Biking the Ice Age National Trail - Janesville Segment


Biking Along the Ice Age Trail Janesville Segment
Biking Along the Ice Age Trail Janesville Segment


The Janesville Segment of the Ice Age National Trail is a set of connecting paved bike trails that cuts through the city of Janesville. The majority of the trail is buffered by city parks and greenways. Its 10.4 miles of trail begins in Riverside Park on the Kiwanis Trail which hugs the Rock River to downtown Janesville.

After crossing the Rock river on a pedestrian bridge riders and hikers meander through Palmer Park and the Green Belt towards a final connection with the Janesville to Milton Segment of the IAT. This peaceful route brings hikers past many of Janesville's top attractions including: Rotary Botanical Gardens, The Rock River dam and turbine, Lion's Beach, Blackhawk's Grove, Blackhawk Golf Course, Palmer Park, and Riverside Park.

There are also connecting bike trails that include the Sports Complex Loop and the Peace Trail. This trail is well serviced with restrooms, water stations, picnic shelters (which become great places to wait out storms), and plenty of benches with views of Janesville's thriving recreational culture.




Biking Along the Ice Age Trail Janesville Segment
Biking Along the Ice Age Trail Janesville Segment


Anyone who says that America isn't great anymore needs to visit Janesville Wisconsin. It's a solid Midwestern heartland town that had it not featured the Ice Age National Trail  I probably wouldn't have visited. In truth, I expected Jannesville to be a shell of a city, burnt out and run down by the series of economic hits it has taken in the chin over the past decade. But, I was mistaken. If this town's economy isn't thriving you wouldn't know it from its expressive community celebrating the weekend on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon.

These people take their picnicking seriously. At the trailhead in Riverside Park cars were lining up with families staking a claim for the day along the shaded shore of the Rock River. They were moving in with large buffets of grilling delights, setting up hammocks, and baiting their lines for the big catch. I saw a number of adults and children reeling in large bass and river trout along my ride.

The IAT segment traditionally begins in Riverside Park between an artesian well and a sign making the Kiwanis Trail. I traded in my hiking boots and trekking poles for sandals and a bike on this section of the IAT. The route began beautifully, hugging the banks of the wide Rock River. After one small hill climb, I rolled into downtown where the trail turns to sidewalk - a traditional downtown riverwalk.

The Rock River downtown Janesville WI on the IAT
The Rock River downtown Janesville WI on the IAT


I passed quickly through downtown. The trail does run along a couple of streets through an old industrial area for about 4 blocks. It then becomes bike trail again and crosses the Rock River on a pedestrian bridge. I biked onward past an old ballpark and a state historical marker. The next section of trail meandered though lightly forested areas alongside a stream and highway drainage.

The trail emerged from this shaded area into Palmer park near Rotary Park Botanical Gardens. The park here was filled with families out for a day of play in the fine weather as well. Further up, the trail cuts through a series of greenways called The Green Belt. After crossing under the highway there is a short segment that skirts around the parking lot of a shopping mall and it is not much further to the Janesville to Milton Segment.

I didn't expect this trail to be as nice and enjoyable as it was. As a bike trail, it is comparable to the Capitol City Trail in Madison or the Oak Leaf Trail in Milwaukee. With a mix of urban areas and parkways there is a lot to do along the trail and access to eateries, bars, and coffee shops - but when you are on the trail it feels like being out in nature and away from it all.

I recommend this trail as a biking, walking, or running destination. Totally worth a drive to check this out.

More pictures below the trail map.

Biking Along the Ice Age Trail Janesville Segment
Biking Along the Ice Age Trail Janesville Segment


Overview: Ice Age National Scenic Trail - Janesville Segement


COUNTY: Rock
COMMUNITIES: Janesville

TOTAL MILES: 10.4 miles
PAVEMENT: Asphalt
DIFFICULTY: Easy

NEXT IAT SEGMENT EASTBOUND: Janesville To Milton Segment
NEXT SEGMENT WESTBOUND:  Devil's Staircase

POINTS OF INTEREST: Rock River, Riverside Park, Rotary Gardens, The Green Belt, Palmer Park, Rock River


Directions and Trail Map




If viewing on a mobile device, open the trail map above to load into Google Maps App by touching the expand rectangle in the upper right corner

Address for your GPS: 2000 Parkside Dr Janesville, WI 53548.
| coordinates: 42.705840, -89.036439 |

From Milwaukee1.5 Hours
From Madison45 Minutes
From Green Bay2.5 Hour
From Wausau2.5 hour
From Minneapolis4.5 Hours
From Chicago2 Hours


Photos



Biking Along the Ice Age Trail Janesville Segment
Biking Along the Ice Age Trail Janesville Segment


The start of the Janesville Segment of the IAT in Riverside Park
The start of the Janesville Segment of the IAT in Riverside Park

Biking Along the Ice Age Trail Janesville Segment
Biking Along the Ice Age Trail Janesville Segment

pedestrian bridge across the Rock River on the Janesville Segment of the IAT
pedestrian bridge across the Rock River on the Janesville Segment of the IAT

Biking Along the Ice Age Trail Janesville Segment
Biking Along the Ice Age Trail Janesville Segment

Biking Along the Ice Age Trail Janesville Segment
Biking Along the Ice Age Trail Janesville Segment

Biking Along the Ice Age Trail Janesville Segment
Biking Along the Ice Age Trail Janesville Segment

Biking Along the Ice Age Trail Janesville Segment
Biking Along the Ice Age Trail Janesville Segment

Biking Along the Ice Age Trail Janesville Segment
Biking Along the Ice Age Trail Janesville Segment







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