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The 4.3-mile Hillsboro State Trail will make you feel instantly at home. Starting out easy with a crushed stone surface before turning to slightly more difficult loose gravel, this trail will take you on a short excursion from Hillsboro to Union Center. But this trail is more of a draw for what it connects you to than for the trip itself.
In Union Center you can hook up with the 400 State Trail, which connects to the Elroy-Sparta and Omaha state trails to the north. Access this longer trail system for amenities such as campsites, trail information kiosks, picnic rest areas and restroom facilities. The Hillsboro State Trail does have parking, restrooms, and water stations at its southern trailhead in the Town of Hillsboro.
In Hillsboro you have your pick of activities: Outdoor types will find hiking opportunities in Wildcat Mountain State Park, canoeing on the Kickapoo River, bird-watching at the Wildcat Mountain State Park Wildlife Reserve or trout fishing at Hillsboro Lake. Shoppers will enjoy the farmer's market (May to October), with local produce and Amish baked goods brought to market by buggies from the surrounding Amish community. History buffs will want to stop by the Field-Veteran's Memorial Park to pay tribute to local veterans. And architecture enthusiasts can explore one of the largest concentrations of round barns in the United States. Many were built and designed by Alga Shivers, an African-American settler and son of a slave who escaped to the area via the Underground Railroad.
Finally, the calendar of events in this town will hold anyone's interest. Hillsboro stakes its claim as the "Czech Capital of Wisconsin," and every June a week-long celebration marks local heritage with spirited music and dancing, handmade crafts and Czech fare, such as roast pork, sauerkraut and dumplings. The town also hosts a 2-day tractor pull around July 4 and the region's largest Labor Day celebration, complete with a parade, carnival and softball tournaments.
Whether you come to Hillsboro for a day or a week, be sure to travel its hometown rail-trail as a way to immerse yourself in the flavor of this lively community.
Take WI-33/WI-82 into the Town of Hillsboro, where the route becomes Water Avenue. Turn left on East Madison Street and go 2 blocks to the trailhead on your left.
We planned to start our ride from the beginning of the Hillsboro then continue on to the 400 south to La Valle and back, then stop at the Hillsboro Brewing Company. It started off great but got very rough with what appeared to be a light fresh layer of gravel, but the type used for driveways and not crushed. It was loose and not easy to ride on compared to the 400 trail. My wife couldn't ride on it as she just felt unstable. We had to turn back after about 1/3 mile and drive 5 miles up the road to Union Center. We changed our ride to go from there to Elroy. Much better. If our bikes had suspension forks I'm sure it would have helped. I'm sure they are trying to upgrade the trail some but they should have used crushed gravel.
Of the four trails near Elroy (Elroy-Sparta, The 400, Omaha, and this one) it is the least impressive and it really needs to be resurfaced. That said, Hillsboro is a lovely little town with good food and a nice hotel. I used the trail to create a loop via The 400, The Elroy-Sparta Trail (at Kendall) that included amazing road riding (but very hilly). I peddled on County Roads W, WW and F. The scenery was fantastic and there were very few motor vehicles on the roads.
Nice easy trail off of the 400 trail with great end result- Hillsboro Brewing Company!
If you are looking for a short and flat ride that offers decent scenery, then the Hillsboro Trail may be for you.
The surface was smooth through out, although there are weeds coming through in places. It is obvious it doesn't get much traffic.
The bridges have all be recently re-boarded and were exceptionally smooth. One has the boards running length-wise and wow is that great. Almost as smooth as concrete bridges.
There is some nice scenery on the trail, especially where the river is close.
All in all a nice little trail.
I rode the trail to Hillsboro while riding the 400. It's very scenic; however, some sections of the trail were a little overgrown. Also, there was some bridge repair done this summer, and when I was on the trail, there was still a sign saying that the bridge was out. Fortunately, they must have forgotten to remove the sign, because the bridge was fine and the trail to Hillsboro was unimpeded. Once you get to Hillsboro and you feel like doing some hillclimbing, you can get on HW 33 and head to Wildcat Mountain State Park and Ontario, WI. (where you can rent a canoe to enjoy the scenic Kickapoo River). From Ontario, you can bike north to either Norwalk or Wilton and get on the Elroy-Sparta trail. Heading south on the E-S, you will eventually rejoin the 400 and return to the Hillsboro trail turn off. There are some major hills between Hillsboro and Ontario, but the road from Ontario to Wilton is easier.
This summser 06 I rode the 400 trail 5x and twice I
included the Hillsboro trail.
This trail is very scenic and
in good condition. As good
as the 400 if not better. Riding the 400 is not complete without the pleasent
ride to Hillsboro. I highly
recommend this trail. Enjoy!!
"This short trail has a nice rest area in Hillsboro. The trail, though, isn't very well maintained, although the surface is solid. "
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