Lake Michigan Pathway

Trail Map

Description Suggest an Edit

The Lake Michigan Pathway extends 9.8 miles along the Racine lakeshore. On the north side of Racine, it connects to Racine County's MRK trail at 3 Mile road and South Street. On the south side of Racine, it connects to Racine County' North Shore Trail at Chicory Road. With a connection to the Root River Pathway at the Main Street bridge, you can access many Racine attractions, by bike or on foot, including the DeKoven Center, Pershing Park, Downtown Racine, North Beach and the Racine Zoo.

Racine County's eastern edge is home to two rail-trails plus a stellar connecting trail between them. Because the county standardized its signs a few years back you won't see specific rail-trail names on display (look for Racine County Bikepath signs), but this description is for the MRK Trail as well as the Northshore Trail and Lake Michigan Pathway, spanning 15 miles from the southern county line to just shy of the northern county line. (This route is also known as the Northshore/MRK Trails.)

Start from the Northshore Trail, and head north on a crushed limestone surface. (You will also see signs for the Kenosha County Bike Trail that connects here and runs south through Kenosha to the Illinois line.) On the rail-trail, greenery surrounds you, masking residences that border the path. The trail quickly becomes classic Wisconsin farmland scenery. This is an easy flat and peaceful route for walking or biking. After crossing 19th Street, the Northshore Trail ends, but a seamless connection continues north on the Lake Michigan Pathway.

The Lake Michigan Pathway is not a rail-trail but a connector between the Northshore and MRK rail-trails. It is a series of on-road segments and paved off-road paths along beautiful Lake Michigan, through downtown Racine and its fantastic waterfront harbor, and to the famous Northshore Beach Park. There is plenty to do and see on this route, from shopping and dining in downtown Racine to the terrific playground (a fee applies) in Northshore Beach Park.

On the hill above Northshore Beach you will find the Racine Zoological Park. Following the path north, you will pass below the zoo and then have a steep climb back into a residential area. Several major street crossings end this section near the Layard Avenue entrance to the MRK Trail. The MRK Trail (named for the Milwaukee-Racine-Kenosha Railroad that traveled this route) winds up this trip with a 5-mile run to Six Mile Road. This section has an industrial feel to it: an active Union Pacific rail line shares the route, and power lines drape the trail. The surface here returns to crushed limestone. You will notice a very gradual incline as you travel north, which is good news for the swift trip back to the southern end of this county corridor.

Parking and Trail Access

Parking is available in Racine. On the north side of Racine, the pathway connects to the MRK trail at 3-Mile Road and South Street. On the south side of Racine, the pathway connects to the North Shore Trail at Chicory Road.


Detour to Wind Pointe Lighthouse!

   May, 2016 by campbob

We rode from Gateway Technical College north. The path along the lake was fantastic and we rode out to the lighthouse out on the pier. The lighthouse is nothing special, but it was fun to ride out on the pier. We continued north along the beach. The couple more

fun ride with scenic views

   October, 2013 by happyfeet1

Paved path with scenic views of Lake Michigan,long clean beaches,path meanders through Racine harbors with some challenging hills on the North side of the trail read more

Lake Michigan Pathway (Racine)

   April, 2013 by johnstorch

I liked this trail. Good change of scenery along the way. Plenty of curves in the road and no overly difficult elevation changes. Just watch out for pedestrians on this multi-use trail. read more