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Baraboo Range Tour
Black Hawk's Retreat Tour
Chequmegon Bay Tour
Czech Heritage Tour
Frank Lloyd Wright Heritage Tour
Freedom Heritage Tour
Great River Road North Tour
Great River Road South Tour
Irish Heritage Tour
Lac du Flambeau Tour
Lead Mining Heritage Tour
Rustic Roads Tour
Shore to Shore Tour
Tiger Cat Tour
Trumpeter Trail Nature Trail Tour

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Baraboo Range Tour

    Some say there's no sound like a steam train whistle echoing against the quartzite bluffs of the Baraboo Range. On this tour you can ride a real steam train at the Mid-Continent Railway. At the Circus World Museum, top acts perform under the "Big Top" recapturing the excitement of summer days when the circus came to town.

    On the route, steep wooded slopes of the Baraboo Range loom, in the south. This ancient mountain core survived millions of years of erosion, ancient seas and recent glaciers. Sprint up the steep grades and you might be able to give the steam train a run for its money!

    Distance

      24 miles on paved roads for entire route; the east loop is 11 miles; and the west loop is 12 miles.
    Difficulty
      Difficult -- some very steep grades.
    Trailhead Location
      In Baraboo at the Circus World Museum parking lot, in North Freedom at the Village Park on Walnut Street, Sauk County.
    For More Information
      Baraboo Area Chamber of Commerce, tel. 800-227-2266.

Black Hawk's Retreat Tour

    Serene surroundings, steep slopes, easy rolling ridge tops and scenic valley bottoms make it hard to believe this area is the site of one of the saddest conflicts berween the U.S. Army and Native Americans.

    In 1832, a misguided prediction of British aid from Canada lured 65-year-old Suak warrior Black Hawk and about 2,000 followers from Iowa to reclaim ancestral lands in Illinois. Hostilities broke out and troops pursued the band through southern Wisconsin to the tragic confrontation in this area. Numerous historical markers en route tell the tale of the final days of Black Hawk's retreat.

    Distance

      35 mile long route on paved and gravel roads, or a 17 mile short route on paved roads.
    Difficulty
      Very difficult with long, extremely steep climbs.
    Trailhead Location
      Blackhawk Park at the swimming beach and historical marker, Vernon County.
    For More Information
      Viroqua Chamber of Commerce/Main Street, tel. 608-637-2575.
      U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, tel. 651-290-5200.

Chequamegon Bay Tour

    Island. The word is magic. In Chequamegon Bay there is an archipelago of 22 islands called the Apostles. They've always been the place to be in summer. Madeline Island was the center of the Ojibwe (Chippewa) world and thousands canoed there each year. Fur traders and missionaries followed as early as the 1660s. The appeal is just as strong today.

    Life and biking are easy on Madeline Island. There's nothing but the breeze to slow you. A ride to Big Bay State Park won't strain you either. No one needs an excuse to take a rest among the sculptured rocks that line the point.

    If you've got a mountain bike, or mountain legs, there's a challenge for you on the mainland. The Lake Superior bluffs are tough and beautiful. In spring, they are white with apple blossoms. In fall, the peninsula is spectacular in the golds, ambers, and rusts of the season. Anytime is a great time to visit Chequamegon Bay; the hills are always steep and the island is always easy.

    Distance

      9 miles for the paved and gravel road mainland loop; 16 miles for the paved Madeline Island loop.
    Difficulty
      Very difficult on the mainland; easy on Madeline Island.
    Trailhead Locations
      In Bayfield at 2nd St & Washington Ave (on-street parking). In La Pointe at the Madeline Island Historical Museum (on-street parking).
    For More Information
      Madeline Island Chamber of Commerce, tel. 715-747-2801.
      Bayfield Chamber of Commerce, tel. 800-447-4094.

Czech Heritage Tour

    Rolling over quiet farm roads, the first clue you're in Czech country may be the Kafka Realty signs. A second tip might be come when you taste kolaces (co-la-chees). The famous writer's namesake and the popular poppy seed and prune pastry are proof positive that Czech immigrants, from an area once called Bohemia, settled in this part of Wisconsin.

