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 North Shore 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
To access the northern point of the MRK Trail, take State Route 32 north from Racine. Turn right on 6 Mile Road. The trailhead is on the right 0.25 mile ahead. There is no parking here.
Good biking, but not for scenery
This is a good biking trail it's crushed stone and it's long and straight and it brings you all the way to Cliffside Park where the trail ends. You can ride in Cliffside Park, but it's a small trail it's mainly a good resting stop to relax and enjoy the ...
" While the description suggests ""urban and rural setting"", my impression of this trail has always been mostly ""YEEECHHHHH"". High tension powerlines and existing railroad lines parallel virtually the entire length of this trail, making it's scenic ...