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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.
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