Five great bike trails within 60 minutes of downtown
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Milwaukee and its environs offer a plethora of paths, trails and streets that work well for biking. In addition to the 96-mile Oak Leaf Trail encircling Milwaukee County, well-marked bike routes, new bike lanes on Water Street north of downtown, a network of trails is growing.
Here are five great rides whose origins are all within an hour's drive of downtown Brew City. All make for good biking, whether you're making it a morning workout or a full day of enjoyment.
Lake Country Trail
Distance: eight miles. Runs from: Golf Road in Waukesha to Wells Street in Delafield. Trailhead distance from downtown Milwaukee: approximately 20 minutes to eastern trailhead; approximately 30 minutes to western trailhead
Running for the most part along the old Interurban train line that once connected Milwaukee with Watertown, the Lake Country Trail begins at County Highway G on the northern edge of Waukesha. The Landsberg Center marks its eastern trailhead, offering parking, a restroom and vending facilities in full view of Interstate-94 adjacent to the Country Inn. Surfaced with crushed gravel, limestone and occasionally asphalt, it winds through and past fields, golf courses, emerging subdivisions and forested corridors on its way to Delafield.
Some hills are a challenge, but the sweeping view of Pewaukee Lake and access to Nagawaukee, Firemans and Cushing Parks make for pleasant biking. This relatively short trail means you can enjoy a few hours of riding without having to make a day of it, unless of course you want to. If so, check out Delafield's downtown stores, stop in the watering holes on Pewaukee Lake (accessible from the junction at Highway SS, where you follow along the road for several blocks) or sneak into the clubhouse at Western Lakes Golf Club.
In addition to the Landsberg Center on its eastern end, you can park along the trail at Nagawaukee Park near Highway 83 and Wells Street in Delafield on its western end.
Opened in 1994, the trail is slated for future expansion on both ends and will likely continue to follow the old Interurban path; the power lines the trail follows can easily be traced past Oconomowoc and into Jefferson County, westward all the way to Watertown.
Directions, Milwaukee to eastern trailhead: I-94 west to County T (Exit 293); north one block to County G, west about one mile to trailhead.
Directions, Milwaukee to western trailhead: I-94 west to County C (Exit 285); north into Delafield, right on Wells Street to trailhead.
Distance: 12.2 miles. Runs from: Menomonee Falls to Merton. Trailhead distance from downtown Milwaukee: approximately 20 minutes to eastern trailhead; 35 minutes to western trailhead
The Bugline is another rails-to-trails conversion. From the eastern trailhead in Menomonee Park (off Appleton Avenue in Menomonee Falls), one can ride through neighborhoods, forests, and over the sub-continental divide into Lannon, Sussex and Merton, where it ends along that town's Main Street.
A horseback-riding path abuts the trail for about three miles in Menomonee Falls; a 4.5-mile hiking trail also complements the eastern trailhead in Menomonee Park.
The flat trail is terrific for biking; snowmobile enthusiasts can also use it in winter. Use caution at several crossings of Highway 74 between Menomonee Falls and Lannon where there can be heavy traffic.
Future plans include a western extension to North Lake and an eastern extension to connect with the Oak Leaf Trail on Milwaukee's northwest side.
Directions, Milwaukee to eastern trailhead: Appleton Avenue northwest just past the Highway 74 (Main Street) junction in downtown Menomonee Falls.
Directions, Milwaukee to western trailhead: I-94 west to Highway 16 (Exit 293C); north and west on 16 to the County KE (Jungbluth Road) exit; north on County KE to Merton.Page 1 of 2 (view all on one page)
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