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The Great Sauk State Trail spans nearly a dozen miles connecting the communities of Sauk City, Prairie du Sac, and Merrimac. Built along the former Union Pacific Railroad, the smoothly paved rail-trail begins on the banks of the Wisconsin River and travels north through the Sauk Prairie State Recreation Area to the doorstep of Devil's Lake State Park.
Note that bicyclists and inline skaters age 16 or older will need a Wisconsin state trail pass.
In Sauk City, parking for the trail is available at the Sauk Prairie Chamber of Commerce (109 Phillips Blvd.). In Prairie du Sac, parking is available in Veterans Memorial Park (700 VFW Dr.). On street parking is also available in both Sauk City and Prairie du Sac.
We were hoping to hop on the trail where it crosses a road near the north trail head and ride it down to Sauk City. However, after a LOT of driving around trying every possible spur off of 12, 113, and 78 onto the roads on the former Badger ammunition plant—the only roads that intersect the trail near the north end—we found every one was either closed off or private, despite what Google maps kept telling us. We finally picked up the trail where it crosses 78 which made the one way ride to Sauk City barely 4 miles. So, if you want to do this trail, plan on starting at the southern end as the north end seems inaccessible—even where Google maps shows it crossing roads—as long as vehicle access to the old Badger Ammunition plant is closed off.
I really enjoyed this trail. It’s easy to find and it’s all paved. Very scenic and the other riders were friendly.
Nice trail. Relatively flat but hills are there and very deceiving. Older or inexperienced riders could benefit with the use of an E-bike while on some of those ‘hidden’ hills as they can be a mile or more long. Great day for a ride on this very well kept trail. Ended the ride with a visit to the original Culver’s in Sauk City for a scoop of their famous custard.
From VFW parking lot to the end (fenced off area that might one day head into Devils Lake) is just under 10M. Mild grades, fully paved and lots of areas to stop and site see. This trail goes into the Badger Lands which used to be a 10,000 acre munitions plant during WWII. Now the area is split into USDA, public space, and Ho Chunk Nation territory (private). Very well maintained trail with minimal interruptions.
The prairie restoration is simply beautiful!! Many wildflowers were in bloom. This is a wonderful ride and highly recommend.
I'm an avid road cycling racer and triathlon racer, and I always need to know if the trails are COMPLETELY paved for training rides. The pavement is 99% smooth and clean with only a few bumps and cracks in its entire 11 mile length, along with a few small twigs and branches which is to be expected. Country road and trail crossings are well marked and safe. It is mostly open fields to either side so there is a bit of wind to contend with but nothing better for training. I would check the wind speed and direction before heading out with race wheels. It was too windy for my tri bike so I used my road bike. I started in Prairie du Sac at the Veteran's Memorial park where there is ample, safe parking and restrooms. The trail can be accessed from the parking lot if you go north along the river, where you can cross a wooden bridge to view the river. You can continue 100 meters more along the river but then it curves back south past the soccer fields and takes you up a little hill with a switchback to the right, to join the trail that follows Water St., going north again. You can also just ride up the park entrance road to get to the trail again, as it parallels Water St. A couple crossings in the first 2 miles but then you can pretty much kick it into high gear for the next 8 miles. You can also ride the trail south from the parking lot as well. The trail cuts through private property near a condo/apartment building, then heads south for a little less than a mile. More of a sidewalk than a trail at that point but it follows the river, goes past a brewery-eatery and then pretty much ends.
We parked at the VFW park and headed north today. The trail was beautiful. Pretty flat with mild grades. We rode south, where you could view more of the river. It was a pleasant ride! We did cross the river and the trail ran along side the Hiway, then ran out.
Gorgeous! Looking forward to the completion of the trail to be able to make trek into Devils Lake!
I got an AirBnB in Dane so I could ride this trail again and it is still my favorite for road biking. It is immaculate and flat, with nary a tree root nor chipmunk hole on the path. I rode end-to-end two days in a row and it was spectacular both times. It's a good 20-mile roundtrip of lovely scenery, river views, mostly uninterrupted rural beauty. The section in town is fine though chopped up in short bursts of pathway, but also immaculate. Especially once you cross Highway 12 heading north it is virtually empty of kids and larger bike parties and street crossings. A joy to ride.
Do note: Just before Mile Marker 10, the path is closed and you have to turn around.
Went on a Friday in the afternoon and there were few people out. This trail has some great scenery and the Sauk area has a lot of things to see and do. The trail is 100% paved and is an easy ride. You can also visit the chamber of commerce building for more trail information, a bike trail pass, and free parking.
Very nice, pretty trail. We were staying closer to Baraboo however and wanted to enter where the app says the trail ends, which definitely doesn’t exist. We had to travel significantly farther down 78 to find an entrance.
Grateful to have this recreational trail in my community. It serves as a welcomed source of exercise, bird's-eye view of wildlife & vitamin D therapy. I thank & appreciate all who's efforts to make this trail become a reality.
Very nice trail. Smooth and very gentle grades.
Paved and scenic trail
Just rode the trail and enjoyed the tree cover on the south part of trail on a hot and humid day. The trail is smooth with some gently rolling hills and some good views of the Wisconsin river. A gate stops the trail about 3 miles before Halweg Road so I had to improvise to find a different road to Hwy 78 or Hwy 113.
Rode the trail from end to end May 2019. Starting in Sauk City, a few streets to navigate for the first three miles or so. From that point on, its wide open riding on smooth asphalt. Gently rolling, it cuts through the old Badger Ammo property (restored prairie) with only a couple buildings remaining. The trail ends unceremoniously with a gate. But, feel free to head off the path and ride some of the roads the trail crosses on the Badger property and you can easily add a few miles, while increasing your chances to view wildlife. If you need food or water for the ride, be advised there arent any services outside of Prairie du Sac, so bring what you need.
Nice wide, smooth trail! One of my favorite in the area.
I rode this trail this May. It is a smooth asphalt paved trail from beginning to end. There are some slight grades but they are easy.
This trail has 15 road crossings in its 5 miles. Most of those being in Sauk City. There is one particular road crossing that really concerns me. And that is crossing U.S. 12 in Sauk City. There are two lanes going in each direction, with a turn lane in the middle. This is a very busy highway. Push button pedestrian warning lights are placed there, but the traffic will not stop unless you are actually out in the crosswalk. And to me that is a danger to someone with small children. Regular stop and go lights should have been placed there. Maybe it's just because the trail is so new that drivers aren't used to having to stop for people. I actually crossed this road 3 times to see if the first time or two was an aberration, but it didn't seem to be so.
There is only one restroom easy to get to, other than Culver's near the trail. That is Fuch's park near the south end. And it looks like that restroom is seasonal. If you difficulty climbed a short steep hill then don't park at Veteran's Park, use city streets.
However out in the country and especially near the Wisconsin river this is a beautiful trail. I can't wait for it to extend north to Devils Lake state park.
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