Bicycling Along the Wisconsin Great River Road
The Wisconsin Great River Road links some of Wisconsin’s best bicycling opportunities.
Bicycle along the Wisconsin Great River Road, adjacent state trails or nearby scenic country roads. Go mountain biking or take a relaxing pedal along the Great River State Trail. Views of the bluffs, abundant wildlife, interesting places to stop and charming communities await you on your Wisconsin Great River Road bicycling adventure.
Enjoy history, bluff-top views, outstanding trails and charming river towns along the Wisconsin Great River Road—Wisconsin’s only designated National Scenic Byway.
The Great River State Trail follows the Mississippi River for 24 miles from Onalaska to a trailhead a few miles north of Trempealeau. Along its route, the Great River State Trail crosses 18 different streams and waterways. In the sleepy river town of Trempealeau you can stop to watch tugboats finesse 400-foot-long barges through Lock and Dam #6. And the nearby Perrot State Park is a scenic wonder, offering incredible views of the river and Trempealeau Mountain.
In Onalaska, the Great River State Trail links with the La Crosse River State Trail, which runs eastward for 21.5 miles along the winding route of the La Crosse River. Along the way, you’ll enjoy wetlands, lush green valleys and peaceful small towns.
Wyalusing State Park at Bagley offers seven miles of mountain bike trails in two looped trail systems. The Whitetail Meadows Trail runs along a ridgetop between woods and prairie grassland. The Mississippi Ridge Trail is a more heavily-wooded, 3-mile loop. At its mid-point, it offers a dandy picnic shelter and overlook of the river. Both trails are rated easy/moderate, ideal for beginners and families.
From easy rides for the family to fun for hardcore mountain bikers, these trails in La Crosse, WI have what you’re looking for. Trails are located in both the upper and lower Hixon Forest taking full advantage of the Mississippi River Bluffs. Trails are maintained and developed by the Outdoor Recreation Alliance
This 38-mile route northern links six pleasant river towns – Nelson, Pepin, Stockholm, Maiden Rock, Bay City and Hagar City. Nelson is famous for its ice cream parlor and cheese factory, as well as the Tiffany Bottoms, a 12,000-acre wildlife refuge that’s a prime breeding and migratory bird habitat. Pepin is the birthplace of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the “Little House” books. Stockholm boasts a vibrant artisan community – its Main Street is a wonderful mix of cafes, gift shops, galleries and antiques. Maiden Rock is named for the bluff above the city. It is the home of one of the state’s largest berry farms and apple orchards. Bay City, at the north end of Lake Pepin, is a popular stop for eagle watching, picnicking and fishing.
This shouldered section of Hwy 35 links Lynxville, Ferryville, De Soto, Victory and Genoa. At Lynxville you can watch barges come through Lock & Dam #9. Ferryville, built on a narrow ledge between the river and the bluffs, is the longest one-street village in the world. Three miles north of De Soto, Blackhawk Park is a 225-site, full-service campground operated by the Army Corps of Engineers on an island in the Mississippi. Genoa is the home of Lock & Dam #8, and Clement’s Fishing Barge, the oldest floating fishing platform on the river.
East of the river, many quiet country roads make excellent on-road bicycling forays. Roads run up over the bluffs, through quiet valleys and along wetlands and rivers. Picturesque farms and interesting sights await the adventurous rider. The Wisconsin Great River Road Bicycling Maps include connections from the Wisconsin Great River Road to some of the best country roads.