Kettle Moraine State Forest—Southern Unit John Muir Trails

Eagle, Wisconsin 53119

Kettle Moraine State Forest—Southern Unit John Muir Trails

Kettle Moraine State Forest—Southern Unit: John Muir Trails Professional Review and Guide

"Some of the best mountain biking trails in southeastern Wisconsin, this trail system is also a rugged hiking destination through a lot of kettle moraine terrain. The long outside loop follows footpaths through some pine plantation and forest, as well as along narrow moraine ridges and past water-filled kettles. A hiker’s-only spur trail ventures to an old lime kiln.

Kettle Moraine is the name of the state forest, and kettle moraines are some of the defining characteristics of this hike. The rough terrain made it ideal for laying out singletrack for mountain bikers, but it is also a joy for hikers. Give way to bikers and be sure to hike opposite the direction of bike traffic—they can come quickly."

More Kettle Moraine State Forest—Southern Unit: John Muir Trails Professional Reviews and Guides

"The Muir Trail is an appropriate honor for this visionary figure. Thanks to the Kettle Moraine State Forest, a wilderness haven will survive the rampant development in surrounding Waukesha County.

You’ll understand Muir’s appreciation of the importance of the wild country as you make your way through the unbroken snow on snowshoes or skis. Surface quality: Ungroomed; skier, hiker, and snowshoer packed Fees: yes."

"A challenging trail climbs up and down through oak and pine forests along the rubble deposits of the last glaciers. Don’t let the mountain bikers discourage you: This is a hiking trail as well. The abundance of ridges and kettles offers challenges to boots and wheels alike, and the extensive trail system
leaves plenty of room for everyone. Watch for deer and turkey, as well as many songbirds. Walking into the trail system from the trailhead, take the first right. You must go against bike traffic for safety.

This trail cuts 0.1 mile to the actual loop in the same way
that the leftbound trail does in the opposite direction. Between the two trails is 0.1 mile of the trail. At the juncture, go right to stay in the proper trail direction, heading north. At 0.15 mile, the Red Trail comes from the left."

"Kettle Moraine south is the most rigorous of the trails. For Chicagoland mountain bikers, it's the nearest taste of what real Wisconsin mountain biking is all about. Part of Kettle Moraine is the John Muir Trail, the best of breed for local mountain biking. It's also quite crowded on weekends. The drive out to Kettle Moraine takes a turn for the better as soon as you turn off I-94: You leave behind the land of condominiums and overcrowded suburbs, and farm country kicks in. At the intersection of Highway H and Greening Road, just before you reach the trail, you'll come upon a corner store that doubles as a bike shop.

Pick up a free trail map inside and you're sure to stop in afterward . Sandwiches are made with croissants, an assortment of fresh salads in the deli case, and everything from bottled water to beer is in the fridge. Before you hit the trail, be sure to pay for your parking permit ($7.00) and trail pass ($3.00). Though it looks like a measly little parking lot, park officials frequently roam the trails and outer limits of the park. A brown wooded sign offers a carved, color-coded rendition of the trail loops. Things to see: Mountainous terrain."

Kettle Moraine State Forest—Southern Unit: John Muir Trails Reviews

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The mountain biking trails are great- John Muir for the more adventurous, Emma Carlin and the connector for the single track but less technical ride. GET A TRAIL PASS. The ticket for parking or riding without a pass is $15. The corner store, which also sells the trail passes, has FABULOUS food. Also have supplies for your bike, and have both mountain and road bike rentals. You can also park your car at the store parking lot, and ride the 1.5 miles to the trailhead for the John Muir trails. This will save you $7! Pine Woods campground is nearby, and has very comfy campsites that are more like camping in the woods than putting a tent up in a parking lot. Road cycling is decent, although can get heavy on the traffic on the weekends.

Kettle Moraine State Forest—Southern Unit: John Muir Trails Photos

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Trail Information

Nearby City
Trail Type
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
5 hours
Kettle Moraine State Forest—Southern Unit, S91 W39091 Hwy. 59, Eagle, WI 53119; (262) 594-6200;
Local Contacts
USGS Little Prairie; at state park office, on map boards and website
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018