Muskego Recreation Trail (Route of the Badger)


9 Reviews

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Muskego Recreation Trail (Route of the Badger) Facts

States: Wisconsin
Counties: Waukesha
Length: 6.7 miles
Trail end points: S North Cape Rd at City of Franklin Trail (Franklin) and Edgewood Ave (Big Bend)
Trail surfaces: Crushed Stone, Dirt, Gravel
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6227952

Muskego Recreation Trail (Route of the Badger) Description

The Muskego Recreation Trail follows a corridor originally used by the Milwaukee Electric Railway & Light, an interurban railroad in southeastern Wisconsin. The corridor was later acquired by Wisconsin Electric Power Company, which is known today as We Energies. The Recreation Trail connects seamlessly with the City of Franklin Hike and Bike Trail at the Milwaukee–Waukesha county line, taking you an additional 1.5 miles east to Franklin.

A good place to start the Muskego Recreation Trail is in the residential community just across from the entrance to the Muskego County Park. A sign marks the trail entrance. If you head west from the park, you will travel nearly 2 miles along a dirt path to the village of Big Bend. This section of trail is best suited to mountain bike riders, walkers, and equestrians.

Going east from the park, you'll find a white crushed-stone surface that cuts through the surrounding greenery and is draped with power lines overhead. It is an easy level ride throughout. The first couple miles take you through the residential community of Muskego; however, immediately after crossing over Mystic Drive, the scenery quickly changes to beautiful farmland and woodland scenery.

When you cross into Milwaukee County, you will see trail signage indicating that you have joined the City of Franklin Hike and Bike Path. Continue into Franklin.

Parking and Trail Access

Parking for the Muskego Recreation Trail is at Muskego County Park. Take Racine Avenue (County Road Y) south to Janesville Road. Turn right on Janesville Road to the Muskego County Park (on your right). The trailhead is immediately across the street from Muskego County park entrance.

Other nearby places to park include Horn Park (east side of Racine Avenue/County Road Y) and Bluhm Park (just north of the trail on its eastern end).

Muskego Recreation Trail (Route of the Badger) Reviews

Ride at your own risk

It might be OK for a mountain bike but not for a street bike. It was very uneven and patches of loose gravel that makes you loose control of you bike. This trail needs a lot of reconditioning to make this an enjoyable experience.

Pleasant route, a couple challenging busy road crosses.

Pleasant route, a couple challenging busy road crosses.

A good introduction to gravel riding

The MRT is gravel lite. You COULD ride it on a road bike, but you really won't enjoy yourself. Mountain bikes or gravel / all road bikes recommended with at least a 38mm wide tire. The surface transitions from semi-compacted stone to broken asphalt several times, so the comfort level of low pressure high volume tires or suspension helps a lot.

A few things you might want to know from a local. The map on TrailLink doesn't tell the whole story. On the West end you can park in "Big Bend Village Park". There's an unnamed crushed limestone trail that starts at the far west end of the parking lot that connects to MRT. It adds a mile or two, but it's worth it. You can also park in "Cherry Street Park", which is right along the unnamed trail.

On the East end, the MRT links up to the "City of Franklin Bike Path", and there's a parking lot at "Ken Windl Park" with water and washroom facilities. It's a paved trail that makes a nice warm up. (Note : 2023 there is construction on W. Forest Home Ave. that blocks this trail for the whole year)

It's a trail worth take a day trip to ride, or incorporate it into a longer ride. Just know what you're rolling into, narrow tires will not enjoy this ride.

Nice Riding Trail

I found this trail to be a great ride! The utility company has fixed the culvert and the trail is in great working order. As indicated in the trail description, this is a crushed stone, dirt trail. Starting at the east end, the trail starts out as packing gravel and about half way it changes to crushed asphalt gravel. It's very ridable with wider (35mm or wider) tires. I'd probably ride it with road tires, but you would be bouncing around and possibly lose traction.

The trail does continue on the west side of Hwy 164 to the Fox River, but it turns into dirt (logging road like AKA double track). The trail was full of chickaree and was in full bloom and hits your legs and wheels.


Rough ride. Wish the trails would be fixed now that the new power lines are up. Might wait till next year to ride this trail again.

Rough ride. Wish the trails would be fixed now that the new power lines are up. Might wait till next year to ride this trail again.

Excellent summer ride

I road this trail on a sunny Monday afternoon, and it was a great ride. I parked at the paved parking lot on St. Martin Road in St. Martin. Took the Franklin Bike and Hiking trail southwest to connect with the Muskego Recreation Trail and rode it to its dead end about 7 miles away. Lots of wildlife on the trail, many rabbits and yellow chickadees. A hamburger and root beer at the Culver's restaurant in Muskego was a welcome break. Took a few side roads to see Muskego Lake and Bass' Bay. The trail bed varied from smooth asphalt to crushed limestone and crushed asphalt, and it wasn't a problem. A very pleasant summer ride, about 15.5 miles round-trip.

Thanks Muskego for ruining the west end of the trail

Some knucklehead in charge of the Muskego Trail decided to resurface the entire part of the trail west of Lannon Rd (Hwy Y) and about 1 mile of the trail east of Lannon....with pulverized asphalt. The surface is fairly loose with larger stone that makes bicycling a challenge and certainly NOT enjoyable. Incredibly stupid decision to do this. Whoever decided on this surface must not be a bicyclist or they would not have chosen this for resurfacing material. Extremely disappointing!! Otherwise the rest of the trail is fine with packed pea gravel. I gave the trail 3 stars because of the loose gravel at the west end...otherwise I would have gone with a higher rating.

west of lannon road in muskego, pulverized asphalt - yuck!

Beautiful winter day to ride. Sunny, 40F, light breeze. Snow has melted but a skin of ice on the ponds along the trail. Quite a few people were out biking and walking.

We picked up Muskego trail at Moreland Road and headed west to just past Lannon road. Then we turned around and went east to Franklin Trail.

Nice packed limestone with some puddles until after Lannon road. At that point it became pulverized asphalt which is like riding on loose gravel. No fun, didn't want to fall. So we turned around and headed east to the Franklin Trail.

Franklin to Big Bend, Pulverized asphalt at one end, Challenging surface

We ride this trail a lot.

Usually we take the Oak Leaf trail south to Drexel, then head north. Drexel has a quite an uphill and after you cross Lover's Lane Road it turns into Church Street. The Franklin trail appears after St. Martins road. You got to jig jog a little to find it. Then head west on it until it runs right into the Muskego trail.

The Muskego trail is a nice, pleasant trail and pretty flat. You pass by farms and parks until you get to Muskego.

Right after you pass Muskego park and cross the road, the trail appears to have been resurfaced with recycled black top. You have to work a harder to stay moving on this surface compared to the usual crushed limestone. Also stay away from the edges as it will break up and pull you off.

We took the trail all the way to the end in Big Bend. Someday I hope the trail is extended by using the We Energies access road across the street. According to Google maps this would need a bridge across the Fox River but then you'd be able to bike all the way to Mukwonago without going on busy, high speed, curvy, country highways.

Then on the way home we took Janesville Road which has a bike lane most of the way. Janesville Road has some real big hills. After Hwy 100 we pick up Forest Home Avenue and take it to the Oak Leaf Trail. This route is about 7 miles shorter but more exciting due to the traffic, especially before, around and after Hwy 100 until you get to the Oak Leaf Trail.

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