Photo by William Hook on Unsplash
Bring the Bike! Trails along the Great River Road
Biking is becoming a popular activity and a great way to get outside and experience the landscape along the Wisconsin Great River Road. There are a lot of choices, from low grade easy trail biking, to challenging road biking up hills and down into deep valleys. Biking along the Wisconsin Great River Road knows no season with winter bike trails for the fat bike enthusiasts, and summertime single tracks.
Here’s some great choices in each of the categories of bicycling; whether you’re into fat biking, road biking, trail biking or mountain biking, you’ll find fun along the way.
Mountain Bike Trails – Pierce County
White Tail Ridge near Little Falls, WI is one of the premiere mountain biking spots in Western Wisconsin. Easy, Intermediate, and Advance trails allow for any skill level to get out and enjoy themselves. Great connecting trails throughout the system allow you to plan your own unique day out. Jump lines and a skill park add to the fun. While it’s a great activity for the whole family, adults on the trail can take a break and ride the short side path to the Rush River Tap Room for some local craft brews.
Rails to Trail Biking
La Crosse County: There are two connecting rails to trails bicycle trails in and around La Crosse, WI. These low grade, crushed limestone based trails were once railroad beds. They make for some easy biking through forests, prairies, farmlands, and wetlands. The Great River State Trail starts in Onalaska, WI and heads north through Trempealeau. This bike trail goes over an old trestle bridge across the Black River. The La Crosse River State Trail starts in La Crosse and heads East, following along the La Crosse River and through a State Prairie Natural Area. Passes are required.
Buffalo County: A new rails to trails program is in the works for Buffalo County that will eventually connect to the Great River State Trail. Phase One of the Flyway Trail is complete with a bicycle bridge built across the Mississippi River to Winona, MN. Phase Two will be the 2.8 miles needed to connect to the Great River State Trail, Phase Three will see the trail moving north through Buffalo County. When completed the trail will be 50 miles long, making the entire length of connecting trails over 150 miles!
Road Biking – Grant County
The Wyalusing Loop is 51 miles of rolling hills through the Driftless Region of Southwestern Wisconsin and Mississippi River views. The route begins and ends in Bagley, Wisconsin and has some challenging climbs and descents along the way. This road ride takes you through small towns and farming communities that are quaint and picturesque. Red barns and Holstein cows, crossing small trout streams and passing tractors, it is quintessential Wisconsin. The ride will take you past Wyalusing State Park and it’s well worth your time to swing in for a visit and check out the expansive view of the Wisconsin River meeting the Mississippi.
Fat Bike Trails – Trempealeau County
When winter hits and the snow falls, that doesn’t have to mean the end to the biking season. Fat bikes are mountain bikes with wide tires to more easily traverse sand and snow. Perrot State Park and the Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge near Trempealeau, WI are both great locations to bring out the fat bike and hit the snow. The Great River State Trail also runs along the edge of Perrot State Park and fat biking is welcome on the trail. The Wisconsin DNR allows fat biking on any winter trail as long as it’s not groomed for cross-country skiing or the local government decided to ban it. You can find a list here.