Red Cedar State Trail

Menomonie, Wisconsin 54751

Distance14.6mi
Elevation Gain638ft
Trailhead Elevation730ft
Top791ft
Elevation Min/Max715/791ft
Elevation Start/End730/730ft

Red Cedar State Trail

Red Cedar State Trail is a hiking and biking trail in Menomonie, Wisconsin. It is 14.6 miles long and begins at 730 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 29.1 miles with a total elevation gain of 638 feet. Along the trail there are parking, drinking water, restrooms, and parkings. This trail connects with the following: Chippewa River State Trail and Stokke Trail.

Red Cedar State Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"One of Wisconsin’s earliest rail-trail conversions, the 14.5-mile Red Cedar State Trail is built on the former corridor of the Red Cedar Junction railway, which served Knapp, Stout & Co. in the 1880s—then the world’s largest timber producer. Since the late 1970s, the trail has offered a serene experience for trail users from Menomonie to Peru, where it meets with the southern end of the Chippewa River State Trail, just south of the Dunnville State Wildlife Area.

Snowmobiles are permitted on the 2 miles of the trail between the Chippewa River State Trail and County Road Y. Hunting is also permitted along a 4-mile section through the Dunnville State Wildlife Area."

"Bald eagle sightings are common throughout the year. Great river scenery and an 860-foot long trestle are highlights of the trail, along with the historic city of Menomonie, two quaint small river villages, and a ghost town"

"Bald eagle sightings are common throughout the year. Great river scenery and an 860-foot-long trestle are highlights of the trail, along with the historic city of Menomonie, two quaint small river villages, and a ghost town.

Surface: Crushed limestone with wood-planked bridges; groomed and tracked for cross-country skiing from Menomonie to Downsville."

"This is one of a few state trails that are detailed in this book. While all state trail/regional corridors in Minnesota and Wisconsin offer many more miles of hiking and biking opportunities, those in the Twin Cities area either run along busier highways, cut through backyards, or are part of former railroad rights-of-way.

These are wonderful pathways in their own right. However, I think this one deserves special mention because of its remoteness and beauty. Facilities: Picnic pavilion, rest center. The path heads down to the small pond-like body of water called Thompson Lake. Bathroom, playground, and telephone are also available."

"Sleepy little Downsville seems little changed since the days when it thrived as a way point for rafters floating great quantities of rough sawn timber down to the Chippewa River. You have to wonder if the town could have held on today without the business brought in by the trail. On the trail south of town, skis or snowshoes are your ticket to beautiful, tranquil rambling along the meandering Red Cedar River.

The trail is maintained for hiking and snowshoeing by the ski trail groomer, which packs it down after a heavy snow. No ski tracks are set, so you’ll make your own unless others have skied it first. The first 2 miles of your journey takes you away from the river through flat bottomland. This offers a nice perspective of the river bluffs in the distance. It is a good place to catch a glimpse of a soaring red-tailed hawk on the lookout for small rodents. Surface quality: Mechanically packed."

"Sleepy little Downsville seems little changed since the days when it thrived as a way point for rafters floating great quantities of rough sawn timber down to the Chippewa River. You have to wonder if the town could have held on today without the business brought in by the trail. On the trail south of town, skis or snowshoes are your ticket to beautiful, tranquil rambling along the meandering Red Cedar River.

The trail is maintained for hiking and snowshoeing by the ski trail groomer, which packs it down after a heavy snow. No ski tracks are set, so you’ll make your own unless others have skied it first. The first 2 miles of your journey takes you away from the river through flat bottomland. This offers a nice perspective of the river bluffs in the distance. It is a good place to catch a glimpse of a soaring red-tailed hawk on the lookout for small rodents. Surface quality: Mechanically packed."

"Menomonie may be a small city, but it is a city nonetheless. You will be amazed at how quickly you can escape it on the Red Cedar State Trail. The abandoned railroad grade runs within sight of its namesake river for most of the distance to Downsville. It is a fast flowing river that freezes only in the coldest part of winter. You’ll have a good chance at spotting a bald eagle soaring above open water, hoping to swoop down and clutch an unwary fish.

Between Menomonie and Irvington the two-way trail skirts rock faces dressed in frozen waterfalls from dripping meltwater. Surface quality: Groomed periodically, double tracked, skate lane. Fees: yes."

Red Cedar State Trail Reviews

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8/15/2012
We biked this from downtown Menomonee to the confluence of the Red Cedar and Chippewa Rivers (14 miles for a 28 mile out and back). We did this on our cyclocross bikes with 38C tires and found that to be the perfect equipment for this crushed gravel/hard packed dirt trail. This trail is heavily wooded, so cool and out of the wind. Largely flat with continuous views of the Red Cedar river the entire way. There are places to stop to rest but there are really no amenities after you leave town except for a single wide spot in the road about 7 miles from the confluence. There you can find a restaurant and a general store that serves ice cream. Other than that, it's pretty much wild park along the river to make sure to bring adequate water and food/energy bars. At the Chippewa River there is a sand bar that works great for a beach. You could bring a bathing suit and cool off or have a picnic before returning. Classic Wisconsin river sand bar with drift wood and clean sand. This ride is best done with wider tires. A road bike is doable but would be tricky and uncomfortable. Best ridden with a bike with tires wider than 28C but is certainly passable by a road biker with good bike handling skills.
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7/22/2006
My husband and I went on this trail..it was beautiful! Most of the trail follows the wide Red Cedar River. It is a smooth, crushed limestone path and at times when it goes downhill, there is smooth asphalt in those areas. It starts in Menomonie, Wisconsin and ends in Dunnville which is 14.5 miles down. This trail is definately worth the visit!! There is flushable toilet facilities as you start on the trailhead and another somewhere on the trail. The trail does connect to the Chippewa Trail at the end of the 14.5 miles...be prepared to bring water bottles, etc...as there is no bathrooms, etc..on this long 22 mile stretch..this trail is asphalt, the gravelly kind which is not suitable for rollerblading, but biking only.
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Trail Information

Menomonie
Nearby City
Kid-friendly, Stroller/Wheelchair Accessible
Accessibility
Surface
Snowmobiling, Hunting, Fishing
Additional Use
dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/redcedar or wisconsintrailguide.com /bicycle/red-cedar-state-rail.html
Local Contacts
DeLorme's Wisconsin Atlas and Gazeteer
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018