This is one of the best areas in the midwest for biking, both trail and road.
SUGAR RIVER TRAIL
The house is less than a quarter of a mile from the 23-mile Sugar River Trail, one of Wisconsin's first "Rails to Trails" projects.
From the farmhouse, riding on the Sugar River Trail, Brodhead and its covered bridge are 12 miles to the east, the lovely village of Monticello is about 5 miles to the west and New Glarus is another 6 miles.
The Sugar River Trail, a converted rail route built by the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul RR Co. in 1887, serves 51,000 visitors annually. The trail starts in Brodhead, goes through Albany and Monticello, and ends in New Glarus on a bed of crushed limestone. It is practically flat with a 3% grade. In Monticello the trail intersects with the Badger Trail. The trail passes through wooded areas, open fields, alongside farms and limestone bluffs and two golf courses and has a covered bridge 3 miles in from Brodhead. Because of the packed surface, a hybrid or cross bicycle is better than a road bike. The surface is crushed limestone, packed hard in most places, but with loose sand and small rocks in spots.
BADGER STATE TRAIL
Five miles from the farm, the bike trail crosses the Badger State Trail, which you can take up to Madison or south to Illinois. Taking you through rolling hills, wetlands, river bottoms, oak savanna and state wildlife areas, the two trails together offers nearly 75 miles of biking and hiking. The long Stewart Tunnel is five miles north of Monticello on the Badger Trail.
The Badger Trail is a converted 40 mile rail-to-trail recreational path that officially opened in 2007 that runs from the Illinois state line where it connects with the Jane Addams Trail, connects with the Sugar River Trail in Monticello, and extends to Madison. There are three segments ot the Badger Trail:
The southern segment runs for 32.9 miles from the Illinois border to Purcell road, the boundary between the town of Oregon and City of Fitchburg. This segment passes through the communities of Clarno, Monroe, Monticello, Exeter, and Belleville. In Monticello the Badger Trail intersects with the Sugar River Trail. Between Monticello and Belleville in the town of Exeter, the trail goes through the 980-foot-long, nearly 120 year-old Stewart Tunnel. Flashlights are recommended for going through the tunnel because a curve of the tunnel results in total darkness for a short distance in its center.
The 7.1 miles from Purcell Road to Lovell Lane, near the Madison-Fitchburg city limits, will be paved to allow for walking, hiking, bicycling and in-line skating. Paving of this section should be done in 2008 and until then it is not recommended for bicycling.
The portion of the Badger Trail corridor within the City of Madision (known as the Southwest Path) was developed and is managed by the city. It has an asphalt surface and is open for walking, running, bicycling, and in-line skating.
The 12.85 mile Jane Addams Trail in northwest Illinois, part of the Grand Illinois Trail, runs between Freeport, Illinois and the Wisconsin state line where it connects with the Badger Trail. It is bordered by the Pecatonica River, Richland Creek and Cedar Creek and travels past natural wetlands, old oak woods, grassland prairies, exposed rock embankments, and the small communities of Oneco, Orangeville, Buena Vista, Red Oak, Cedarville, Scioto Mills to the Wes Block Trail Access near Freeport.
State Trail Passes
A Wisconsin State Trail Pass is required for all cyclists age 16 and older on the Badger and Sugar River Trails. Annual trail passes may be purchased for $15.00 or a daily pass for $4.00. Trail passes are issued to individuals and are valid on all Wisconsin State Trails along with all of the other state park trails that require a trail pass for mountain biking, horse riding, and cross-country skiing. A trail pass must be purchased and carried before using the trail. Hikers are not required to pay the trail admission. Trail passes are available for purchase in Monticello, Albany, or New Glarus, and at self-registration stations at the rest areas.