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The 400 and Elroy-Sparta Trails 6/12/2011 – Reedsburg, WI to Sparta, WI

Posted by on June 13, 2011

On Sunday, June 12th, 2011 i took a ride from Reedsburg, WI to Sparta WI and back along the “400” State Trail and Elroy-Sparta State Trail. This route was about 114 miles round trip after some biking in Sparta to get lunch. This was my first century of the season.

This route consists of the 22 mile “400” State Trail from Reedsburg to Elroy. The “400” State Trail then connects with the 32 mile Elroy-Sparta State Trail which runs from Elroy to Sparta. You could actually take this continuous trail all the way to Marshland, WI at the Minnesota border by continuing on to the La Crosse River State then to the Great River State Trail which would be 100 miles each way.

The “400” State Trail.
The “400” State Trail is 22 miles long and runs from Reedsburg, WI to Elroy, WI. The trail has relatively low traffic compared to the more popular Elroy-Sparta trail; I didn’t pass to many people on my way to Elroy. Much of the “400” Trail follows the Baraboo River and crosses it many times during the trip. There is also a 7 mile stretch where horses are allowed from LaValle to Wonewoc and you need to be careful of horse dung on the trail. The “400” trail has some great views along the Baraboo River that need to be seen. I have some pictures below and in my 400 Trail photo album. One thing of note is that some of the restrooms and water at the trailheads are only open from 8-5, keep this is mind if you’re planning your trip. I have locations and hours of restrooms and water in my 400 State Trail Map. This trail gets less press than the popular Elroy-Sparta trail, but after finally taking the whole trail id have to say the views are better on the 400 trail.

The Elroy-Sparta State Trail
The Elroy-Sparta trail is 32 miles and runs from Elroy, WI to Sparta, WI. This trail is a popular tourist destination and can be crowded with casual bikers during the summer. I got lucky on this trip and traffic was relatively low compared to 2 trips I look last year. The Elroy-Sparta trail has some great views,but the highlights of the trail are the 3 old railroad tunnels The tunnels in Kendall and Wilton tunnels are about a 1/4 mile long and pretty dry. The Norwalk tunnel is around ¾ of a mile long and has a lot of water dripping from the ceiling and id be careful of electronics. Pictures of the tunnels can be found in my Elroy-Sparta photo album and below. One rant I have about the Elroy-Sparta trail is the poor trail etiquette of some casual bikers. For some reason families and groups like to stop in the middle of the trail and take up the whole path not allowing other bikers to pass. I was routinely yelling ‘on your left’ a good distance from people and receiving blank looks and only after stopping did they move out of the path. So please, if your a casual biker pay attention to your surrounding and follow trail etiquette and you will enjoy the trail much more. If you’re a serious biker looking to get some miles in you might want to avoid this trail on the busy weekends, but id still highly recommend checking this trail out.

After this 115 mile trip i was pretty beat, with lunch and the photo breaks i was biking from 8:45 am to 8:45 pm. I have some of the highlights below, but id check out the photo albums for a lot of great shots.

400 State Trail Map
400 State Trail Photo Album

Elroy-Sparta Trail Map
Elroy-Sparta Photo Album

View of the Baraboo River & Hemlock-Sauk County Park
From 400 Trail


Sun starting to set in the late afternoon
From 400 Trail


Tank in Lavalle
From 400 Trail


Small waterfall by the east entrance of the Kendall tunnel
From Elroy Sparta Trail


West entrance of the Kendall Tunnel
From Elroy Sparta Trail


Sparta Depot
From Elroy Sparta Trail

2 Responses to The 400 and Elroy-Sparta Trails 6/12/2011 – Reedsburg, WI to Sparta, WI

  1. Dann

    Nice job! I have noticed on my bike travels across WI that most small towns have a tank in them, and I see you found one, also.

    • Bart

      I’m going to have to keep a lookout for more of them as i start to explore some of the more obscure trails

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