Wisconsin is home to some of the best mountain biking trails in the world. Wisconsin has it all, from easy and scenic rides for beginners to challenging technical terrain that will satisfy even the most advanced riders. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite 12 trails with descriptions below so you can plan your next bike adventure!
Today’s blog post includes our favorite Wisconsin mountain biking trails. The list includes Lowes Creek Trail in Eau Claire, Human Powered Trails in La Crosse, and Lake Koshkonong Dousman, Wisconsin.
The 12 Best Mountain Biking Trails in Wisconsin
Mountain biking is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and work up an appetite for some delicious Wisconsin cheese! The state has many trails that will satisfy riders of all skill levels, but these 12 are among the best in the country.
1) The Sugar River Trail – Brodhead, Wisconsin/ New Glarus, Wisconsin
The Sugar River State Trail follows an abandoned railroad line in south-central Wisconsin for 24 miles from New Glarus to Brodhead.
The Sugar River Trail near Brodhead is a popular route for mountain bikers due to its proximity to Madison and its easy-to-navigate terrain that makes it suitable for beginners. Nearby attractions include fishing on Lake Koshkonong, visiting Spencer Cone Park, or checking other nearby trails like Red Bird Trail or Streeter Creek Loop.
2) North Country Scenic and Doughboy’s Loop – Mellen, Wisconsin
Within Copper Falls State Park, North Country Scenic, and Doughboy’s Loop is a 1.6 mile (2.7 km) moderately trafficked loop trail located near Mellen, Wisconsin, that features a waterfall, wooded sections with various types of wildflowers and ferns, as well as rolling hills for the more adventurous hiker. The path explores two different ecosystems: woodlands to explore flora in Spring/Summer while Autumn takes over with rustic colors on leaves that measure up to four feet long! This year-round wonderland also has an access point off Route 155 South where you can take advantage of parking too close to the start (1? 2 mi) or one step further at the end (2 miles).
3) John Muir & Emma Carlin – Eagle, Wisconsin
Southeastern Wisconsin’s connected John Muir and Emma Carlin trails comprise another top regional mountain bike destination. Both are located in the Southern Kettle Moraine State Forest in Walworth County. The larger of the two, the Muir Trails, offers 27-plus miles of riding on five one-way loops that let riders mix and match distance and difficulty to fit their ability level.
Halfway around the Muir Trail’s Green Loop, riders can pick up the two-way Connector Trail to the Emma Carlin Trail, five miles to the north. Though less of a popular option than its sister trail, the Carlin Trail offers three loops that range from 2 to 4 miles and have difficult single-track sections, and rocky, rooted trail surfaced sections on the slopes.
4) Levis/Trow Mounds Trail – Neillsville, Wisconsin
Levis/Trow Mounds Trail is a 5.5 mile lightly trafficked loop trail near Neillsville, Wisconsin that features beautiful wildflowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers several activity options and is best used from March until October.
5) Lake Geneva Ziplines & Adventures – Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Lake Geneva Ziplines & Adventures is a company that offers zipline tours, single-track mountain biking excursions, and horseback riding trips. The canopy tour includes six platforms with zip lines stretching over 200 meters in length. In addition, there are Mountain biking trails for beginner, intermediate and expert levels. The trails wind through the forest and feature obstacles on the intermediate and expert level routes include ladder bridges, jumps, and switchbacks. Here is the bike trail map.
6) Crawford County Nature Trail System – Richland Center, Wisconsin
The Pine River Watershed Project is a fantastic destination for outdoor lovers. The trail follows the natural beauty of this beautiful river and offers plenty of challenges to get you on your feet, including bluff-top climbs! Those who want an even greater challenge take 15 miles through some rough terrain, all while getting in touch with nature.
7) Namakagon Cluster – Namakagon, Wisconsin
The Namakagon trail begins at the Namakagon Town Hall Trailhead. The Namakagon trail is a great ride for those looking to get their adrenaline pumping. The fast-paced, short bursts of moderate technical challenges are sure to keep riders on the edge of their seat as they grind up hills and fly down slopes with reckless abandon.
8) Uplands Loop Trail – Baraboo, Wisconsin
This beautiful park and campground are located on the banks of the Wisconsin River. The Uplands Loop Trail provides about 4 miles of “mountain bike” trail at Devil’s Lake State Park. The trail offers some medium effort sections on occasionally mowed grass trails for a short distance from the Steinke Basin parking lot in either direction. Still, soon cyclists will find themselves climbing over 200 feet to ride the fairly challenging Uplands Trail. Dirt, mud, loose rock & gravel, ruts, embedded boulders, and fallen trees can create potential hazards on sections of the trail.
9) Sand Lake Tour – Barron County, Wisconsin
Just because pedaling around Sand Lake is an easy ride doesn’t mean it’s 23 miles of flat trail! On the contrary, there’s just enough elevation – nearly 100 feet – to keep the riding interesting and give your legs a workout. The Sand Lake Tour is one of four scenic and lightly trafficked routes shown on the Bike Cumberland map produced by the Healthier Cumberland Coalition (see left). They also have another map that shows easy, shorter rides in-town.
As you pedal across the rolling landscape west of Cumberland, you’ll catch glimpses of Beaver Dam Lake and Sand Lake through the trees. They were once channels in the course of a mighty glacial river. The legacy of that old river is Cumberland’s moniker as “The Island City.” Most of the town is situated on an island that once split the river into two channels.
10) Oak Hill Mountain Bike Trail – Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
The Oak Hill Trail, north of Currie Park in Wauwatosa, is a moderately technical, though fairly flat, ride along the west side of the Menomonee River. The trail is mostly single-track with some tight and twisty climbs, boardwalk bridges, and even a couple of water crossings. Mountain bikes ride clockwise. The trailhead is 4000 N. Menomonee River Parkway, Wauwatosa (just north of Capitol Drive & Menomonee River Parkway), and is 4.6 miles long and is relatively easy.
11) Lake Koshkonong – Dousman, Wisconsin
I recommend going to Lake Koshkonong if you’re looking for a fun and beautiful place to explore. The trails are well maintained, long enough to keep things interesting while still being short enough not to take up too much of your day.
12) Kegel Alpha Mountain Bike Trail – Franklin, Wisconsin
The Kegel Alpha Trail is a 4-mile, single-track, narrow trail in Franklin, with a few steep or rocky segments just outside of Milwaukee County. Mountain bikes ride counterclockwise. The trailhead is located at 6740 S. 92 St. Whitnall Park (park in the Whitnall Park Golf Course parking lot.)