4oo Trail -Discover Wisconsin by Bike, Explore the Wisconsin 400 State Trail this Summer!
The “400″ Trail was named after the Chicago-Northwestern passenger train that traveled the 400 miles from Chicago to Minneapolis/St. Paul in just 400 minutes.
The trail was built on the abandoned railroad grade. Packed limestone screenings and bridges with planked floors provide a smooth bike riding and hiking surface.
The “400″ Trail is one section of the state’s 117 miles of linked recreational trails that run throughout west central Wisconsin. The Baraboo River runs parallel to the trail for it’s entire 22-mile length from Reedsburg to the town of Elroy. Visitors enjoy the scenic view of sandstone bluffs, wetlands, bountiful wildlife, rolling croplands and hillsides as well as several quaint villages along the way.
The 400 Trail begins at the renovated train depot in Reedsburg which is now the trail headquarters and also serves as the Chamber of Commerce. The depot is an informational center with public rest area facilities. Bicycles and trailers for children are available for rent there and at various businesses along the trail.
The 400 Trail Headquarters is located at 240 Railroad St., Reedsburg, Wisconsin. Their local number is 608-524-2850 or you can call toll-free to: 1-800-844-3507. Reedsburg is located on the south end of the 400 Trail and is also part of the Wisconsin Bikeway, a 300-mile route leading from La Crosse to Kenosha. This statewide bicyle trail was the first in the U.S.
Reedsburg is 15 miles from Interstate I90-94 and just a short drive from popular WI attractions.
Some favorite places in Wisconsin to visit include: Wisconsin Dells, Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Devil’s Lake State Park, Mid-Continent Railway Museum and the House On the Rock. In the city of Reedsburg you can visit the Pioneer Village and Norman Rockwell Museums.
Reedsburg’s Main Street (Highway 23/33) is lined with Historic homes and their are many shops and restaurants to choose from throughout the city. There is also a 24-hour emergency room located at the Reedsburg Area Medical Center.
Reedsburg hosts several annual events such as: the Sunday-Memorial Day weekend chicken barbecue, Fly-in Drive-in Breakfast the first Sunday of June, Butter Festival the third weekend of June, Reedikulus Day the last Friday of July and the Harvest Festival, first Saturday of October.
LaValle is the next stop on the 400 Trail, located at the crossroads of Highways 33 and 58, seven miles west of Reedsburg. LaValle is known as “The Crossroads to the Lakes” since it is located between Dutch Hollow Lake and Lake Redstone, in a valley with the Baraboo River running directly through it. About a 1/2 mile to the North on Hwy 33 is Hartje’s Farm, Home & Sports and the area’s only WI Travel Center, where bicyclists can find bike and camping supplies as well as a convenience grocery, liquor store, auto repair & tire service.
Just West of town on Dutch Hollow Rd. is Hemlock Park with fishing, restrooms, grills, a children’s park, a shelter and picnic areas. The community park located in the center of town also features a large shelter and restrooms as well as a baseball diamond, pool, tennis and basketball courts. LaValle’s annual celebration takes place here on the second Sunday in August.
Events include: a parade, chicken barbecue, children’s games and the Fun Run. Other events include: the LaValle Spring Fling the first weekend in May, and the Holiday Shop Walk the weekend after Thanksgiving. The LaValle area of the 400 Trail is unique because it has a horse trail that runs adjacent to the bike trail. Ample horse trailer parking and hitching posts are available within city limits.
Some of the most scenic views along the 400 Trail can be seen between LaValle and Wonewoc, which is the next stop on the trail. Wildlife enthusiasts will enjoy seeing the rare Sandhill cranes, deer, beavers, racoons, badgers and many types of birds in their natural habitat. Be sure to remember your camera and binoculars!
Downtown LaValle also features several unique shops, restaurants, lodging and service facilities including a laundromat and grocery store.
Village of Wonewoc Information
Next on the 400 Trail is the village of Wonewoc, located about mid-way and within the “driftless area” of Wisconsin. Two parks are located in Wonewoc, directly off the trail and include covered shelter, restrooms, lighted tennis courts and a baseball field. The American Legion park has a large in-ground pool and shower facilities. The park features the only public campground on the trail between Elroy and Reedsburg.
Club Chapparal Campground and Restaurant is located off Hwy 33 about 3 miles south of Wonewoc. Bike and canoe rentals are available there. Wonewoc features several restaurants, shops and a great bakery. Local celebrations include Old Fashioned Day in May, and a July 4th Celebration.
Village of Union Center
Union Center is next on the 400 Trail, at the junction of State Highways 80/82 and 33, between Wonewoc and Elroy. Just to the north of town trail riders will see beaver dams, protected wetlands and the unique habitat of the locale harbor. Union Center features a nine-hole golf course and a supper club that serves nightly specials. Other services include: several bars and grills, shops, a convenience store and motel. Stop and enjoy Eagle Parkway located off the trail, where you can find a playground and sheltered picnic area.
City of Elroy Information
Last on the 400 Trail, but certainly not least, is the city of Elroy which is situated in the unglaciated southwest corner of Juneau County. Once a prominent railroad center, it is now the hub of three bike trails, the Elroy-Sparta, “400″ and the Omaha trails. They meet at a downtown park, known as the Commons, which provides parking, restrooms, lockers, showers, pay phone, picnic facilities and a Tot Lot. Restaurants, grocery stores and other community shops are close by. There is also a movie theater, the Carnegie Library and Elroy Area Historical Society Museum there.
Some of the Best Wisconsin River Fishing
Some of the best trout fishing can be found at the west fork of the Baraboo River here as well as at the city park just south of town.
The city park has facilities for RV hookups, tent camping, picnicing and a swimming pool with showers for campers. Several bed and breakfasts and an airport are within a few miles of Elroy.
Events include: Dairy Days, held early in June and the Elroy Fair which is the fourth weekend of July. For more information call 1-888-606-BIKE (2453) or visit elroywi.com
Important 400 Trail Info:
Trail passes are required for bikers age 16 and older. Daily and seasonal passes can be purchased at outlets along the trail. A day pass is $4 per person and a season pass is $20 per person (Good from May 1 until it snows, then the trail is used for snowmobilers) Area services are listed on the bulletin boards posted along the 400 Trail.
Bike trails can erode quickly during heavy rains and can become soft and unstable. They are not designed for high speed travel and motorcycles or ATVs are not allowed on the trail. (horses are allowed on a separate section of trail in LaValle)
Keep at least two bike lengths between riders and warn others when passing. Bike clothing (reflective for night riding), shoes, pant leg clips and helmets are recommended. Also, keep your bike under complete control at all times.