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The Ahnapee State Trail in northeast Wisconsin provides a scenic 45-mile journey between Sturgeon Bay and Kewaunee, featuring a tour of water bodies along the Door Peninsula. It also overlaps two sections of the Ice Age Trail (totaling about 17 miles): from Kewaunee to just shy of Luxemburg, and from Algoma on the shores of Lake Michigan to Sturgeon Bay. The Ice Age Trail is a 1,200-mile hiking route across the state and a National Scenic Trail.
The trail follows the former corridor of the Ahnapee and Western Railway, which once 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.
Start your journey at Sturgeon Bay, home to a variety of restaurants and cafés. Parking is available at the northernmost trailhead at South Neenah Avenue and Wilson Road, just south of town, as well as at various points throughout the city. The first 11.5 miles to the town of Forestville traverse agricultural fields and forested areas. At Forestville Dam County Park, you’ll find parking, restrooms, and your first views of the Ahnapee River through the trees to the west. You’ll follow the Ahnapee River south another 6.1 miles to the town of Algoma, where the river flows into Lake Michigan.
The route detours briefly in Algoma to Navarino Street, where you can opt to continue for several blocks on-road to the lakefront. Crescent Beach and its attractive boardwalk are located just farther south, along Lake Street. To bypass Algoma, make a sharp right turn to stay on the trail, just past Birch Street.
About 10.5 miles past Algoma, just beyond Casco, trail users can detour west to the town of Luxemburg or head east along the Kewaunee River, which playfully disappears and reappears along the remaining 12.3 miles of trail. Along this segment, you’ll find fields of sunflowers and apple orchards that sometimes shed their bounty on the trail (a favorite of horses).
Bruemmer Park, located just outside of Kewaunee, offers shady spots to rest and a small zoo, which is open from 7 a.m. to sunset year-round and offers free admission. As you reach the southern end of the trail, it curves north and splits, with one prong leading to Main Street, just above two marinas, and the other leading to the trail’s southern terminus where the Kewaunee River empties into Lake Michigan.
Here, you’ll find an old train depot that has been converted into a public pavilion with parking. Explore the old clock tower on the depot for a piece of history, or enjoy the lake and the various shops and restaurants that Kewaunee has to offer.
NOTE: Snowmobilers and ATV/UTV users must display either a Wisconsin registration or an ATV/UTV or snowmobile State Trail Pass. For more information, go to dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/trailpass.html.
To access the northern trailhead and parking at Sturgeon Bay from SR 42, turn south off SR 42 onto S. Neenah Ave. Go 1.2 miles and, with a cornfield and a brown AHNAPEE STATE TRAIL l sign on your right, turn left to reach the parking area (0.2 mile north of Wilson Road). Parking is also available at various locations toward Sturgeon Bay, such as Cherry Blossom Park on S. Lansing Ave. and various on-street spots.
To access the southern trailhead in Kewaunee from I-43, take Exit 171 for Depere Road toward Greenleaf/Denmark, heading east, and follow Depere for 0.9 mile—Depere Road turns into Main St. along the way. Veer right onto Wisconsin Ave. and continue for 0.2 mile. Bear left to continue on County Road KB for 2.3 miles, crossing the Neshota River, and then turn left onto County Road P. After 6 miles, turn right onto SR 29 E./SR 29 Trunk E. Go 14.4 miles and turn left onto Milwaukee St., noting the ahnapee state trail sign on your right at the intersection of Milwaukee and Harrison Sts. In 0.1 mile, turn left into the trailhead parking lot, located across the street from Harbor Park and a restaurant parking lot.
Forestville to Algoma: Peaceful, relaxing ride through rural Wisconsin and the bridge offers a nice spot to stop and enjoy the view for a moment. I would have given this section of the trail 5stars, but the area near the marsh had high water due to the recent rains and the shoulders are softer much more to the middle of the road than expected.
I do have a previous review from 2016 but I wanted to add that we did a section starting in Kewaunee. The trail itself was wonderful once you get past the Bremmer Park Zoo. Surprisingly smooth given how other sections of the trail are not.
The trouble was, and this is informational for anyone planning to start out at the designated trail head on River Road, the trail is closed with a detour. I think because of the high river and lake level the trail may be flooded. We didn't think much of it and took the detour. Up a very long (about 1/2 mile) steep hill through a neighborhood. Then a few other side streets. Then down another steep long hill (3/4 mile), this one on a curving two lane highway (Hwy C) with almost no shoulder. And lots of fast moving vehicles. Very dangerous.
