Your Guide to Biking the Elroy-Sparta Trail

The Elroy-Sparta Trail is known for its amazing long tunnels near our Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast

One of the most popular attractions in the area is biking on the famed Elroy-Sparta Trail. This beautiful trail spans 32.5 miles between Elroy and Sparta and passes through the scenic heart of Wisconsin’s Driftless Region. Completed in 1967, it is the oldest rail trail in the country and remains a favorite among visitors. The breathtaking beauty along the 32.5 miles of the trail is truly remarkable. If you haven’t visited the Driftless Region of Wisconsin before, you’re in for a pleasant surprise as you explore this fantastic bike trail.

The three railroad tunnels on the Elroy-Sparta Trail are more than 140 years old and remain a fascinating and popular part of the journey. Many people stop at the tunnels to catch their breath and admire the historic beauty. The tunnels closest to Kendall and Wilton are approximately 1/4 mile in length. However, the tunnel between Norwalk and Sparta is an impressive 3/4 of a mile long—you’ll want to have a headlamp or a flashlight! And even in the warmer months, these stone halls can be chilly, so pack layers accordingly. 

Justin Trails Bed and Breakfast is located right in the heart of Wisconsin’s Driftless Area, known for its stunning topography, unique features, and plentiful opportunities for outdoor recreation. We’re nestled in a private coulee near the town of Sparta, which is known for the Elroy-Sparta Trail. While you don’t need to leave our beautiful 200-acre property to enjoy all the Driftless Area has to offer, a day spent biking or hiking through the tunnels of the Elroy-Sparta Trail is the perfect way to spend a summer afternoon. We have a diverse selection of lodging options to fit any style of getaway—get outside with us this year and book a room at our Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast Resort!

Elroy-Sparta Trail, photo of the path along a bike trail in Wisconsin

Your Guide to Biking or Hiking the Elroy-Sparta Trail

The Elroy-Sparta Trail, which is just minutes from Justin Trails Resort near Sparta, Wisconsin, was the first rails-to-trails project of its kind in the country. It also travels through some truly beautiful countryside. As such, it’s one of the most popular trails in the country, whether for biking or hiking. Due to its relatively flat and well-maintained surface, this is an ideal place for families to bond out in the great outdoors. 

The trail, which extends for a total of 32.5 miles, is popular from May – November. It connects the communities of Sparta, Norwalk, Wilton, Kendall, and Elroy. The Elroy-Sparta Trail also provides a connection to the La Crosse River State Trail and the 400 State Trail as well. There is also a connection at Elroy Commons to the 13-mile Omaha County Trail, which you can use to ride to Mill Bluff State Park. There’s no shortage of amazing biking trails in Wisconsin to discover! 

The biggest attractions on the Elroy-Sparta State Bike Trail are the three old railroad tunnels, but its scenic vistas of wetlands, prairies, farmland, and unglaciated areas provide a beautiful backdrop for your ride as well. The railroad tunnels are 140 years old, remnants of a distant era in Wisconsin’s history.

Two of the tunnels are 1/4 mile long, but one of them is an incredible 3/4 mile long. It’s so dark that you need a flashlight, and you have to walk your bike. Though the trail is open and available as a snowmobiling trail year-round, the tunnels are closed during the winter. Marked trails are used to circumvent them.

If you don’t want to bring your own bike but still want to enjoy the Elroy-Sparta when you stay at our resort, you can rent from Speed’s Bike Shop in Sparta. They also sell the needed bike trail passes, and they even provide a shuttle service to your choice of towns so you can start your journey from the location of your choice. As a guest at our Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast, feel free to ask our knowledgeable innkeepers and staff for directions, about rentals, or the best way to enjoy the Elroy-Sparta Trail. 

The Elroy-Sparta Trail is near our Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast

However you spend your days in Wisconsin, you’ll need a relaxing place to call home in the evenings. For that, there is nowhere better than the Justin Trails Bed and Breakfast Resort. You can choose to stay in one of our many beautiful accommodations, which include farmhouse bed and breakfast suites, a garden cottage, or Scandinavian Full-Scribe log cabins. 

Each offers a slightly different experience, but all come with excellent hospitality, luxurious amenities, and welcoming service. Each morning, you’ll find a beautiful and hearty breakfast available to guests staying in our B&B rooms and Wisconsin cabins; for those glamping or camping, there’s an add-on package for your morning meal. 

While heading out to explore the Elroy-Sparta Trail is a must—especially for those cycling enthusiasts—you’ll find a host of activities to discover on our 200-acre property. From pet llamas and two championship disc golf courses to hiking trails and nightly bonfires, you won’t have to go far to relax and have fun with your partner, friends, or family. Extra perk? Our entire resort and lodging options are pet-friendly—so there is no need to leave our four-legged family members at home. You’ll enjoy a Wisconsin getaway like no other. Book your lodging at our luxury Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast today! 

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