The 400 State Trail, Wisconsin

The 400 State Trail is a beautiful, mostly flat, crushed stone rails-to-trails trail that runs from Reedsburg, Wisconsin north and west to Elroy, Wisconsin where it connects to the Elroy-Sparta Bike trail.

This is actually part of a series of bike trails (referred to as the "Bike 4 Trails" in Wisconsin) which you can take (starting with the 400 State Trail at the southeast end) all the way from Reedsburg to the Mississippi River (near LaCrosse) and then north to just past Trempealeu, Wisconsin for a nice little 101 mile bike ride!

400 State Trail Headquarters
The 400 State Trail Headquarters in Reedsburg, Wisconsin.
Baraboo River along 400 State Trail
One of the converted railroad bridges overlooking the Baraboo River.

400 State Trail Bridge in lavalle
Fall colors surrounding a bridge on the 400 State Trail as you head out of Lavalle.

Getting back to the 400 State Trail, this is a beautiful 22 mile bike trail in south-western Wisconsin. The trail head (on the south east end) is in Reedsburg, WIsconsin which is not far from the Wisconsin Dells.

If you are wondering about the name of the trail, it comes from the old railroad days when the original Chicago-Northwestern passenger trail ran 400 miles, in 400 minutes, (from Chicago and Minneapolis/St. Paul).

We even managed to do the 400 trail on our bikes in less that 400 minutes! (the current 400 trail is only one 22 mile stretch of the original 400 mile railroad route).

As we were riding the trail on our bikes, I was thinking that maybe it stood for 400 bridges on the trail! Of course, that is exaggerating. There are quite a few bridges on this trail (but not quite 400 :-)).

400 State Trail Fall View
Beautiful fall colors and rock formations along the 400 State Trail.

kayak and building in Wonewoc
Some interesting views, like this kayak and old building, in Wonewoc, Wis.

400 State Trail Head in Elroy
The trail head at the other end of the trail in Elroy, Wis.

Bike Trail Information

There are plenty of places to stay in Reedsburg and a lot of hotels and camping options in the area and along the trail. A friend and I just rode the trail at one of the peak times in the fall (Our trip was October 7th) and the weather was excellent and the colors were fantastic (just check out the photo tour)!

Parking at the trail head (in Reedsburg) was not a problem. They have a huge lot at the trail head. I can't say if it fills up in the peak summer riding season but it was no problem for our fall ride.

Unfortunately, there is a fee for most of the state trails in Wisconsin (like the 400 trail) but it is not all that bad $4/day or $20 for the year (as of October 2011). Hopefully the majority of the fees help to keep the trail maintained (as they say).

Here's a copy of the bike trail map of the 400 State Trail that I had from a Bike 4 Trails brochure (you will want to click on it for the full size version).

400 State Trail Map
(click to enlarge)

Bike 4 Trails - Information and Photo Pages

I originally rode the Elroy-Sparta Trail quite a few years ago in July and our photos of the Lacrosse River Trail and Great River Trail are from September. Our ride this year on the 400 State Trail is from October so you can get an idea about how the trails look at different times of the year (most of the trail photos that I see on the internet for these trails are in the summer (naturally, since this would be peak season)).

The 4 connecting Wisconsin trails (aka Bike 4 Trails) going from southeast to northwest are:


400 State Trail, Wisconsin - Photo Pages

Here's the photo tour of the 400 State Trail from October, 2011. The photos are from our trip from Reedsburg to Elroy and back. The focus of the photo tour is the bike trail itself, interesting fall photos from the trail and scenes along the bikes trail.

The 400 State Trail - Photos 1 - Starting in Reedsburg
The 400 State Trail - Photos 2 - Baraboo River and LaValle
The 400 State Trail - Photos 3 - Northwest from LaValle
The 400 State Trail - Photos 4 - Into Wonewoc Wisconsin
The 400 State Trail - Photos 5 - Wonewoc to Union Center
The 400 State Trail - Photos 6 - Union Center to Elroy
The 400 State Trail - Photos 7 - Returning from Elroy, Wi

I would highly recommend this trail for a beautifully scenic country ride...

Enjoy your ride...

Photos © Copyright Rob Chapman, and Dale Kiffel (photos denoted with *).