Tunnel Vision Elroy-Sparta Trail- and More

Wilton, Wisconsin

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The 32-mile-long Elroy-Sparta Trail is Wisconsin's oldest rail-trail, opened in 1965 on an abandoned railbed, and is one of the country's first rail trails. Passing through the hills and valleys of western Wisconsin, Elroy-Sparta welcomes more than 60,000 visitors each year, many coming for the experience of passing through the trail's three tunnels, the longest of which is three-quarters of a mile. The tunnels were built in 1873 to allow the Chicago and North Western trains to pass through these rugged Coulee Country hills on no more than a 3-percent grade. The problem with rail-trails is that they're always point-to-point; you either have to ride to the end and back again, arrange a shuttle, or loop out onto country roads to your starting point. The trouble with s loop using the Elroy-Sparta Trail has to do with the nature of the trail itself, the reason for digging those tunnels in the first place-this is extremely hilly country. Things to see: Norwalk, Wilton, Elroy-Sparta Trail, tunnel on the trail, rolling countryside.
Short Bike Rides in Wisconsin

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Short Bike Rides in Wisconsin

by Greg Marr (The Globe Pequot Press)

The 32-mile-long Elroy-Sparta Trail is Wisconsin's oldest rail-trail, opened in 1965 on an abandoned railbed, and is one of the country's first rail trails. Passing through the hills and valleys of western Wisconsin, Elroy-Sparta welcomes more than 60,000 visitors each year, many coming for the experience of passing through the trail's three tunnels, the longest of which is three-quarters of a mile. The tunnels were built in 1873 to allow the Chicago and North Western trains to pass through these rugged Coulee Country hills on no more than a 3-percent grade.

The problem with rail-trails is that they're always point-to-point; you either have to ride to the end and back again, arrange a shuttle, or loop out onto country roads to your starting point. The trouble with s loop using the Elroy-Sparta Trail has to do with the nature of the trail itself, the reason for digging those tunnels in the first place-this is extremely hilly country. Things to see: Norwalk, Wilton, Elroy-Sparta Trail, tunnel on the trail, rolling countryside.

©  Greg Marr/The Globe Pequot Press. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Road Biking
Nearby City: Wilton
Distance: 15.9
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Easy to Moderate
Riding Time: 2 hours
Season: Spring to fall
Driving Directions: Directions to Tunnel Vision: Elroy-Sparta Trail- and More

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