    Your starting point is at Maribel Caves, a 19th century spa for city-weary folks. En-route you'll pass the ruins of a stone hotel that once catered to vacationers, and a campground that preserves an 1847 pioneer mill (the Old Rock Mill Museum) and a Bohemian crafted log cabin.

    Distance

      An 18-mile long loop on paved and gravel roads, or a 14 mile short loop on paved roads.
    Difficulty
      Moderate -- rolling farmland with some steep hills.
    Trailhead Location
      Maribel Caves County Park off County R, 1.5 miles from the I-43/Hwy147 exit for Maribel and Mishicot, Manitowoc County.
    For More Information
      Old Rock Mill Museum, tel. 414-862-2812.

Frank Lloyd Wright Heritage Tour

    Frank Lloyd Wright was the most productive architect in world history. For nearly fifty years he lived and taught at Taliesin (Tally-es-in) near Spring Green. Wright drew inspiration from nature's beauty, creating a unique American architecture that influences the way we live today. From the picture window to the kitchen island, Wright spent his life designing from a human perspective.

    Thanks to recent preservation efforts you can tour the Wright complex including Taliesin, Hillside School, and Midway Farms. Or you can skirt Taliesin on a new bike path, then hit the road into the hills and valleys Wright loved. The Spring Green area is loaded with attractions from the eclectic bonanza that is House on the Rock to classic stage plays performed beneath the sky at American Players Theatre. You'll love riding where points of interest meet lines of adventure.

    Distance

      20 miles for the long route on paved and gravel roads. The 10 mile short loop is entirely on paved roads.
    Difficulty
      Difficult or moderate. The long route has five steep hills. The short route has two.
    Trailhead Location
      Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center, at the junction of Hwy 23 and County C, Sauk County.
    For More Information
      Spring Green Area Chamber of Commerce, tel. 800-588-2042.
      Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center, tel. 608-588-7900.

Freedom Heritage Tour

    Before the Civil War, the Milton House stagecoach inn was part of the Underground Railroad, a network of secret havens that helped runaway slaves get to Canada and freedom. On the Milton House tour you can follow a hidden tunnel to a log cabin that offered a hiding place in the event that "slave catchers" showed up.

    Effigy Mounds at Lake Koshonong testigy to the diversity of Native American culture. Although these low, often animal-shaped earthen mounds sometimes contained graves, they are clearly ceremonial sites and not just cemeteries. However, little is known of the culture that built these enigmatic mounds.

    Distance

      22 miles on paved roads.
    Difficulty
      Easy -- gently rolling farmland.
    Trailhead Location
      City Park in Milton at the junction of Hwys 26 and 59, Rock County.
    For More Information
      Milton Historical Society, tel. 608-7772.
      Milton Area Chamber of Commerce, tel. 608-868-6222
      Fort Atkinson Area Chamber of Commerce, tel. 920-563-3210.

Great River Road North Tour

    The mighty Mississippi is one of the world's greatest rivers. It's been a water highway for Native Americans for at least 7,000 years and a magnet for European explorers like La Salle, Perrot, and Carver. All early visitors agreed that the stretch from Lake Pepin to the Wisconsin River was the most beautiful in it's entire course. The valley is norrow here by big river standards. Torrents of glacial meltwater sculpted towering limestone bluffs. "Ruined castles" the French called them. A bicycle journey along its course is among the most picturesque rides in North America. Quaint river towns seem frozen in the less-hurried lifestyles of the past.

    Distance

      44 miles from Hager City to Alma (connects with Great River Road South Tour for 89 miles total to Trempealeau.
    Difficulty
      Easy to difficult. There is a two-and-a-half mile long hill east of Bay City and rolling terrain between Maiden Rock and Stockholm.
    Trailhead Location
      In Hager City or the town of Alma, Buffalo County.
    For More Information
      Pepin Economic Development Committee, tel. 715-442-2441.
      Pierce County Welcome & Heritage Center, tel. 800-4-PIERCE.

Great River Road South Tour

    The Mississippi is unique in its abundance of picturesque, idyllic side valleys. Riding the Mississippi Bluffs Tour you'll discover the tranquil beauty of these little worlds. Straying from the flat terrain along the Great River Road is never easy, but no bluff is too tough when the payoff is gorgeous views.

