Trail Opening and Information

The Trail is closed to bike riders.  The tunnel doors have been closed.  Please remember that the trail is open however to hikers.  We will also be posting once the snowmobile trails have been opened.  Thank you for helping us celebrate the 50th Anniversary of North America's first Rails-to-Trails project!

Welcome To The Elroy-Sparta Trail

Welcome to the first Rails to Trails Project in America, The Grandaddy of them all, The Elroy Sparta Trail.  The trail remains one of the most popular trails in the country.  With three rock tunnels and five small towns along it's 32.5 mile route, the trail is a favorite Wisconsin bicycling destination. Traveling between Sparta and Elroy, the trail stretches through the communities of Norwalk, Wilton and Kendall. The Elroy Sparta Trail is the property of the State of Wisconsin and is part of it's State Trails System run by the Department of Natural Resources and supported by the Friends of the Elroy Sparta Trail.  It is located in Hidden Valleys Country and passes through a portion of the unglaciated areas of Wisconsin exemplifying the natural beauty of our State.  Part of the "Bike4Trails" it connects to 101 miles of trails.  

The trail is 32 miles in length on the abandoned Chicago & North Western Railroad bed and passes through three rock tunnels.  The three century-old railroad tunnels hightlight the trail. The Kendall and Wilton tunnels are 1/4 mile long and the Norwalk tunnel is just over 3/4 mile long.  The tunnels are dark and cool, even on the brightest days, and water from springs above the tunnels can trickle onto the trail.  Bikers should walk bikes through the tunnels. The Trail is covered with limestone screenings and provides a smooth riding surface.  The bridges are covered with planks and are guarded with railings.  

The trail may be entered at the Elroy Commons in Elroy, At the trail Headquarters in Kendall, the Sparta Chamber of Commerce in Sparta, or enter at Wilton or Norwalk on Hwy 71. 

Trail passes are required for bikers 16 years of age and older.  A daily trail pass is $4 and an annual pass is $20.  These are good on any Wisconsin State Trail.  

In the winter this trail and surrounding trails are well marked and maintained by local snowmobile clubs.  There is no charge for snowmobiling or hiking. 

Don't forget a stop at the Kendall Depot.  Headquarters of the Elroy-Sparta Trail. 

Trail Etiquette

  • When using rail-trails be sure to be considerate of other trail users and local landowners
  • Be safe--always wear a helmet!! Be a good example for your kids 
  • Always ride single file when meeting other riders or when being overtaken.  Courtesy takes precedence over conversations with your riding companion. 
  • Ride in a straight line.  this is especially difficult for children, so remind and encourange your children not to weave around on the trail.
  • When stopping along the trail always park your bike off the traveled portion of the trail if you can, or as far to the right as possible. Remind your group not to block the trail when stopping.  
  • When overtaking other trail users call out a warning, such as "passing on your left" or use a warning device such as a bell.  Be especially careful when passing children as they are easily startled and may swerve in front of you.  
  • Only straty from the trail on public areas.  If you do leave the trail, remember, leave no trace of your path! Don't litter!
  • Bike trails are surfaced with fine limestone or similar materials.  They are not designed for high speed travel.  They can become soft and wet, can erode quickly during heavy rains, and are subject to animal damage.  Keep your bike under full control at all times.  Keep at least two bike lenghts between riders and warn others when passing.  Bike clothing (reflective for night riding), shoes, pant leg clips, and helmets are recommended.

Download our Maps

Click on a name below for a map for each trail.  You may print these maps in landscape mode in high quality. 

Great River State Trail (25 Miles)

La Crosse River State Trail (22 miles)

Elroy-Sparta State Trail (32 miles)

"400" State Trail Map (22 miles)

The Bike 4 Trails Map is a composite map of all four trails from Marshland in the north to Reedsburg in the south along with a mileage graph.