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The Seven Waters Bike Trail is a scenic corridor stretching more than 17 miles north–south between Burlington and Muskego Lake into Waukesha County. The trail was originally three trails, locally called Burlington, Waterford–Wind Lake and Norway, all stitched together as part of Racine County's system of bike paths.
Start your trip in Riverside Park in Burlington, which is located along the picturesque Fox River. You'll find parking, bathrooms and picnic pavilions at this lovely community park. Traveling north from Riverside Park, you follow the east side of State Route 36. After crossing SR 36 you'll travel west through a pine forest before hitting a short, on-road detour. Back on the trail, the path returns to woods and crosses the Fox River.
After passing Case Eagle Park, with ball fields, a playground and seasonal restroom facilities, the trail returns to SR 36, this time traveling north along the west side. The highway is a constant until just outside of Waterford, where the trail veers into residential and remote sections of this community.
There are several street crossings before the end at Buck Road where the trail continues toward Wind Lake. The 5 miles of this section run mostly along the west side of SR 36; however, significant tree cover on both sides lets you forget you are close to the road. As you approach the community of Wind Lake, you will detour on-road. Turn left at South Wind Lake Road then right at South Loomis and follow this north until you come to a Y in the road, where South Loomis and Racine Avenue intersect. Stay on Loomis and bear right toward the traffic light and cross SR 36.
The trail picks up on the east side of SR 36. Look for the trailhead on your left as soon as you cross the highway. Following this 1.2-mile rail-trail north to the Racine County line and enjoy remote wetland scenery along the way. You'll find a parking lot and boat access for Muskego Canal, providing access to Big Muskego Lake. Continue a few miles north, paralleling Loomis Road/SR 36 to US 45 south of Franklin.
Parking is available at Bushnell, St Mary's and Riverside parks in Burlington; Trailside School in Waterford; and Meyer Park in Wind Lake. You can also access the trail in downtown Burlington, Waterford, Rochester and Wind Lake.
To access the northern terminus in Wind Lake, take State Route 36 north (Loomis Road) from Wind Lake to the Waukesha–Racine County line. Immediately after the county line take your first right turn into a gravel parking lot that is designated for boat access to the Muskego Canal. From the parking lot you'll see a grassy entrance to the trail. The official trail with crushed limestone surface continues off the grassy area about 20 feet south.
To access the Burlington trailhead you must start in Riverside Park. Take State Route 11 west into Burlington. Turn right onto Bridge Street (SR 83), go over the bridge and turn right onto Congress Street to Riverside Park. The trailhead is at the end of the park off Congress Street.
We planned to ride the entire trail on our trip north from Illinois to Milwaukee. The route was a great off-road link for our trip.
Trail marking could be better. I do not recall any signage of the Seven Waters Trail. There were no good maps on the route and the two we saw were faded and barely readable.
One mid-block crossing of the highway was interesting.
After going through Saller Woods we left the trail briefly to go into Rochester for food and rejoined it on Main on the east side of town. Found a decent convenience store on the road.
As I recall most of the south section of the trail was crushed limestone. Around Waterford a segment was paved. The worse conditions on the trail we’re the segment north of the Muskego access. Rather than nice limestone screenings it appeared to be a coarse material of ground recycled asphalt. We had wide tires but it was not pleasurable at all especially we were touring “loaded”. Road bikers will not appreciate the surface. To avoid anymore of that surface, we jumped off on Champion Drive to get to the end of the trail at Cape Road and ultimately to Ryan Road.
That last rough section and lack of way finding lowered our rating of the whole trail. Tie this trail to the Oak Leaf into Milwaukee and you would have a big winner.
We started at the Congress St Trailhead in Burlington and rode north to where the trail crosses Heg Park Rd. and turned around (needed to get back by lunchtime). The trail is primarily dirt, which was fine for our gravel tandem. While the trail crosses RT-36 (no signals, just a painted crosswalk), the traffic was light enough for us to get by. The median is wide enough to safely stop in if traffic is busy. The turn from the parking area at Saller Woods is a bit sandy and can lead to wipe-outs. It really needs to be wider and less sharply curved. The section of the trail from N Browns Lake Dr through Case Eagle Park out to Buck Rd (in Waterford) is paved and is a delight to ride on. North of Beck Dr (RT-20) it's back to dirt. Overall a nice ride for the morning.
