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The Mascoutin Valley State Trail is divided into two segments along a former corridor of the Chicago and North Western Railway. The eastern section runs 10 miles between Fond du Lac and Rosendale. The western and more well-used section runs for 11 miles between Ripon and Berlin.
Note that the section of corridor between Rosendale and Ripon is privately owned, so trail users wishing to travel both sections in one journey must use roads for access. Horseback riding is available only in Winnebago and Fond du Lac Counties between May and October; it is not allowed on the Green Lake County portion of the trail (from Berlin to about 2.6 miles east). Snowmobiling is permitted on both segments of the trail when other snowmobile trails in the counties are open. The trail, though non-groomed, is open to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Hybrid bikes are recommended.
Fond du Lac to Rosendale: 10 miles
Starting at the eastern end of the trail in Fond du Lac, you head west on a gently rolling grade while passing farms, prairies, and the Eldorado Marsh wetland. Here, it’s not uncommon to see geese and heron making themselves comfortable at the marsh. The approach to Rosendale includes a peaceful wooded area, and summer and fall afternoon visitors should not be surprised to see members of the nearby Laconia High School boys’ and girls’ cross-country teams on the trail.
Ripon to Berlin: 11 miles
The western section travels between Ripon and Berlin. Beginning on the northern edge of Ripon, with access at Eureka Street, you’ll encounter a straight, flat grade. After about 1 mile, you’ll come across a parking lot for the trail at Locust Road; proper signage and a shelter with picnic tables await you here.
The trail heads north to the western shores of Rush Lake, where a winery is accessible along the trail just past Rich Road. Heading northwest, you’ll pass Koro Railroad Prairie State Natural Area, which provides many opportunities to view wildlife and a variety of native prairie plants, as well as the Berlin Fen State Natural Area.
On the approach to Berlin, riders are treated to a boardwalk section that traverses yet another wetland. Several “bump-outs” allow for photographs, or just the opportunity to take in the scenery while others pass by.
To access the eastern segment:
To reach the eastern endpoint in Fond du Lac from I-41, take Exit 99 for SR 23 W./Johnson St., and head west on SR 23. After 0.2 mile, turn right onto N. Rolling Meadows Drive, and go 0.8 mile. Turn left into the trailhead parking lot.
At the western end of this segment, parking is available along city streets and at Taylor Park in Rosendale. To reach Taylor Park from I-41, follow the directions above through the first sentence. Drive west 10.4 miles on SR 23, and turn left onto S. Main St. Take the first right onto Taylor Park St. Look for parking on your left. The trailhead endpoint is accessible by heading north on Main St. for just over a half mile.
To access the western segment:
To reach parking near the Ripon endpoint from the intersection of WI 23/E. Fond du Lac St. and SR 44 N./Douglas St, head north on SR 44 for 2 miles. Turn left onto Locust Road, and look for the trailhead parking lot 0.5 mile ahead on the right, just after you cross the Mascoutin Valley State Trail. The endpoint is about 0.8 mile south and then west along the trail.
To reach parking at the Berlin endpoint from WI 91 heading west, take Spring St. south for 0.1 mile. Continue on Ripon Road for 0.2 mile, and then continue on S. Church St. for 0.2 mile. Turn right into the parking lot just before the intersection with South St.
We rode on October 22, sunny 45-50 degrees. We started in Ripon from the little lot off of County E. The trail was in good condition and there were plenty of benches but no Port-o-Potties. The first part parallels County E so you cross some driveways, but it's no big deal. After a mile or so you leave the road and head into the Wisconsin farmlands. There's even a Winery that you can visit along the way....not sure what that would do to my ride :-) Beautiful ride with a stop at Berlin for lunch at a very nice and tasty Mexican restaurant.
