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The Beerline Trail, so named because the corridor was once used by freight trains transporting the ingredients for beer to some of Milwaukee’s famous breweries, has contributed to the revitalization of neighborhoods adjacent to the Milwaukee River. Two disconnected segments of the trail are currently open.
The longer, southern section runs through the Riverwest, Harambee and—appropriately—Brewer’s Hill neighborhoods. The trail begins at E. Pleasant Street as a wide sidewalk along Commerce Street and Riverboat Road, until it switches to an off-road path near a dam over the Milwaukee River. A switchback trail midway along this stretch leads up to Kadish Park and adjacent houses; the park is a great spot to take in stunning views of the river and urban skyline. At E. Locust Street, travelers on the Beerline Trail can connect to the Oaf Leaf Trail, a web of trail spanning more than 100 miles throughout the city.
The second segment of the trail begins at the intersection of Burleigh Street and Bremen Street and cuts northwest on the former rail corridor to just north of W. Capitol Drive (State Highway 190). Trail users can take the signed bike route and sidewalk on Humboldt Boulevard north from Gordon Park to Burleigh Street to reach the trailhead for the northern portion. On this stretch, the surroundings are dominated by the charming houses of the Riverwest and Williamsburg Heights neighborhoods.
Parking for the Beerline Trail is available at Gordon Park on Humboldt Boulevard and along city streets in the Riverwest neighborhood.
I rode the entire trail. It was well maintained, labeled and fun to ride. At Capitol drive you can still see remnants of when it used to be a railroad yard to store the rollingstock for the beer industry. There is a lot of really nice art work along the trail and best of all, you can end the ride at Lakefront Brewery for a cold beer!!
My only gripe is that there are a couple of spots in which you have to ride the road for a block or two because companies have purchased the rights along the original railroad corridor.
I'm really looking forward to the expansion going north.
I just did the segment from Capital Drive down to Burleigh, and given its length and street crossings, the trail is probably better suited for walking. The trail is smooth and in great condition, but the ride is over before it starts, if you know what I mean. I rode it in the dark, and it can be a bit tricky to find the trail on the other side of some of the crossings, but I'm sure this is not likely an issue in the daylight.
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