The Wisconsin State Park System includes many miles of trails and varied terrain that make Wisconsin great for bicycling. The League of American Bicyclists recently ranked Wisconsin No. 3 in the nation for bicycling!
There are over one thousand miles of great off-road bicycling opportunities on public lands throughout Wisconsin. The Wisconsin DNR designated trails include three different types of trails for bicyclists:
- Bicycle touring trails – There are about thirty of these easier trails with paved, granite, or limestone-surfaced former railroad corridors. The trails are usually appropriate for all ability levels, mountain bikes, and bikes with skinny tires. For information on all the trails, check out the DNR touring trail list which includes surface, location, if a trail fee is applicable, and length of trail with distances ranging from four to nearly ninety miles long in the state parks, forests and wildlife areas. Some additional parks and forests have shorter connecting trails and many have low-traffic roads which also are good for bicycling.
- Off-road bicycle trails – The intermediate-level biking trails are often in the woods with a variety of surfaces ranging from soil to wood chips. There are about thirty of these trails with distances varying from only two miles long to about 470 miles long! These off-road trails are appropriate for families with more adventurous riders and hybrid or mountain bikes. These trails are usually unsurfaced and located in state parks, forests or recreation areas, or are on former rail lines. However, these trails may be periodically closed due to surface conditions so for more information, see DNR’s current conditions page or click the trail name for the appropriate phone number.
- Constructed mountain bike trails – These trails are specially constructed, challenging, and narrow trails built to the trail standards of the International Mountain Bicycling Association. The Wisconsin State Park System currently has about 50 miles of constructed mountain bike trails in five areas ranging from two to twenty miles long. These trails are mostly singletrack where riders need to ride single-file; however, some are wide enough to be considered doubletrack. At times, trails may be closed due to surface conditions so please see the DNR current conditions page or click the property name link for the phone number.
- In addition to the Wisconsin DNR trails listed above, local bike clubs throughout the state also construct and maintain mountain bike trails with land managers. One example is in northern Wisconsin where the Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association has developed a system of trails in and around the Chequamegon National Forest.
According to a May 4, 2015, Singletracks article, the 2015 most popular U.S. mountain bike trails for each state is now available. Based on nearly 10,000 reviews, Singletracks determined the most popular trails from the average reviewer rating, the number of reviews, number of Singletracks members who have ridden the trail, and number of Singletracks members who want to ride the trail. For 2015, the most popular Wisconsin biking trail is Lowes Creek located in Eau Claire in western Wisconsin!
State Trail Passes & Vehicle Admission Stickers
Last but not least, before you hit the trails in our beautiful state, don’t forget that bikers age 16 and older must have a state trail pass. The passes are available daily or annually (January 1 – December 31). Whether you are a Wisconsin resident or non-resident, the daily passes are $4, while the annual passes are good statewide and are only $20 for the entire year. In addition to biking, a state trail pass also is required for individuals age 16 or older for in-line skating, horseback riding, cross-country skiing or off-highway motorcycling on certain trails. A state trail pass is not required for walking or hiking. A state trail pass is issued to the person, not the bike, horse, motorcycle, etc., and is non-transferable to another person.
A vehicle admission sticker is required on all motor vehicles stopping in state parks and recreation areas. Some state forest and trail parking areas also require a vehicle admission sticker.
Did you ever wonder what your state trail fees were used for? State trail pass fees cover costs for things like dealing with erosion, trash removal, maintaining safe surfaces, trimming brush, removing fallen trees and law enforcement.
Click here for information on purchasing your state trail passes or vehicle admission stickers.
Explore Wisconsin wishes you and your family safe biking as you explore our beautiful state!