Nowhere is this trail marked as "Seven Waters" It's marked as Racine County Bike Trail. So I was a little confused. I had a hard time finding it. I parked at Bushnell Park and eventually found the trailhead by driving down to the dead end where you can park. You then proceed thru an electrical plant on your ride and the gravel is treacherous. You proceed to go out alongside Hwy 36 in the open and eventually have to CROSS HWY 36! I would recommend parking in the lot off of Hwy 36 where Saller Woods is and start there. The terrain thru Saller woods is pretty awful. It's made for a mountain bike. A lot of the gravel thru this trail is not good. By hwy 164 there's some deep sandy gravel, it almost took me out. The asphalt parts are BEAUTIFUL. It reminds me of the Bugline and the scenery over the bridges is amazing. If this trail was all asphalt it would be great. I turned around in Wind Lake because I didn't want to ride the road and had never ridden this trail before. I drove back to it to see where it would lead to and you would have to cross hwy 36 again and ride roads with no shoulder for quite awhile until it picks up at Amans beer and wine on Loomis.
Decided to take try this trail, even though the description of “crushed gravel” can be a nightmare for a road bike. Less than a quarter mile in I buried my front tire in an all out gravel pit, than again on a mud pit further up. Avoid if you’re looking for a productive ride on a road bike.
I recently rode this trail from south of Burlington to Wind Lake round trip. I'll be honest, I thought it would be more scenic than it was, but it didn't disappoint either. The portion through Burlington goes fast as there's plenty to see in the town, including nice views along the river. In between, there are long-winded stretches that don't excite. Think crushed limestone path, lots of sun, and nothing else. Case Eagle Park and Saller Woods were nice, but not a large segment of path either. Heading north you've got a few places to stop for amenities like Rochester, Waterford and Wind Lake, where I chose to stop. I know the trail extends up close to Franklin but I chose to turn around near Muskego Lake. This provided me with a 30+ mile round trip ride. Along the way and I can't recall where it was, is a VFW (or similar entity) that houses a tank, helicopter and a couple of jets. They're right on the path and worth stopping to admire. Cheers.
I live about 20 miles from Burlington, WI in Racine County where the Seven Waters Bike Trail starts at Riverside Park and heads north for 17 miles, which made for a nice day out and back on August 6, 2017 on the bike trail. However the trail is not signed as the “Seven Waters Bike Trail “as one mostly needs to follow “Bike Route” signs. Keep your eye out for those signs as the trail ties together many types of route characteristics and surfaces: isolated old RR grades, on road shoulders, along active roads, and thru parks-some sections are paved, some gravel and some asphalt road grindings in Waukesha County (sort of rough). But it’s all manageable and enjoyable. At the north end of the trail one can continue on a paved path alongside of County Highway OO to be very close to reach either the Muskego Recreational Trail to head west or the City of Franklin Hike & Bike Trail to head east. There are services along the way if you look for them.
This was the first time my hubby and I used this Trail. We went out and back 25 miles total, starting from the southern end near Riverside Park in Burlington. As a couple people mentioned, the crushed gravel up front was rutted and loose in some areas, not the easiest to pedal through. That said, the weather was beautiful, and the next ten miles of the trail was good; varied and interesting scenery, with sloping hills and shady woods. Nice ride!
I rode from Riverside Park in Burlington to Highway 164, north of Waterford today, a round trip of nearly 20 miles. The trail goes northward towards Milwaukee County, skirting the Fox River and Highway 36. While Riverside Park itself is nice, the trail north of it had a loose gravel bed, full of ruts, and follows a Wisconsin Electric right of way along Highway 36. After crossing the highway, the trail improves dramatically when it goes through Saller Woods. It has a new hard-packed gravel surface that is a pleasure to ride. North of there, the trail crosses the wide Fox River on its own scenic bridge-- a good place to take a water stop. Approaching Rochester, the trail becomes blacktopped and is smooth and scenic. Case Eagle county park is especially nice, and I stopped by the banks of the Fox River, which is scenic above and below a dam. In Waterford, I discovered Java Jo'z, a coffee house in an industrial park just off the Highway 20 and 36 intersection. It's a good place to stop for iced Americano coffee and home-made sandwiches and fruit smoothies, with a friendly, homey atmosphere. The trail north of there is on hard-packed gravel and goes through wooded area next to peaceful neighborhoods. I turned around at the Highway 164 crossing and headed back. So, if you want to ride the very best part of this trail, there is plenty of parking near Java Jo'z in Waterford and a trail parking lot off Highway 36 at the entrance to Saller Woods.
