The 400 State Trail travels between Reedsburg and Elroy on 22.3 miles of old Chicago and North Western Railroad line. The trail's curious name has an obvious origin. It is named for the trainNumber 400that traveled 400 miles from Chicago to Minneapolis in 400 minutes.
The trail, which parallels the Baraboo River for its entire run, is really four trails in one. It connects to the Hillsboro
state trails for a combined total of 95 miles. With a packed limestone surface, plus 11 bridges crisscrossing the Baraboo, the 400 State Trail provides a smooth, flat riding surface. You will see many bicyclists on this trail, although snowmobiles use it in winter, and there is an adjacent 7-mile equestrian path between Lavalle and Wonewoc.
Start your ride in Reedsburg near the visitor center in the restored railroad depot. Stop here to purchase a trail pass or visit the trail's website for other ticket locations. Reedsburg is known for small-town friendliness and city convenience. There are antique shops galore and all variety of restaurants. Spending the night is easy, too, with hotels and B&Bs, plus a campground if you want to connect with the area's rich natural surroundings.
After 6 miles on the trail you arrive at Lake Redstone. To reach the lake, travel 0.5 mile off the trail itself. This mammoth manmade lake has a public rest area where you can refresh yourself and take in the gorgeous natural scenery. Continue north, traveling through the village of LaValle, where you can make a pit stop or visit one of Lavalle's local treasures; then pass Dutch Hollow Lake. The lake, clear and inviting, has a sandy beach and campground.
Wonewoc is the trail's midpoint. A campsite and public rest area make it a great place to stop and take in the wooded scenery. Next is Union Center, with another public rest area and the starting point for the 4-mile Hillsboro Trail. Stay on the 400 State Trail for about another 4 miles to its end and the start of the Elroy-Sparta and Omaha rail-trails at Elroy Commons. After 22 miles of riding, you might want to stay awhile and enjoy this quaint town's public library or museum; eat at one of the local restaurants or visit a specialty shop. You can also stay overnight and rest up for a journey on one of the other scenic rail-trails in this quiet corner of southwestern Wisconsin.
From Milwaukee, take 1-90 to I-94 west to Highway 23 then turn onto Highway 33, which will take you into Reedsburg. Once in Reedsburg, pass four traffic lights and make a left, then go two blocks; the trail head is on your right.