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.