Very nice trail overall. There is a variety of scenery. However you do have to stay alert for changes in directions as this trail is a bunch of trails pieced together. It’s easy to miss the entrance to Saller Woods. The trail mostly runs along or in the same direction as Hwy 36 which is good because it keeps you off Hwy 36. I see quite a few people biking on Hwy 36 before the trail starts. I hope that someday this trail gets extended into Milwaukee County where it could meet up with the branch of the Oak Leaf Trail at the intersection of Hwy 36/Loomis Rd and the Root River Parkway.
It has a pretty good surface of asphalt or crushed limestone but watch out for the curbs. There was still the same block long muddy spot at the bottom of the hill after you cross 164 as there was last year.
We then ate lunch in Echo Veterans Memorial Park where we got to see a whole migrating flock of big white egrets fishing around the dam. There were lots of people with fancy cameras photographing them. I took some pictures with my point and shoot camera. Amazingly they turned out pretty good because the birds were so close and didn’t seem to mind having their pictures being taken.
The chocolate smell in Burlington was wonderful but we couldn’t tell where it was coming from.
If you are looking for a neighborhood-scenic road with plenty churches , well don't do it on a Sunday morning , besides that it had a couple nice spots like the fox river , I wouldn't take my kids with you have to be in the look out for fast severe
We started in Wind Lake and rode to the park on Congress ave at the end of the trail.
We still don't have snow though it was a bit wet and about 40F. No bikers, however 8-10 walkers enjoying the day. Mostly walking dogs. This trail would be very scenic in summer.
Overall the trail is quite good. The limestone parts had no gopher holes, and a long stretch seemed to have been recently redone. Many places were paved asphalt when approaching and leaving road. Quite long stretches were paved asphalt. There was about 1 block long muddy spot after you crossed 164 at the bottom of the hill. We didn't fall. After that there were about 3 streets with sharp, not tire friendly, curbs.
This is trail where you need to stay alert for changes in direction as this trail is pieced together with trails in between residential streets, regular streets, and park roads. It more or less follows the same direction as Hwy 36 to Burlington which you quite a few times.
In Windlake, which has 2 lakes and is not a very long section, they keep you off Hwy 36 by routing the bike trail on residential streets first on one side of Hwy 36 then the other. The residential streets are 35 mph with no shoulder so you are riding in the traffic lane. However, there's not too much traffic.
Then it's a nice off road trail until you get to Case Eagle Park. This nice park had an area for dogs which seemed popular. Toilets were closed but in summer they probably are not. You ride on Park roads for a little while. It was pretty easy to pick up the trail again. Then comes the challenging part after you ride the vibrating bridge over the Fox River.
You come out on a road near Franciscan place and make a left. Paved bike lane. Very shortly you cross the road left and re-enter the bike trail that takes you through Saller Woods which is labeled at the other end. Saller Woods is a hilly, curvy, scenic ride. It feels like you are crossing back in direction. (On the way back to Wind Lake be careful to make a right turn out of Saller Woods onto the road as we did not see a direction marked.)
When you exit Saller Woods, you go through a parking lot and are on a nice off road trail that runs along hwy 36. You cross the divided highway (hwy 36/ Milwaukee Ave) without a light but after that most of the busy intersections have traffic lights as you ride through Burlington. The bike goes along the Fox River which was quite impressive and scenic even though the day was gray and dreary. We made it all the way to the park on congress ave which has porta-potties. Then we biked back to Wind Lake.
I rode this trail today from Burlington to Waterford. It was a cold day (39F), so I didn't want to spend time being idle. Sorry to say, I had trouble finding the trail on 3 separate occasions. The main time was leaving Burlington (near the Menards), where there was a marker sending me across Rte. 36. I never found the trail from there and spent about 10 minutes riding around looking for it. I made my way up Waterford and on the way back I found my mistake. Turns out, the trail was only about 30 yards from where the sign told me to cross the road. Oh well! Overall, a decent ride. No big challenges. Decent ride, with a nice place to stop and have a snack and coffee. I will do this trail again.
To get to the Muskego end of this trail, we rode south-southwest up an unidentified, paved trail along Loomis Road starting near Greendale which went quite a way before we had to ride on the paved, shoulder of Loomis Road. The Loomis road shoulder had a lot of broken glass and long stretches of rumble strips but at least we didn't have to ride in the same lane as the speeding cars going over 55 mph. (Other possible routes had speeding cars on roads without paved shoulder.)
