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The Wild Goose State Trail is a premier rail-trail, spanning approximately 35 miles in Dodge and Fond du Lac counties. If you are looking for a peaceful and beautiful place to visit, this trail has it all. Almost the entire trail is tree-covered, very flat and well maintained. The "wild" in the trail name is apt, as wildlife is in abundance. If you are traveling by bike, you will want to concentrate on the trail surface: chipmunks frequently scramble across the path. Throughout the trail there are multiple highway and farm access roads to cross; they are all well marked, but use caution.
Starting from the southern endpoint, Clyman Junction, you'll travel through wooded areas and farmland on a crushed stone surface. A horse path parallels the trail for 7.5 miles from Clyman Junction to Minnesota Junction.
Several industrial buildings mark your arrival in Juneau, where you'll find a typical small town with a few restaurants and bars to visit. The trail becomes a bit tricky to follow where it passes through a grassy lot and then resumes. Rule of thumb: go straight when the trail seems to disappear and you will find it again shortly.
Outside of Juneau, the trail quickly returns to farmland. Although the trail skirts the western edge of the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge and Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area, you will not actually see the marsh. You may, however, see some of its feathered inhabitants: herons, egrets and hawks, to name a few. A tenth of a mile before you reach State Route 49, look for the sign marking the short path to the Marsh Haven Nature Center. Covering 32,000 acres, the Horicon Marsh is one of America's most important wetlands. Tour the marsh on guided or self-directed canoe or kayak tours, and don't miss the spring and fall migratory season, when it is estimated that more than 500,000 birds pass through.
Crossing into Fond du Lac County for its final 15-mile stretch, the trail again becomes rural and flat. Trees provide continuous shelter where the trail takes you into the community of Fond du Lac, passing next to a parking lot at a railroad crossing. A newer extension—the only paved portion of the Wild Goose State Trail—takes trail users via a bridge over US 41 to W. Pioneer Road. Fond du Lac is blessed with beautiful views of the water. Make sure to stop by Lakeside Park at the edge of Lake Winnebago for a picnic after your trail visit and sit right at water's edge near the lighthouse.
When the snow flies (December through March only), skiers, snowmobilers and ATVers hit the trail, followed by the spring migration of birds wintering over in Horicon Marsh. Note that motorized users are only permitted on the main trail when conditions allow, and winter ATV use is restricted to Dodge County only. Summertime's expansive green fields and dense tree canopies give way to spectacular fall foliage, making any time of year a good time to visit the Wild Goose State Trail.
To reach Clyman Junction from Milwaukee, take State Route 41 north to State Route 60 west through Hartford. Continue on SR 60 west past Road M in Clyman Junction. The trail entrance will be on your right; parking is available.
To reach Clyman Junction from the north, follow State Route 26 south through Juneau. Four miles south of Juneau, turn left on SR 60. The trail entrance is approximately 1.5 miles on left.
In Fond du Lac, take S. Military Road and turn east onto Rolling Meadows Drive. After passing a golf course on the right, go approximately 0.25 mile. You'll find the trailhead, with parking, right before the railroad crossing on your right.
The trail cuts through the city of Juneau; there is ample parking in the community. There are official trail parking areas off State Route 33, Road B in Burnett and at the Marsh Haven Nature Center entrance off SR 49.
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