Posted August 11, 2020 in Great Places to Ride, Cycling by eriksbikeshop
Looking for a great bike trail in Wisconsin to explore? Look no further than the safe, scenic, and historic 400 State Trail! Considered one of the best bike trails in the region, beginner and avid cyclists will love this fun route that runs through the Baraboo Valley in Central Wisconsin.
We’ve gathered all the essential information you’ll need to know to make your ride a success.
One of the things that makes the 400 Trail so amazing is the scenery. The Baraboo River winds through the countryside and the trail follows its course. Sandstone bluffs, marshes, and river views provide multiple opportunities to appreciate nature.
Appreciating nature is all well and good but sometimes you just want to sit down in some air conditioning and check your phone. The 400 State Trail passes through several towns: Reedsburg, La Valle, Wonewoc, Union Center, Tomah, and Elroy. Many of these towns have bars and restaurants right off the trail, like the Trail Break Pizza restaurant in La Valle with its Kickstand Patio Bar and the Treasure Mill Antique shop with free tours of their 1903 Water Turbine.
We recommend giving yourself an entire day to bike the 400 State Trail so you can really enjoy all that it has to offer!
Built on the abandoned Chicago-Northwestern Railroad bed, the 400 features flat, crushed stone terrain with overpass bridges covered by smooth wood-planked floors. Overall, it’s an easy trail to navigate by bike and is ideal for new cyclists or anyone simply looking for a scenic and relaxing ride.
The 400 State Trail passes through several Central Wisconsin towns: Reedsburg, La Valle, Wonewoc, Union Center, Tomah, and Elroy.
There are places to hop on the trail at each of these towns. However if you’d like to ride the entire 22 miles of trail, consider beginning at the Southern trailhead in Reedsburg or the Northern trailhead in Elroy. These trailheads offer parking, bathrooms, and everything else you’d expect at a State Park.
Please note: You will need to purchase a trail pass to ride the 400 State Trail. Passes are $4.00 a day or $20.00 for an annual pass. Passes can be purchased at both North and South trailheads as well as along the trail at many local stores.
Check out this map to view the entire trail to see all the trailheads and potential starting points to begin your ride.
If you live in or near any of the previous towns mentioned, you can likely easily bike to a trailhead to begin your ride. Check out this map to see if this is the case for you.
If you don’t live nearby, you’ll need a car rack to transport your bike(s) safely and with ease to the trailhead.
We carry a large assortment of car racks including hitch racks, trunk racks, roof racks, and pick-up truck racks.
Check out our Car Rack Buying Guide to discover which type of rack will be best for you, your bikes, and your vehicle.
Equipped with a good car rack, you’ll have no problem traveling to the 400 State Trail or any other amazing bike trails in Wisconsin!
There are several essential things to bring along on your bike rides to ensure you are safe and comfortable like a bike helmet, water bottle, and bike lights. We’ve compiled a list of all of the essentials which you can see here.
Additionally, check out our blog posts: How to Travel with Your Bike and Tips for Bikepacking for more helpful information on how to bring your bike on your adventures with ease!
Now you have all the basic info you need to go explore the 400 State Trail successfully! To make your ride even easier, we recommend downloading the app Ride Spot.
The Ride Spot App, created by People for Bikes, helps riders discover great routes created by local bike shops, advocacy groups, and other riders. There are three main features for users:
Download the Ride Spot app on your phone and then search and follow any of these ERIK’S Wisconsin Shops. Each of these shop pages features the 400 State Trail with directions!
If you find yourself wanting more, the 400 connects to many other great trails too.
For example, if you make it all the way to Elroy you can continue on the Elroy-Sparta Trail. This trail features three train tunnels to ride through including one that’s almost a mile long. Headlights are recommended for the Elroy-Sparta Trail because none of the tunnels are illuminated, most curve, and are very dark.
Indeed, Elroy is something out of a recreational paradise, offering connections to the aforementioned Elroy-Sparta trail as well as the Juneau County Omaha Trail in addition to being close to 4 State Recreation Areas; Wildcat Mountain, Mill Bluff, Devil’s Lake, and Castle Rock.
Stop into your local ERIK’S today, get geared up, and then get out there and ride the 400 State Trail. Our Eau Claire store and our Madison East and Madison West shops are convenient stops you can swing by not far from the north and/or south trailheads.