We started this Trail at North Cape Cod Road and Loomis at the Junction of County 00, North/South 45, and South 36 (Loomis Road). There was a narrow, grass filled path that went north from there but it doesn't show up on google and probably is very rough. (I think we need a mountain tandem bike.)
This part of the trail follows the power lines along Loomis Road. It is really nice not to ride on the road with the cars. However, a lot of the streets, such as Thorn and Champion Drive, have curbs which you can't really ride your bike over.
Between the glass and the curbs we needed to try out our tire changing kit for the first time in 1000+ miles traveled this year. It worked fine. The rough terrain also seemed to loosen our heavy gage spokes which we will be tightening up before our next trip.
We really liked the traffic lights with push buttons at Muskego Dam Dr. We felt a little safer around those speeding cars.
Trail improves after Wind Lake Canal Public Access that has parking and gets quite scenic with brush mostly shielding the view of Loomis Road. Also saw beautiful views of Wind Lake.
This portion of the bike trail that we rode today is well marked.
I rode the Seven Waters Trail from Burlington to Franklin and back. In general, it's in decent condition, although there are sections which are dirt (a bit rutted, don't plan to ride the day after a rain), and just enough areas of very loose sand that you must stay focused. Portions are through the woods and tranquil and scenic. Way too much of it follows a loud 4 lane, divided highway - the path is well separated from the highway, but the noise clearly diminishes the experience. You are required to cross the 4 lane highway twice with no traffic controls and trucks hurtling past - a bit unusual for a trail. The trail passes adjacent to Waterford with a great little downtown and cafe for lunch. Burlington also has an amazingly active and attractive small downtown for after your ride.
I ride the WRT to this trail and really like the portion once outside of Burlington it goes thru the wood and over Fox river. The trail is in pretty good condition a few ruts at the beginning by the power sub station.
Unfortunately I had a bad experience on the trail. First, I drove from the Waukesha area to start in Burlington and 164 has construction in the Big Bend area. There were no detour signs, just road closed signs so it took me much longer to get to Burlington. Heading north from Riverside Park on your bike, which is clearly marked, isn't the best view but it's not far before reaching 36. You're riding on the crushed limestone trail but behind all the business buildings. I crossed 36 and followed the instructions from this web site:
After crossing SR 36 you'll travel west through a pine forest before hitting a short, on-road detour.
There is no forest. Once you cross, there's a Walmart and a new development of houses. I drove through both areas looking for a sign or trail, and even rode Hwy W between Walmart and the development, with no luck. So I headed back and was very disappointed. Before riding the trail, find out where to get back on once you cross 36. Good luck!
First ride was a pleasant experience. Did not know what to expect and was surprised with the various scenery. This could be an outstanding ride with a few minor improvements. There are a couple of curbs that can lift you off your seat and sand in a couple of low spots. However, the worst part was a water groove that could take an unexpected biker for a tumble as it soon will be covered by leaves. The scenery. You won't see too many trails that take you from parks, to industrial, to retail shops, over rivers, to residential, to more parks and a lake. It is interesting to note this trail parallels route 36 and most of the time you don't notice. Except for a couple of climbs and equal downhills it is mostly an easy to moderate ride. Be careful in crossing 36 and some of the intersecting streets. In sum: I will be ridding this trail again.
"While parts of this trail suffer from being too close to the constant drone of traffic on Hwy.36, an excellent short segment exists between Saller Woods and Case-Eagle Park. Most of this stretch is paved, with the remainder being a good packed lime/gravel surface. Also included is a beautiful bridge crossing the Fox River. A short stretch of biking on the shoulder of Hwy.W is required.
At Saller Woods, besides the improved bike path, there are additional trails marked for hiking and cross-country skiing. While I doubt it is encouraged, there is evidence of use of some of these for more challenging single-track biking."
"This trail is currently being connected with the Norway and Burlington Trails to form a single Norway-Burlington Trail paralleling Highway 36 in Racine County. Bicycle bridges have been constructed over the Fox River and the Wind Lake-Fox canal, but the trail has not been completed to join the Waterford-Wind Lake Trail with the Burlington Trail. Signs have been posted routing bicyclists on a short road stretch between this trail and the Norway trail. It appears they will be completed during 2003.
While much of the trail is close to Highway 36, near Waterford, and on the new sections, it diverges from the highway."
"While (as the ""description"" mentions) this trail is mostly rural, it runs parallel to (and seldom out of earshot/eyesight of) Hwy.36, a generally busy divided highway. As a result, in general the 'feel' of the trail is far more urban than it's setting might otherwise suggest."
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