Bicycling The 400 State Trail


Views along the 400 State Trail
Views along the 400 State Trail

Quiet, serene, gorgeous scenery, charming trail towns ... summer just isn't summer without a bike ride on Wisconsin's 400 State trail.  The trail named after a railroad which made the 400 mile journey from Chicago to Minneapolis is a 22 mile flat trail paved with crushed stone that makes its route between Reedsburg and Elroy Wisconsin.

The 400 Trail also connectis directily to The HilsboroTrail, Elroy Sparta Trail, Lacrosse River Trail, Great River Trail, and the Omaha Trail.

The 400 State Trail travels alongside the picture perfect oxbowing Baraboo River and through Wisconsin's rural Driftless region. Pack your cameras, bikes, and a bottle of water - this is one of the best bike trails in the State.




Baraboo River along the 400 State Trail
Baraboo River along the 400 State Trail


Cutting a trail through the driftless region brings bicyclists, horseback riders, and snowmobilers close to wondrous rock outcroppings, and through deep forests and open prairie lands. The Baraboo river makes countless hard turns near the trail and offers scenic vistas along the entire journey. But, my favorite part of this trail is the lack of traffic noise. You will find yourself far from major roads most of the way.

For an especially scenic section of the 400 trail bike from La Valle to Wonewoc. Unlike many rails-to-trails pathways, the 400 trail is not hedged in by thick undergrowth. There are wide open views of pastoral farmlands and shaded sections of deep forest.

The trail towns along the 400 are also noteworthy compared to other Wisconsin trails. Reedsburg has a picture perfect downtown that is busy with commerce. You'll find local bookstores, music shops, furniture stores, general stores, dinners, restaurants, and about 30 barber shops all still holding their ground in 100 year old brick buildings lining main street. This is all located just a couple blocks from the historic train depot which now serves as the 400 State Trail main office and trailhead.

From Reedsburg you will bike alongside the Baraboo River through shaded woodlands to La Valle. La Valle is an impossibly small town that has made the 400 trail its central feature. Stop here for a bite to eat at the Trail Break Pizza and Snack shop. Sit at the patio bar and enjoy a home made pizza that is worth pedaling for.

After drinks and pizza in La Valle, continue on North to Wonewoc. Stop here at Center Street Coffee and Drinks for a barista made latte and an ice cream cone. The small downtown in Wonewoc is abundant with antique stores, restaurants, and a great outfitter that rents bikes for the trail and canoes for the Baraboo River.

Another 8 miles North of Wonewoc and you will have completed the length of the 400 trail and find yourself in Elroy. This small town claims to be bicycle city USA. It's at the intersection of three major bike trails including America's first rail trail - the famed Elroy Sparta Trail.

If you enjoy riding the 400 trail as much as I did, then you know you'll be coming back year after year to do it again with friends and family.

Links, photos, and a map below ...

Entering La Valle WI on the 400 State Trail
Entering La Valle WI on the 400 State Trail


Overview: 400 State Trail


COUNTY: Sauk, Juneau
COMMUNITIES: Reedsburg, La Valle, Wonewoc, Union Center, Elroy

TOTAL MILES: 22
PAVEMENT: Crushed Stone
DIFFICULTY: Easy

FEE: State Trail Pass (2015 = $4day/$20annual)

POINTS OF INTEREST: Baraboo River, Dutch Hollow


Directions and Trail Map




Reedsburg Parking: 402 S Walnut St, Reedsburg, WI 53959

LaValle Parking: 309 Trail St, La Valle, WI 53941

Wonewoc Parking: 275-287 Gordon St, Wonewoc, WI 53968

Union Center Parking: 101-103 High St, Wonewoc, WI 53968

Elroy Parking: 370-398 Franklin St, Elroy, WI 53929

From Milwaukee2 Hours
From Madison1 Hour
From Green Bay3 Hours
From Wausau2 Hours
From Minneapolis3.5 Hours
From Chicago3 Hours


Photos



The Baraboo River on the 400 State Trail
The Baraboo River on the 400 State Trail

Entering Wonewoc WI on the 400 State Trail
Entering Wonewoc WI on the 400 State Trail


Views from the 400 State Trail
Views from the 400 State Trail

Views from the 400 State Trail
Views from the 400 State Trail

Center Street Treats in Wonewoc WI on the 400 State Trail
Center Street Treats in Wonewoc WI on the 400 State Trail


Reedsburg Depot on the 400 State Trail
Reedsburg Depot on the 400 State Trail

Glazed Block Building found along the 400 State Trail
Glazed Block Building found along the 400 State Trail