Take the Path to Wisconsin's Best Trails

Jul 3, 2013

Wisconsin boasts thousands of miles of trails - but which are the best?

A bicycle path in Wisconsin
Credit Katjusa Cisar/Flickr

Many of us have a long weekend coming up, starting after work today. 

If the weather holds, some of us will be heading outdoors to walk, bike, roller blade, or run. But where to?

The cover story in this month’s Milwaukee Magazine offers a profile of some of the best trails in the Milwaukee metro area.

Writer Tom Held chose 35 of his favorites – a list that is geographically diverse and offers something for all skill levels. He says it was a challenge to whittle the list down, since he kept discovering new trails the more he researched.

"I came up with 315 miles of trails, say, within an hours drive of Milwaukee," he says. "Some of those (are) just outside your back door...I'd say that's comprehensive, not exhaustive."

In a recent trend, many municipalities have been re-purposing certain spaces into areas for public use.

"Wisconsin right now ranks third in the country in the total miles - over 2000 miles - of rail corridors that have been converted into multi-use trails, for biking, for rollerblading...hiking, running," Held says.

But Held says people may be surprised at how long trails have been an important part of life here: the state's been committed to creating these public spaces since 1901.

"That's when the state legislature authorized counties to build side paths along roads for bicycles," he says. "So...Wisconsin has been out front on this for a long time."

Held produces The Active Pursuit blog and writes about endurance sports for OnMilwaukee.com and local magazines.