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The Friendship State Trail will eventually run between Stevens Point and Manitowoc in eastern Wisconsin. Currently, two disconnected segments of the trail are open for use.
In the east, a 4-mile stretch joins the small towns of Brillion and Forest Junction along US 10. The crushed stone pathway offers scenic woodland and rural countryside views from a former Chicago and North Western Railway corridor. Biking, walking and horseback riding are permitted year round, as well as snowmobiling in the winter.
The trail's southeastern end is not far from the Brillion State Wildlife Area, which offers hiking trails through a mix of marsh, forest and prairie habitats. From its other endpoint, trail-goers can connect to the Fox River State Trail, which continues 25 miles north to Green Bay.
A longer stretch of the Friendship State Trail is open farther west between the eastern limits of Menasha and Clayton in rural Winnebago County. The trail begins by paralleling Plank Road/State Route 114 but quickly turns south at the edge of the Heckrodt Wetland Reserve. Along the Lake Winnebago waterfront, the paved pathway runs through Jefferson Park, which features ball fields, picnic pavilions, open space and a public pool.
An on-road route leads from the park to the stunning Friendship Trestle. The 1,600-foot long converted railroad bridge over Little Lake Butte des Morts is the longest pedestrian bridge in Wisconsin. A unique, short lift bridge over the Menasha Lock allows boats to pass under the trail at the trestle’s eastern end.
In the Town of Menasha on the western shore of the lake, the trail runs along Jacobsen Road to US 10. The trail is never far from the highway for the rest of its trek westward, and the surface changes from asphalt to crushed stone. Between Pioneer Road and Hickory Avenue, the trail intersects the Wiouwash State Trail, which travels south to Oshkosh and north to Hortonville. The Friendship State Trail currently ends at County Road M, awaiting a future extension westward.
Note to the riders: The gravel surface of the trail can be rough and prone to washouts.
In Brillion, a large parking lot and restrooms are available just south of the trail at Peters Park; from the trail's southern endpoint, you can continue south on the sidewalk along S. Glenview Avenue about 0.5 mile to reach the park. Additional parking is available less than a mile east of the trail in Brillion at Horn Park.
In the City of Menasha, parking is available at Jefferson Park on 3rd Street and at the eastern end of the Friendship Trestle on Broad Street.
In the Town of Menasha, park at the western end of the trestle on N. Lake Street. Farther west, park in the dedicated lot at the southern end of Umland Road in Larsen.
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