The Ahnapee Bike Trail, Wisconsin

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Endless roads of limestone, trees, and farmland. Farmhouse along the trail, just south of Sturgeon Bay.
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View from the Forestville dam.

Article and photos by Dale Kiffel

The Ahnapee state trail runs from Sturgeon Bay in the North, to Algoma in the South, then west to Casco for a total distance of 28.6 mi.  The trail is named for the Ahnapee River, which parallels the route for about five miles between Forestville and Algoma.  Ahnapee means "when?" in Ojibwa.  A portion of the trail near Forestville passes through  an area burned by the Great Peshtigo Fire of 1871.   The most devastating forest fire in  American history destroyed more than 1.25 million acres and killed at least 1,152 people.  The fire occurred at the same time of the Great Chicago Fire and was overshadowed by it, even though the Peshtigo fire was larger and deadlier.

The trail received its origin from the Ahnapee & Western Railroad, which served as an industrial link for Door, Brown, and Kewaunee Counties.  It had major destinations in   Algoma, Sturgeon Bay and Casco Junction.  Steam and diesel powered locomotives journeyed through Wisconsin hauling lumber, dairy products, and other commodities.  In the early 1970's, costs and alternative routes of shipping forced the Ahnapee and Western to abandon the line.  The State of Wisconsin opened the cleared railway as a recreation trail for bicyclists, horseback riders, hikers and snowmobilers in 1975.

Map of the Ahnapee State Trail

Ahnapee Trail Photos:  Sturgeon Bay to Algoma.
Ahnapee Trail Photos:   Forestville to Casco.

Article submitted by Dale Kiffel Cycling Enthusiast
Photos are from September, 2003