The Ahnapee State Trail is an excursion through farmland and forest, and for about 5 miles it traverses the Ahnapee River as it flows to Lake Michigan. The 44-mile trail runs from Sturgeon Bay in the north to 2 miles beyond Casco Junction in the south. From here a newly constructed extension heads generally east and west, from Luxemburg (west) to Kewaunee (east) on the shores of Lake Michigan. A 0.75-mile spur at Mile 16 (along the north-south portion) heads east to Algoma. Summer months see hikers, bikers, horseback riders and horse-drawn carts and wagons, so expect a crowded ride in parts. When the snow flies cross-country skiers and snowmobilers zip along the line.
The Ahnapee State Trail follows the corridor of the Ahnapee and Western Railroad, which served as an industrial link between Door, Brown and Kewaunee counties. The steam- and diesel-powered locomotives hauled dairy goods, cherry crops and lumber until the early 1970s.
Begin the Ahnapee State Trail just south of Sturgeon Bay and continue to the small community of Forestville. At Mile 10 a pleasant lake formed by the Forestville Dam gleams in the sunlight, surrounded by cattails, phlox and high grasses during summer. The trail runs through Forestville Dam Park, which offers restrooms, picnic tables and an opportunity to watch kayakers and fishermen enjoy the lake. The section of trail in Forestville is steeped in history: in 1871 the Great Peshtigo Fire ravaged the area. Though overshadowed by the Great Chicago Fire, which occurred at the same time, historians cite the Great Peshtigo blaze as the largest and most devastating in American history. More than 1,000 people perished and 1.25 million acres were destroyed.
Teeming with perch and bass, the Ahnapee River is your companion for the next 5 miles. A bridge at Mile 12.5 affords a wonderful view of the river's twisting course toward Lake Michigan. Soon after, the river the trail meets a crossroads. Turn east and in less than 1 mile you arrive in the picturesque lakeshore community of Algoma (an Indian name meaning "park of the flowers"). Historic warehouses along the trail mark this quaint town's woodworking past. The Ahnapee State Trail is not clearly defined here, but you can follow it by looking for trail-sized stop signs and telltale railroad tracks still embedded in intersecting streets.
Heading west at the crossroads will take you to Casco Junction through a landscape dominated by red board-and-batten barns, dairy farms and wheat fields. In the small town of Casco Junction the trail parallels old manufacturing buildings.
At the intersection of Sunset Road, the trail heads west to Luxemburg (N. Main Street) and east to Kewaunee (Miller Street). The eastern section passes through three parks: Little Scarboro and Kewaunee River State Public Fishery Areas and Bruemmer Park.
Parking and Trail Access
Sturgeon Bay - The trailhead and parking lot are just south of the city along Neenah Avenue. The trail continues north off the rail corridor along Neenah Avenue and other city streets, crossing State Highways 42/57 into the city of Sturgeon Bay.
Forestville - There is parking at the Forestville Dam County Park adjacent to the Ahnapee State Trail.
Algoma - There are three parking areas near Algoma: along County Highway M just north of the city, on Navarino Street in Algoma and at the Algoma trailhead.
Casco - Parking is available on County Highway C (Church Street) near the trail.
Sunset Road - Parking is available at Harold Reckelberg Park on Sunset Road in Casco Junction, at the junction where the trail forks to Luxemburg, Kewaunee and Casco.
Luxemburg - The trail starts near County Highway AB and parking is available along city streets.
Kewaunee - There are two trailheads in Kewaunee: the southern trailhead begins at Beardsly Street near County Highway E; the northern trailhead is near the intersection of State Highway 42 (Main Street) and Hathaway Drive. Parking is available at several locations in Kewaunee.
I recently rode from Luxemburg, WI to Sturgeon Bay WI. What a ride. The trail was very nice and well marked in most places. I missed the turn from Algoma to Sturgeon Bay. It wasn't marked the best and then once in Sturgeon Bay the in town trail was terribly ...
Luxemburg to Algoma
Rode this stretch from Luxemburg to Algoma on a beautiful Sunday. Trail is in great shape, except for the places where horse owners chose not to be responsible with their animals' droppings. The stretch from Casco to Algoma is basically uninhabited - ...
Very quiet and peaceful
"I rode this trail on 9/03/07 with my Scorpion Fx trike.
The Ahnappe Trail is a slow trail to ride because it consists mainly of crushed pea gravel. I found my average speed to be around 5-6 MPH. The trail is reasonably flat with a few grades here and ...