If you want to start near Kewaunee you are best off parking at the Bremmer Park Zoo, only a 5 minute ride from the official trail head.
We road this trail in 2 separate trips across the months of July and August: from Luxemburg to Kewanee and later, Luxemburg to Algoma. Both trips were 16 miles point to point for a total of two 32 mile round trips. A good portion of the trails are shady even with a high sun and we found both to be in good shape with no horse damage or washouts, ruts, animal holes, etc. Starting point in Luxemburg was the typical: "That's the parking lot?"
Luxemburg to Kewaunee - There is parking lot and Portolet about 4 miles outside of Luxemburg which can be a starting point for those less ambitious and near the north/south split to either the Kewaunee or Algoma leg. In Kewaunee, we got some passable brats from the gas station/store across from the clock tower trail head, and sat by the tug boat in the harbor. Looking at the map, we should have moved to the park further north on the lake shore, but now we know. Bruemmer park (water!) 4 miles west of Kewaunee is a nice shady spot to rest, but the "zoo" there needs some help.
The Luxemburg to Algoma leg was substantially weedier (and better marked) but the ground beneath was firm and smooth....so no big deal. In fact, riding on the weeds gave that eerie/stealthy "no sound" tire roll which is very cool. You could probably find some water/facilities in Casco which is not quite half way, but we did not stop. We much preferred the Algoma shore rail terminus as their lake shore/boardwalk is nicer. We got lunch at the A&W across the street.
We encountered scarcely a soul on either trail and both were typical Wisconsin farm, woods, river trails. We're not sure if we will do the northern part of this trail between Forestville and Sturgeon Bay as we are very found of the lake shore rest/turn-arounds and the distances from Luxemburg fit our trip odometer requirements. Both legs were pretty remote with almost no facilities (though some benches) along either leg so bring plenty of water.
We rode this on our cyclocross bikes from Sturgeon Bay to Cashton and back, around 54 miles. We have ridden almost all the rail trails in Wisconsin and this is a lovely one. It is a gravel trail and not suitable for road bikes. The trail was a bit weedy in places but easily traversed and the countryside was beautiful. The only reason I give this trail 4 stars instead of 5 is that the trail markers are small and somewhat confusing. We wound up lost in Algoma at one point because we couldn't figure out where the trail went. A map is highly advisable, as is careful attention to trail signs.
I have frequently ridden from Harold Reckelberg park for the past 4-5 years to Algoma & Kewaunee. I love the rural settings and solitude, but this year's rides have been too rough to enjoy on our Treks (700c x 35). Horses make the ride like cobblestone! Not sure if we'll try again later this season. Otherwise, these are my favorite trails to ride.
I rode the Ahnapee trail from S. Neenah Ave. & Wilson Rd. in Sturgeon Bay to Miller & Milwaukee Streets in Kewaunee. According to my computer the distance was 39.36 miles. Although there were thunderstorms the day before the trail was in excellent shape. Unsure of trail conditions I rode my mountain bike with 2 inch tires but would have had no trouble with a road bike with 25 mm tires. The trail apparently doesn't get much use. I only met six other riders, all before I reached Algoma. It's a very nice ride with terrain varying between woodland, wetlands, and farmland. However, bug spray is recommended. Carry water, facilities are limited. The Village Kitchen restaurant in Casco is recommended if hot food is desired along the trail; good food, friendly staff, excellent service, and homemade cherry pie that can't be beat.
Many reviews mention that the trail is rough in spots and I would need to agree. But I rode it from Algoma to Sturgeon Bay and back (44 miles) on a full carbon Specialized hybrid with 700 x 30 cc tires and had a great time. Yes, the areas where the horses ride are a bit rough but not that bad. My frame has built in zerts to dampen the vibration. Keep in mind the north end of the trail ends in the south side of Sturgeon Bay in an industrial park. From there you can ride into and around town, check out the bridges, boats, parks, and many good eateries. IMO doing this on a mountain bike would be exhausting, but this is definitely not a road bike trail. Gravel - CX - recommended.
