After a long and brutal winter, Wisconsinites are ready to get outside! Spring is the perfect time for a bike ride and Wisconsin is home to four outstanding biking destinations, all just a short drive away.
Middleton boasts a nationally-recognized community trail system that runs through charming neighborhoods, beautiful parks and the pristine Pheasant Branch Conservancy, one of just 10 Wisconsin wetland gems. The conservancy has a 3.2 mile outdoor recreation loop and is dotted with ponds, wetlands and waterways. It’s also home to nearly 200 different species of birds, making for excellent birdwatching opportunities. In summer, come for one of the many “Bike the Bird City” events, which combine biking and birding for an invigorating and educational experience.
Middleton also has its own bike park with a pump track, jump line and a short single-track loop, providing adventurous riders with an exhilarating experience. The pump track is approximately 5,000 square feet and is designed so riders can maintain their momentum by moving their bodies in a pumping motion – no pedaling required. It’s a great way for mountain bikers to hone their skills. The jump line allows riders to launch into the air for big thrills and the single-track loop is a chance to do some pedaling along trails winding through the woods and over boardwalks.
Northwest of Middleton is another stellar biking destination, Onalaska. The city is linked to 101 miles of exceptional state bicycle trails and is conveniently located where two of the Midwest’s most beautiful bicycling trails, the Great River State Trail and the La Crosse River State Trail, meet. The Great River State Trail takes bikers through 24 miles of stunning scenery, traversing 18 different waterways, crossing the Black River on a former railroad trestle and following Lake Onalaska and the BNSF railway. The La Crosse River State Trail winds along 21.5 miles of crystal clear trout streams and picturesque farms from Onalaska to Sparta. Both trails have smooth surfaces to accommodate both road and mountain bikes.
For those in search of a bigger challenge, try biking up the towering bluffs in Onalaska’s Coulee Region. Beginners can try the Prairie or La Crosse Ridge Loop and more seasoned bikers will enjoy the challenges of the Darkside or French Connection trails. No matter your skill level, you’re in for a unique biking experience.
Across the state, on the shores of Lake Winnebago is Oshkosh, home to the renowned WIOWASH Trail. Its name comes from the counties it traverses: Winnebago, Outagamie, Waupaca and Shawano. The WIOWASH Trail is a favorite among nature lovers for its many wildlife and birdwatching opportunities. Bikers will pass Sunset Bay, an excellent fishing spot with lots of chances to see waterfowl and migrating in spring and summer and plenty of opportunities to peek at birds that prefer open fields. Keep riding and across the Rat River Bridge to spot beaver, muskrats, deer and plenty of waterfowl and songbirds.
In northwestern Wisconsin, Rusk County holds some of the state’s best rural biking. The Sister’s Farm Trail, on the inside bend of the Flambeau River, has a variety of trail loops for both single and multi-track biking and great views of the water. The Blue Hills of Rusk County offer more than 10 miles of trails, with the west side open and suitable for mountain biking over a rolling terrain. Cyclists will enjoy picturesque ponds and beautiful vistas. Just south of Ladysmith, explore the trails of the 32-acred Reclaimed Flambeau Mine site. Trails overlook the Flambeau River, meadows, wetlands and forests. For beginning cyclists and those riding with children, this is a perfect place to start.
Plan a trip to experience these amazing bike rides for yourself! For more information about these and other unique Wisconsin destinations, log on to witravelbestbets.com.