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Old 07-26-10, 03:11 PM
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All four trails connect into one long trail.
http://www.bike4trails.com/Bike4Trailsmap.pdf
I rode from one end to the other a few years back. There is camping in several areas, and plenty of places to lodge along the trail, especially Sparta and LaCrosse.
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Old 07-26-10, 04:09 PM
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Creepy Crawlies? Not here in Wisconsin. You might run across a stray puma or bear, but they usually target bird feeders, not cyclists. You may also encounter a lost Hippie, but a creepy as they my appear, they're harmless for the most part.

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Old 08-12-10, 07:36 PM
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My wife and I just rode the 4 Trails two weeks ago. Get the full report on my blog here:

http://www.biketoledo.net/pages/4trailsblog.html
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Old 08-13-10, 10:59 AM
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Great blog about the ride! It will really help as I plan my trip.
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Old 08-13-10, 11:14 AM
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Bring a light for the tunnels, they're not kidding about needing one. The light and the noise the tourists make kept the critters away when we were up there. These trails are old railroad routes, and are all pretty level.

We stayed here in New Glarus, and they were very cycle friendly. The place is about a block from the trail (and easy to access), and offered to let us keep our bikes in the room. Great beer in town too, I'd recommend both if you get that way.

Earth Rider Hotel in Brodhead seems to be out of business, and was another place that catered to cyclists.
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Old 08-19-10, 08:20 PM
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Thanks for the map. I've done Sparta-Elroy twice in the last 2 years. Looks like doing the entire 100 miles would make for a nice vacation.
I didn't see any bats, but you need a flashight, and you might want a shirt/sweater/raincoat in the long tunnel. Even in the dead of summer.
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Old 08-31-10, 07:34 PM
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The "400" State Trail is near Wisconsin Dells. When in Wisconsin Dells, I drove to the trailhead in Reedsburg and biked from Reedsburg to Elroy and back. I found the trip from Reedsburg to Wonewoc the most scenic. It crisscrosses the Baraboo River and there'll be a few sandstone bluffs, after Wonewoc there were a lot of rolling croplands and pastures.

http://dnr.wi.gov/org/land/parks/specific/400/

It does connect to the Elroy - Sparta trail. I biked the trail from Sparta to the first tunnel and enjoyed it a lot. I heard some doves but no bats in the largest tunnel. Someone told me that trout live in the cold waters that run along the wall/trail but I didn't see any.

http://dnr.wi.gov/org/land/parks/specific/elroysparta/

From Sparta I also biked the La Crosse River State Trail from Sparta to Bangor. That was a boring ride. The trail runs along a highway and an existing rail line. I would hop back in the car and head to La Crosse to the Great River State Trail. I enjoyed this trail the most.

http://dnr.wi.gov/org/land/parks/specific/greatriver/

The area around the 287-foot steel trestle that cross the Black River at Lytles Landing is very scenic. I would go for miles without seeing anyone and when you get around Perrot State Park the wildlife was abundant. The number of different birds that you'll see will be amazing.

La Crosse will also have some great places to dine. After a great ride, I'm sure you and your wife will enjoy a great dinner as well.
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Old 09-01-10, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by no motor? View Post
Bring a light for the tunnels, they're not kidding about needing one. The light and the noise the tourists make kept the critters away when we were up there. These trails are old railroad routes, and are all pretty level.

We stayed here in New Glarus, and they were very cycle friendly. The place is about a block from the trail (and easy to access), and offered to let us keep our bikes in the room. Great beer in town too, I'd recommend both if you get that way.

Earth Rider Hotel in Brodhead seems to be out of business, and was another place that catered to cyclists.
If you are in New Glarus you need to check out the new digs for the Brewery there it is very nice and they offer tours at times.
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