I have just completed the entire trail in 4 round-trip segments - Casco to Algoma, Luxemburg to Kewaunee, Forestville to Algoma, and Sturgeon Bay to Forestville. This is a good trail that requires a hybrid or mountain bike - generally dry with a few wet areas (no puddles), and rough in some spots due to horses. Good rural and forest scenery. Saw lots of deer and sandhill cranes.
We've been working sections of the Ahnapee the past couple of summers. The weekend before Memorial day we did most of the section from Algoma to Casco. This is a great time to ride the Ahnapee, almost no one was on it.
The parking lot in Algoma is next to an industrial area and seems out of character considering most of the trail is through rural areas. By the way, Algoma is a neat little town worth spending some time in. I appreciate ozzythegr8's insights on this section of the trail. Much rougher than the Door County portions. If we didn't have mountain bikes some parts of the trail would have been really hard. I think the highlight was the Rio Creek Airport. Just a grass strip really, but we got see a guy testing out some home built looking plane up and down the run way.
One disappointing thing was the amount of horse droppings. Riders are supposed to clean up after their horses but evidently that's not always the case. So keep your eyes on the trail!
We rode from Luxemburg to Fish Creek on a bike packing trip. The Ahnapee was a great way to get from Luxemburg to Sturgeon Bay.
We rode mountain bikes (2.25" tires) fully loaded with camping gear and a trailer with no problem. I'd recommend a CX tire or better...not a roadie trail, but still a very nice gravel surface.
The trail provides quite a bit of shade early or late in the day. If your planning a stop along the route you'll need to make it in Kewaunee, Algoma, or Sturgeon Bay...not much else in between.
There were a FEW short stretches where there was some damage from horses as well as a few stretches with softer gravel, but all in all it was a great trail. The entire thing was pretty flat and fast.
I live in the area. These trails are used by a wide range of people. If you plan on biking it have correct gear this is not a road it is a trail. Great of biking with mountain bike not road bikes. You will meet horses and hikers on the trails. I have Schwinn mountain bike and I'm able to pull my 4yo daughter in a trailer no problem.
I rode the Ahnapee State Park Trail starting at the trail head in Kewaunee to Luxemburg 27 August. I did not ride the section the intersects Highway 42. The trail was in good shape along its entire length. Road bikes should have no trouble with this section of the trail. Trail heads in both Kewaunee and Luxemburg are well marked and easy to find.
Our family of 4 experienced bike riders rode the leg of the trail from Kewaunee to Luxemburg last week. Beautiful scenery, but extremely ROUGH and slow going. We had plans to ride the northern leg of the trail during our stay, but we were discouraged by the condition of the trail and changed our plans. If you have a mountain bike you would probably be fine, but we ride road bikes. When horses and bikes share the same trail, the bikers always loose.
About 5 miles into this trail (near a grain mill) the surface gets rough and bumpy as a result of horse hoof marks; unless new crushed gravel is going to be applied, I would skip this segment
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 marked. I stopped at Fatzo's for a sandwich and headed home. I was disappointed I didn't get to the water at all. Over all this was a beautiful trail with many different forest types along with farmland. It was a long trail but well worth the sore butt! LOL
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 - so stock up on water! Had a great "all-you-care-to-eat" pancake breakfast at "Off The Hook Cafe" in Algoma. Very friendly owner and she really caters to bikers (will re-fill your water bottles, etc...) Great chance to re-load your carbs! Plan on exploring the other legs of this trail in the future.
"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 there.
I found the best parking in Forestville at the county park. It's a nice size parking area with restroom facilities. To get to the park turn at the Uni-Mart station, go about 1/2 mile, and turn right at the bridge. You'll see a small sign nailed to a tree that say's co. park.
I rode the trail to the north going through the small village of Maplewood, and ending at the parking area on the other side of Cty Hwy S. There's a small portion of trail that goes beyond this point into Sturgeon Bay if you chose to do so.
This portion of the trail is 10 1/2 miles from Forestville to the parking area.
The trail was alive with butterfly's, grasshoppers, and the smell of fall in the air. You'll go through a small apple orchard to start with, then journey through deep woods, farmlands and finally a swamp area filled with cattails.
When I arrived back at Forestville I took the trail to the south to the town of Algoma, about 5 miles.
