John Muir Trails

Palmyra, Wisconsin 53156

John Muir Trails

John Muir Trails Professional Review and Guide

"The John Muir Trails, nestled in the heart of the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, are the gem of Wisconsin mountain bike trails. They are the best kept, most extensively ridden, and all around most enjoyable routes in the state. About 30 miles of singletrack are laid out in a variety of technical paths offering everyone from beginners to experts a loop to ride.

In addition to being one of the best, this cluster is also the source of some of the highest traffic. In 1996, eighty thousand day passes were sold at this park, putting the number of riders well over one hundred thousand. The trail system is named after the legendary environmentalist of the same name who traveled the country around the turn of the century and founded the Sierra Club. While much of Muir’s research took place in the West, Wisconsin was a favorite state of his that cropped up often in his writing. Perhaps his book Steep Trails, published four years after his death in 1918, was a predecessor of sorts to mountain biking guides."

John Muir Trails Reviews

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This is a great trail for all levels of bikers. Well marked and I would go back.
Well maintained, many loops to choose from, truly an awesome ride. Great single track with a little of everything. Take the blue loop; make it a 20mi ride by tying in the connecter. Bring good bug spray, spare tube, and lots of water.
Took a ride on April 30, late afternoon. Beautiful park, with very nice facilities. This was my first ever ride here, as I am from Virginia and am just visiting the area. I only had time for the Green Loop. For starters, the park is beautiful (for being in Wisconsin). Good diversity of foilage, including a pretty section through some pines. This is a ride that you should slow down a little and look around at the surrounding environment your first few times through. As for mountain biking, I found the trail to be somewhat easy. It is not very intense; rather, it is more of an endurance challenge. There are some punishing hills, however there is plenty of time to recover which makes the ride seem easier than it really is. Also, I did not find the ride to be very technical, except in a few spots. There are just too many stretches with very few rocks and roots, and the trail is generally pretty wide. Despite lacking a technical challenge, this trail is a lot of fun. Riders seem to get the most out of their trail, and I was impressed. Some trails just plain kill you, and others are just plain fun. I would put this one in the fun category. It may be good for some beginners who have good endurance and want to improve their skills on the trail. My biggest beef, however, with this park is it is way too pricey. You have to pay (a lot of money) to park and then to have a trail pass as well. This is a major drawback, and in my opinion hurts the park's ratings. Furthermore, it is not a very convenient location (although I may be spoiled by the numerous parks near my home in VA). If you are going to this park, I suggest giving yourself a lot of time so you can ride multiple trails. Overall, I had a lot of fun with this trail and consider it more of a tiring joy ride than anything. Wisconsin should be very proud of this park, despite its high prices and high traffic.
Emma has, I believe 4 different loops ranging between 1.5 to 4 miles. John Muir has 5 different loops ranging from 1.5 to 10 miles. The connector trail, which connect Emma & Muir (imagine that) is 5 miles one way.

John Muir Trails Photos

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Trail Information

Nearby City
Trail Type
Moderate to Difficult
Technical Difficulty
Moderate to Difficult
Physical Difficulty
The trails are open from April to November. Erosion is an issue and signs will be posted after heavy rains and early in the spring thaw asking riders to refrain from using the trail. Any season is excellent for riding at John Muir.
Palmyra Chamber of Commerce 414-495-2611, Wisconsin Department of Tourism, and Wisconsin Off-Road Bike Association 608-222-5608.
Local Contacts
The trail is shown on the USGS 7.5 minute quad for Whitewater. Maps are available at the trailhead.
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018