    Visit Fountain City, too. Several miles long and several blocks wide, the town has some real treasures. A home from Frank Lloyd Wright's early period looks out over the river. For a breather, stop in at the Monarch Tavern. At the same location for more than 100 years, it has a gorgeous carved wooden mural of the Mississippi and town.

    Distance

      45 miles on the Great River Road direct from Alma to Trempealeau (riding through Perrot State Park adds 1 mile). 24 miles for the long Mississippi Bluffs loop and 10.5 miles for the short loop.
    Difficulty
      Easy on the Great River Road Tour. Very difficult on the Mississippi Bluffs Tour.
    Trailhead Locations
      For the Great River Road Tour, the towns of Alma (Buffalo County) or Trempealeau (Trempealeau County). This route extends north to Hager City.
    For More Information
      Trempealeau Chamber of Commerce, tel. 608-534-6780.
      Alma City Clerk's Office, tel. 608-683-3330.

Irish Heritage Tour

    Some of the million or more Irish who came to North America in the mid-nineteenth sentury settled in southeastern Wisconsin. Perhaps the green, rolling hills reminded them of Ireland. While most pioneer farmsteads have gone back to nature, lovely St. Michaels Church with its graveyard of Celtic crosses testifies to Irish lives spent cultivating these rocky soils. Keep an eye out along Mink Creek Road for the small stone memorial with a Gaillic inscription dedicated to an Irish pioneer.

    The geomorphology of this area is a legacy of the most recent continental glacier. At the Reuss Ice Age Interpretative Center you can learn about the forces exerted by its massive ice sheets. The terrain you ride teaches a similar lesson. Stop at the Parnell Observation Tower for a great view of beautiful Parnell Esker, a snake-like ridge laid down by a river flowing beneath the ice.

    Distance

      25 mile loop on paved and gravel roads (22 miles if you avoid the travel on Division Rd and ride County F east of Dundee).
    Difficulty
      Moderate with some steep hills.
    Trailhead Location
      Long Lake Recreation Area (State Forest daily or annual motor vehicle sticker is required), two miles northeast of the village of Dundee, Fond du Lac County.
    For More Information
      Kettle Moraine State Forest Northern Unit, tel. 414-626-2116

Lac du Flambeau Tour

    In ancient times the Ojibwe people (Chippewa) left their homeland in the east by the Big Salt Water. A prophesy foretold a journey which would end when they found food that grew on water. It was in the north country lake that they found wild rice growing in abundance. Maple sugaring, hunting and fishing were good too.

    The reflection of pine and tamarack on placid lake waters will make you glad that much is unchanged on the Lac du Flambeau tribal Reservation. The name "Lac du Flambeau" (Lake of the Torches) comes from the French who observed the band's spring spearfishing ritual in which fish were attracted to the canoes with torch light.

    Each Tuesday evening in summer tribal members dance, sing and drum at the Lac du Flambeau Indian Bowl. The Ojibwe Museum and Cultural Center has a wonderful exhibit of the band's history in this land of plenty. When you visit you'll likely be greeted with "Boozhoo," which means "hello" and when leaving, "Miigwetch, Ga waa ba min." "Thank you. We'll be seeing you."

    Distance

      18-mile loop on paved and gravel roads.
    Difficulty
      Easy.
    Trailhead Location
      Lac du Flambeau Chippewa Museum and Cultural Center on Peace Pipe Lane in Lac du Flambeau, Vilas County.
    For More Information
      Lac du Flambeau Chamber of Commerce, tel. 715-588-3346.

Lead Mining Heritage Tour

    Steep wooded valleys mean tough biking in the lead mining region. The site of the nation's first great mineral rush in 1820, it was once the most populous part of the state. Early miners were called "badgers" for living in shacks over hillside holes. Thousands of small, abandoned surface mines dot the ridges and valleys of "Coulee Country."

    Pioneer priest Father Samuel Mazzuchelli (Ma-zoo-KEL-ly) built area churches and named many of Shullsburgs streets for Biblical virtues to appeal to the miner's better nature. You may be at the corner of Charity and Friendship, but riding a bike is no Easy Street in lead mining country.

