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The 30.4-mile Chippewa River State Trail kicks off at the confluence of the Eau Claire and Chippewa Rivers in downtown Eau Claire’s Phoenix Park, where visitors can access a walking labyrinth, amphitheater, farmers market, restrooms, parking, and the southwestern endpoint of the 28-mile Old Abe State Trail, which heads to Cornell. Heading southeast, your journey begins over a 500-foot-long trestle that used to carry train cars of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad.
The trail hugs the shoreline of the Chippewa River as it winds south to Owen Park, which features the Sarge Boyd Bandshell, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Riding past, you may witness an Eau Claire Municipal Band concert, wedding, play, or other lively public events.
Long, straight stretches of trail await as you leave the city and enter farm country; enjoy the fresh air and the fragrant aroma of the many wildflowers that dot the region. Near the trail’s halfway point you’ll reach the Caryville trailhead, just off WI 85, which provides restrooms, drinking fountains, and ample parking. The route then winds along the banks of the river in a deciduous forest until you reach Meridean, an unincorporated community in the town of Peru.
At about 22 miles, after passing two trestles over the snaking Cranberry Creek, you’ll enter Old Tyrone, a ghost town marked by an interpretive plaque. A shelter perched above the trail, just a few steps up the cliffside, offers picturesque views of the nearby river bend.
The trail terminates at the Tarrant Park trailhead in Durand, approximately 6.5 miles past the junction of the Red Cedar State Trail. Here, you’ll find ample parking as well as a registration office for purchasing State Trail Passes. About a mile and a half farther west of Tarrant Park, Lower Chippewa View Park provides beautiful waterside views. Snowmobiles are permitted between Porterville Road and Durand.
NOTE: A State Trail Pass ($25 annually/$5 daily) is required between Eau Claire and the Pepin County line for bicyclists and in-line skaters ages 16 and older. Snowmobilers must display either a Wisconsin registration or a snowmobile State Trail Pass. For information, go to dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/trailpass.html
In Eau Claire, metered parking is available in a municipal lot just east of the trailhead off N. Farwell St. From I-94, take Exit 70 onto northbound US 53. In 3.8 miles, take Exit 89 toward River Prairie Dr. Head west on River Prairie Dr. for 0.6 mile, and turn left onto Galloway St. just after crossing the Eau Claire River. In 1.8 miles, turn left onto N. Farwell St. The Railroad Street parking area is located midblock to your right.
The eastern end of the trail is located about a block west in Phoenix Park. Additional on-street parking is available here on Riverfront Terrace (2-hour parking from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday–Friday) by following the directions to the Farwell St. lot above and continuing on Galloway St. for an additional block. Turn left onto N. Barstow St. and then right onto Riverfront Terrace. Look for parking on the left. The trailhead is on the left, just after you pass the Royal Credit Union.
To reach the Tarrant Park trailhead in Durand from I-94, take Exit 88 onto US 10 in Osseo, heading west. Drive 38.8 miles, and turn right onto E. Prospect St. After 0.3 mile, turn left onto 14th Ave. E. The parking lot is 0.1 mile ahead on your right, just past where the trail intersects 14th Ave. The endpoint is located 0.8 mile southwest along the trail.
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