Biking on the Military Ridge Trail

military Ridge state trai

Military Ridge State Trail

Biking the Military Ridge State Trail between Mount Horeb and Verona is an outdoors treat just a few miles from the west side of Madison. It’s become my favorite morning bike route. When I have the extra time I put the bike on the roof of the car I drive the short distance to take advantage of this peaceful ride. It takes you through the woods and the marshland that make up the headwaters of the Sugar River. It doesn’t follow any roads either so you escape traffic and it’s noise.

The Military Ridge State Trail is on an old railroad bed so it’s a flat easy enjoyable ride. It’s also fairly grown up along the trail providing lots of shade and protection from any wind.

The sugar river along the Military Ridge State Trail
The sugar River along the Military Ridge bike trail.

The best way to experience the trail is to park in Riley, halfway between Mount Horeb and Verona. There’s a large parking lot right next to the trail and you can then choose to ride 6.5 miles into Mount Horeb or 6 miles into Verona for about a 12 mile round trip.

Both directions are equally scenic. Going into Mount Horeb is up a gradual hill and more wooded. Biking to Verona is flatter and more open marshland along the way. So from one parking lot you have the choice of two varied trips.

Of course there is no such thing as a free lunch, these trails cost money to build and maintain. A permit to ride on them is only $25 a year (or $5 a day). That’s a bargain for use of all the state trails in Wisconsin for a year. There is a self pay station in the parking lot in Riley, or you can buy them at the Grumpy Troll or Miller and Son’s Grocery store in Verona.

A bridge on the Military Ridge State Trail.
Pinhole photograph of the Military Ridge bike trail taken just below the Epic campus in Verona.

This is also only a portion of the Military Ridge Trail. It goes from Madison all the way to Governor Dodge State Park. I’ve ridden from Verona east into Madison and in my opinion it’s not as pretty as the Mount Horeb to Verona section. But it was cool to ride all the way into the Capitol building from Mount Horeb with only the last 4 blocks riding on a street.

In the near future I want to ride from Mount Horeb to Governor Dodge State Park. I’ll update the blog when I do.

The Military Ridge Trail
The marsh which is the headwaters of the Sugar River along the Military Ridge bike trail.

*After the Ride*


I often go in the morning and stop for coffee and a scone in Schubert’s Restaurant in Mount Horeb or Tuvalu Coffee House if I head to Verona. Both have lots of character and charm.

schuberts restauraunt in Mount Horeb and Tuvalu Coffee House in Verona
Schubert’s Restaurant on the left and Tuvalu Coffee House on the right are both great destinations for your morning coffee or lunch.


For an afternoon trip there is great beer to top off your ride on booth ends of the trail as well. The Grumpy Troll in Mount Horeb and the Hop Haus in Verona are both excellent brew pubs.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.