    Distance

      21 mile loop on paved roads.
    Difficulty
      Very difficult with many steep hills.
    Trailhead Location
      Badger Park, Shullsburg, Lafayette County.
    For More Information
      Shullsburg Community Development Corp, tel. 608-965-4401 or 608-965-4424.
      Point of Beginnings Heritage Area, tel. 608-342-1214.

Rustic Roads Tour

    Wisconsin's Rustic Roads system is described as a positive step backwards. This grassroots movement preserves the character of unique by-ways. It has designated more than 60 roads in the past 20 years. These roads are protected from development. You'll be glad they are when riding Rural Road and Emmons Creek Road.

    Rural Road Tour is a roll through our nation's nineteenth century heritage. Simple Greek Revival and Italianate Victorian homes mix with woods and fields along the route. On Emmons Creek Road you'll plunge into a forest canopy adjacent to a wildlife preserve. There are plenty of other lovely roads in the area. Fountain Lake Road is a another popular favorite.

    Distance

      The outer loop is 24 miles, the east loop is 14 miles. and the west loop is 18 miles.
    Difficulty
      Easy to moderate with some steep hills on the west loop.
    Trailhead Location
      Hartman Creek State Park at Hartman Lake beach parking lot on Windfeldt Ln, Waupaca County. A daily or annual State Park vehicle admission is required.
    For More Information
      Hartman Creek State Park, tel. 715-258-2372.
      Waupaca Area Chamber of Commerce, Inc., tel. 888-417-4040.

Shore to Shore Tour

    With 275 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, the Door County peninsula is a picture postcard of coastal ambiance: spectacular sunsets, whitewashed lighthouses that rise above quiet fishing villages, and thundering waves that wet rocky shores. There's even an east and west coast on the Door County peninsula. On a sunny afternoon you can pedal shore to shore.

    On the Lake Michigan side of the peninsula, the wind and waves seem to come from a long distance. The landscape is harder, the wind brisker and the water bluer. Across the peninsula, on Green Bay, the elements relax a bit. Rolling along Eagle Harbor, the village of Ephraim looks like it belongs on Cape Cod. Nearby in Fish Creek, the Peninsula Players perform popular Broadway and off-Broadway plays in an idyllic setting. Play or no play, it's a great place for a rest stop; just one of the many reasons to slow down in Door County.

    Distance

      31 miles for the outer loop. 23 miles for the north loop. 15 miles for the south loop. All loops are on paved roads.
    Difficulty
      Mostly easy with several steep grades near the Green Bay shore.
    Trailhead Locations
      Town Park in Bailey's Harbor. Peninsula State Park Sunset Trail parking lot (motor vehicle admission sticker required), Door County.
    For More Information
      Door County Chamber of Commerce, tel. 800-52-RELAX.
      Peninsula State Park, tel. 920-868-3258.

Tiger Cat Tour

    "De cat, he fight like tiger!" The dam keeper's tale of his tomcat besting a much larger otter earned him the name Tiger Cat Jack and eventually tagged the whole flowage. The gently rolling terrain (except for the Seeley Hills) will lead you through classic Northwoods lake country where the loon eagle, and osprey are often seen. Wait for them to appear at the dam site on the Little Chief River.

    Distance

      35 miles if Seely trailhead is used or 28 miles if OO Rest Cabin is used.
    Difficulty
      Easy for the short route. The long route includes a few steep hills.
    Trailhead Location
      The unicorporated town of Seeley, 10 miles north of Hayward, or the Birkebeiner Ski Trail OO Rest Cabin, 3 miles east of Seeley on County OO, Sawyer County.
    For More Information
      Hayward Area Chamber of Commerce, tel. 800-724-2992

Trumpeter Trail Nature Trail Tour

    An auto/bicycle tour. A short-cut can be taken for those who have less time to view Sandhill. Simply enter the visitor gate after you sign in!

    Distance

      14 miles long and takes approximately two hours to complete by auto.
    Difficulty
      Not noted.
    Trailhead Location
      Sandhill Wildlife Area, Babcock, Wood County.
    For More Information
      The Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center, tel. 715-884-2437

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