Capital City State Trail

Madison, Wisconsin

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Beginning at the trailhead by Dunn’s Marsh, at the same starting point as the Southwest Commuter Path hike, this is a pleasant stroll along a cycling trail that runs along the outskirts of Madison, passing the edges of housing developments and flitting through prairie and woods before coming to a historic fish hatchery near a busy road intersection. The hike begins just south of the University of Wisconsin Arboretum, and lies entirely along the Nine Springs E-Way, a continuous network of greenbelt with lots of open countryside that is a showcase of native ecology. Some cyclists like to ride the entire trail. Several miles past the hike’s turnaround point, the trail comes to the Nine Springs E-Way Trail, as well as a county park and state recreation area, with numerous facilities for visitors. From there, the trail turns north and runs along the shore of Lake Monona and across the Isthmus to Olbrich Botanical Gardens.

Capital City State Trail Professional Review and Guide

"Beginning at the trailhead by Dunn’s Marsh, at the same starting point as the Southwest Commuter Path hike, this is a pleasant stroll along a cycling trail that runs along the outskirts of Madison, passing the edges of housing developments and flitting through prairie and woods before coming to a historic fish hatchery near a busy road intersection.

The hike begins just south of the University of Wisconsin Arboretum, and lies entirely along the Nine Springs E-Way, a continuous network of greenbelt with lots of open countryside that is a showcase of native ecology. Some cyclists like to ride the entire trail. Several miles past the hike’s turnaround point, the trail comes to the Nine Springs E-Way Trail, as well as a county park and state recreation area, with numerous facilities for visitors. From there, the trail turns north and runs along the shore of Lake Monona and across the Isthmus to Olbrich Botanical Gardens."

Activity Type: Hiking, Road Biking, Trail Running
Nearby City: Madison
Distance: 4.6 miles
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 2-2.5 hours
Season: Spring through fall
Features: Wildflowers
Accessibility: Dog-friendly
Local Contacts: Capital Springs State Park, 3101 Lake Farm Rd., Madison, WI 53711; (608) 224-3730; dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/capsprings/
Local Maps: USGS Madison West, WI; Capital City State Trail, available online and at Capital Springs State Park
Driving Directions: Directions to Capital City State Trail

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May 2018