This part of the trail is somewhat rougher than the northern portion. There are more weeds growing in the middle of the trail, and the trail becomes more narrow at certain points. About 3-4 miles before Algoma you'll reach a wooden bridge which crosses the Ahnapee River. This is a good place to stretch, and enjoy the peaceful solitude of the surrounding area.
As you continue on you'll pass a rest room facility before you get to the parking area on the south end of the trail located on Hwy. M. The trail does go on another 9 1/2 miles south west to the village of Casco, but this is where it becomes tricky. You'll need to turn left out of the parking lot onto Hwy. M, and go about a half mile. You'll get to a stop sign at the juncture of M and Hwy. S. proceed straight onto
Hwy. S for another 1/4 of a mile, and you'll see the trail on the west side. This portion goes to Casco.
There's another big parking lot about 3 blocks east of this portion of the trail on Hwy. S if your inclined to start in Algoma. The total length of the trail is around 54 miles from Casco to Sturgeon Bay.
I enjoyed this trail immensely, and would highly recommend it. I found it to be very peaceful and relaxing, and quite scenic.
"Yesterday, June 15,I started my trip from Algoma and went first to Sturgeon Bay and return. There is a detour leaving Algoma and city streets must be used for about a mile. I would also reccomend the use of streets in Algoma as the trail is in pretty rough shape leading to a from downtown. The trail is a nice mix of woods and open areas. There are trailside benches every couple of miles within Door County if you want to get out of the saddle for a spell. Sturgeon Bay was the highlight of the trip. Beautiful! I found some parts of the trail within the city in poor shape so I returned to the trial via Neenah Avenue from the waterfront. Back in Algoma I had lunch then went to Casco Junction and returned. Just out of Rio Creek crossing there is a ""Wind Farm"" with several big turbines to the north of th trail. Another highlight for me was finding a rusted whistle post still in place at Casco south of County Highway C. I noticed it on my return trip. It's rusted so much the ""W"" can't be read but I'm sure that's what it is. There is also the bridge over the Kewanee River between Casco and Casco Junction. It is my understanding this bridge washed out in the 1970's putting an end to railroad operations north of that point. The northern abutment is still the original cut stone but the south end has been filled with rock for the new bridge. I found a lot of loose gravel also in this section making pedeling a bit difficult. I had coverd 65.24 miles in a little less than seven hours."
"Much of this trail has received a new crushed limestone surface in the last four years. On the last day of September we rode our cross bicycles on the Algoma to Sturgeon Bay portion of the Ahnapee Trail.
Beginning in Algoma you can avoid the detour by parking at the lot near the campground on County Road S. Restrooms are available 100 yards or so down the trail. Heading north the trail is still a bit bumpy but it was well mowed. At the road where the Algoma Snowmobile Club maintenance ends and the Door Drifters Snowmobile Club picks up you will find the new crushed Limestone.
The horse owners continue to be irresponsible and do not always clean up after their animals (are they attempting to have the trail closed to horses?) but the trail surface is no longer pitted with hoof prints.
Enjoy a stop and the restrooms at the County Park at the Forestville Dam. Between there and Maplewood look for the Apple trees along the sides of the trail. The summer of 2004 was very hard on fruit trees but other years a refreshing snack would often be readily available laying on the trail.
We saw wild turkey and white tail deer the day we rode the trail. The new surface made the 34 mile round trip a fun challenge in the cool weather. In the past the trail surface has fallen into a state of disrepair and one year, in 1999, a ride in the mid summer heat made for a rather uncomfortable ride even only one way.
Enjoy Wisconsin’s Ahnapee Trail with your good bicycle."
"I decided to check out the trail after receiving a favorable update on the condition of the trail from the Kewanee County Recreation Department.
The trail surface has pea size gravel and is hard packed. It is in great condition for biking. On a beautiful Saturday in September I encountered 6 people in the 3 hours I spent on the trail.
The trail goes through farmland, arbors of trees, tiny towns and along the Ahnapee River. It is a lovely ride -- especially in the fall. Don't miss seeing the fish at the Dam in Forestville. "
"Here is one of the most bone headed, frustrating trails in Wisconsin. Well, not the trail itself but it's surface. Crushed gravel. They ain't kidding folks. It's like an old gravel road. Forget about biking on it. The scenery is great if you want to walk the 16 miles from Sturgeon Bay to Algoma. I guess the area doesn't care if folks with nice bikes and money in their pockets come and visit. Resurface this trail you FOOLS!"
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