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 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.
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.