Couple of caveats: There's a landfill along the way that will get your noses attention, and a shooting range both of which you circumvent just south of Berlin. Just hope the sportsman didn't visit the winery beforehand! :-)
We rode the Ripon-Berlin route up and back. It was an unusually hot day, but the trail is 80 - 90% shaded. Very few open areas and a few minutes' ride gets you back in the shade. A round of thunderstorms had just finished when we set out but the trail was mostly dry and very well-maintained. Mosquitoes were abundant so wear spray if you plan to stop for a bit. Had a break and nice lunch at Shepard's in Berlin, and made use of Mike's Bike Shop in Berlin too. Be aware that there are signs prohibiting electric bikes on this trail...I contacted authorities who stated that ebikes are fine for anyone with a disability or who might be pulling a disabled person. I plan to address this further. I had my regular bike this time but often use my ebike to pull my disabled adult daughter.
I live in Berlin and run this trail several time a week as part of my training. But even without training it makes for a very comfortable, easy run. Even after it rains the surface of the trail dries very quickly and it is always well maintained. As for parking, although the trail head is on County highway F, there is a 1/4 mile stretch before this that starts beside the Dollar General store on Highway 49 in Berlin that offers a parking area that is not on the side of the road. Also, from the trail head on F, there is a 2.48 mile clip that comes out beside the landfill on Willard road that also offers a large parking area. Enjoy the outdoors everyone. Peace.
My husband and I have biked many trails in WI. We love the western portion of the Mascoutin Valley State Trail!! It has lots of shaded areas, open areas, and several marshes. We get on at the parking lot off of Cty E. The trail is so varied and not crowded. We sometimes stop for pizza in Ripon, either Roadhouse or the brew pub.
Rode the section out of FDL to Rosendale. Very nice hard packed trail. Lots of great wildlife and very pretty views.
This is a two-part trail, the west half running from Berlin to Ripon, and the east end from Rosendale to Fond du Lac. Each half is about ten miles long. I live in Berlin, so I am more familiar with the west section of the trail. I have biked several times from Berlin to County Highway E but only once (so far!) from Ripon to Highway E, going in the opposite direction. In other words, I have ridden the entire west section of the trail but never all in one day. I do, however, have plans to ride this trail on a regular basis, not only because it is so close to home, but also because it is generally well maintained (fallen trees cleared quickly, fresh gravel added on a continuing basis, etc.), and it is quite picturesque, especially around the Koro Railroad State Natural Area just west of Highway E. This wonderful, wild-looking wetland is home to many geese, cranes, ducks, and Great Blue Herons, as well as flocks of the smaller birds and mammals found in this part of Wisconsin. It reminds me, in fact, of some of the smaller remote lakes I remember from canoeing trips in the Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota. In any case, the Mascoutin Trail also has the advantage of being shaded for a good 50%-60% of its length -- a great advantage on a hot day -- and riding it regularly allows the biker/hiker to keep current on the ever-changing array of trailside wildflowers that come into bloom as the season progresses. Lovely trail!
May 24th 2008
I began my ride from the trail head in Fond du lac on Cty. Hwy. VVV.
It was a beautiful Saturday morning with virtually no wind when I took to the trail with my Scorpion Fx Trike. The trail starts out with smooth crushed limestone for the first 1 3/4 miles, and then gets some what rough. The majority of the trail is over grown in the center with grasses and dandelions which makes it a little cumbersome for a trike, but doable. The trail becomes smooth once again for a short distance as you cross the Eldorado Marsh Wildlife Area. This is a good place to take a rest, and just enjoy the peaceful surroundings that mother nature has to offer.
The majority of the trail is wooded, but there is the occasional farm field you'll encounter as well as a few residential areas in the distance. In the village of Eldorado you'll find the perfect spot to take a break, just relax, and enjoy a piece of fruit.
There's another rest area at the end of the 9.6 mile trail in the town of Rosendale. The trail is unkept beyond Rosendale, and is suitable for mountain biking only until the city of Ripon. If you would like to ride the10.5 mile section between Ripon and Berlin you can find parking on the corner of Hwy. E and Locust Road in Rippon, or in Berlin on Willard Road.
I found this trail very peaceful and relaxing void of any traffic noise.
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