Scenic views, but trail very rough
We rode this trail in July 2013, starting from the Ft. McCoy trail head. There is a small parking area and a covered patio here with some picnic tables.
Riding the trail on our Gekko trikes, we noticed right away that this was a very rough trail. The asphalt surface is very old and seems to see infrequent maintenance. The center of the trail had a grass 'mohawk', which on standard two wheel bikes is of little concern, however on our trikes we found it difficult to avoid the rough areas.
Overall we found it much rougher than the crushed limestone Elroy-Sparta or 400 Trail because the age of the trail has caused it to develop many bumps, likely from winter frost heaves. Also, because it is used by snowmobiles during winter, much of the softer asphalt was worn away and it resembled a packed pebble trail in many spots.
We rode only from Ft. McCoy to a couple miles past Hustler and back. (About 6 miles in give or take) Its a very scenic trail, closed in by trees and the eroded limestone walls this area is famous for. Would have loved to ride all the way to Elroy and back, but as our trikes don't have shock absorbers the jostling got to be very uncomfortable. If they were to repave this trail, it would be the kind of delight one would ride over and over.
I was on the Omaha Trail from Elroy to Hustler. The trail is paved, but it's not a smooth surface; nevertheless, the surface was solid and not too bumpy. Comments from a few years ago suggest that the road bed is in bad condition, but I didn't find it that way. Between Elroy and Hustler you climb through a series of sandstone ridges that are heavily forested and absolutely beautiful. At the top of one ridge, you travel through a long, dark railroad tunnel (be sure to bring bike lights!). If you are traveling north, once you exit the tunnel, it's all downhill to Hustler. You'll be tempted to go fast on this section of the trail, but if you do, you won't have time to take in the incredible beauty of the forests that line the trail.
The Omaha Trail is a county trail, and if you are over 18, you need a pass to ride it ($1.00 daily pass and $5.00 annual). You need to buy this pass at one of several business along the trail (there are no self-service boxes). I bought mine at the Elroy Commons Trailshop, 303 Railroad St.
Needs better maintenance to restore the surface
I rode this trail on a beautiful warm sunny day on August 29, 2008 with my Scorpion Fx trike. The trails surface is composed of compressed gravel making the surface as hard as cement. However, it seems like very little maintenance is done on this trail because of it's ruts and pot holes throughout the length of this 14 mile trail, a biker has to be careful when navigating this trail. I began my ride from the restored railroad depot at the commons' in Elroy where the Sparta-Elroy and 400' trails intersect as well. To get to the Omaha Trail, you'll need to follow the 400' trail for a short distance, and then follow the brown signs along the city streets until you arrive at the start of the trail. The scenery is beautiful along this trail consisting of woods, unique sandstone bluffs, serene meadows, farm land and the quaint town of Hustler. Before Hustler you'll approach the tunnel by way of a 120 foot gradual climb, when compared to the Sparta-Elroy tunnels, it's somewhat anticlimactic considering it's length is only about 1/8 of a mile long, but still a pleasure to ride through on a hot day. A ways down, after you leave the tunnel, you'll come to the only rest area along the trail with full facilities. At one point on the trail you'll cross what is known as the shelf where the trail is sandwhiched between bluffs on one side, and a 75' drop off to the road below on the opposite side. The day I rode the trail, this portion was broken up because of the heavy rains we had here in wisconsin in spring, But I was still able to get around the broken portions of the trail safely.
I found this trail to be very peacefull and pleasant to ride, but it should be better maintained.