Needs maintenance soon; unfortunately since 2010 Wisconsin’s government decided spending any money for natural resources was no longer an option since businesses & the rich needed more tax breaks, & it’s starting to show on our once great bike trails. This often very narrow, hard-packed crushed limestone trail is quite bumpy; much of the limestone is gone so the surface left, though still very hard, is starting to erode in big patches (a few more years & there will be holes); plus there are lots of small ruts, probably caused by rider’s tires during spring thaw or saturating rains, & a few large varmint holes. There are a few sections still in pretty good shape where there is more crushed limestone left. There is a large parking area at the Medary trailhead (w/toilets) on County Hwy. B, just east of Hwy. 16, south of Onalaska, where this trail intersects w/the Great River State Trail (which goes NW from here). The La Crosse River Trail heads east through a mix of lovely marshland, heavily wooded sections, & some farmland, w/a working railroad just to the north (great for watching trains); there are no cross roads/road access points until 5.2 miles where there is a ½ mile spur north to the large Veterans Memorial Park near West Salem on Hwy. 16, which has many toilets, pump water, picnic tables, camping, & another spur into West Salem. At 6.7 miles the trail passes through West Salem, where there is a beautiful park w/a tall, covered pavilion w/toilets & water. Crosses Linse Rd. at 8.8 miles; from here east the trail is pretty close to Hwy. B & I 90 to the south. Another 2 ¼ miles is Bangor (which is where I turned around so I didn’t go the final stretch to Sparta, but I assume the trail condition is similar; I remember years ago completing this section & it is more open & too close to I 90 for my taste). Hey Wisconsin, take care of your precious environment before it is too late– bike trails & other natural areas attract paying tourists!
The old iron trestle is the highlite of this trail
I rode this 22 mile trail on August 28, 2008 with my Scorpion Fx recumbent trike. This trail isn't much on scenery except for when going through some densely populated wooded areas, but consists mainly of open meadows and wet lands. I did, however, enjoy going over the old iron trestle that spans the La Crosse River. The trail surface is composed of crushed limestone, and is fairly straight and easy to ride with only a few slight gradients. I began the ride at Sparta, and rode to the trail head in Onalaska You can continue from here through the town of Onalaska, and connect with the Great River Trail for another 25 miles. You will also find parking in the small village of Bangor and the town of West Salem as well as a nice rest area to just relax at with rest room facilities, and a soft drink vending machine. To get to the trailhead depot at Sparta turn at the corner where you'll find the tall statue of "Ben Biken", and go about two blocks, the depot will be on your left.