Green Lake Area Bike Adventures

Bikers on Path
Photograph provided by Green Lake Greenways

Abundant road routes and trails offer cyclists a great way to enjoy the Green Lake area. From casual tooling around the towns to rail trails to looping Big Green Lake, there is something for everyone.

Can you imagine a better incentive for riding your bike 50 miles round trip than freshly baked donuts? That's what Dr. Tom and his wife Linda tell themselves when they take one of their regular Saturday morning rides. They enjoy a route that leads to an Amish bakery full of fresh baked goods. The ride includes quaint towns and rural landscapes, well-known characteristics of the southern part of Green Lake County.

Developing and maintaining road routes and trails is the focus of Green Lake Greenways, an organization that advocates, educates, and encourages safe biking and walking. Green Lake Greenways developed the City of Green Lake Trail. The 10-foot-wide multiuse paved path runs alongside, but safely separated from, State Highway 23. It connects the City of Green Lake to Green Lake Conference Center, where bikers can ride along tree-lined roads and Shore Drive for beautiful views of the lake and historic houses.

New routes and great rest stops are planned for Greenways’ annual Gear Up Green Lake Fundraiser Ride. Visit the Greenways website and the Gear Up Ride Facebook page for details about the event. Proceeds benefit future phases of the Green Lake Greenways bike path project, which will connect the communities of Green Lake, Ripon, and Berlin. Young, old, expert, and novice—all bicycling enthusiasts are invited to the ride.

Expect scenic country roads, lake vistas, and gently rolling farm hills via the following area road routes and trails.

Road Routes (on-road)

  • Loop the Lake. 27 miles around Big Green Lake. Recommended for seasoned riders used to some high-speed, high-traffic roads with little to no shoulders.
  • Huckleberry Loop. 15 miles of mostly flat, secluded back roads with a couple of challenging hills and a couple fishing spots along the Fox River.
  • Rustic River Loop. 22 miles of blacktop and gravel roads. The winding White River crosses the path numerous times.
  • Oxbow Loop. 8 miles of fairly hilly country winding along the Fox River.
  • Tuttle Creek Trek. 30 miles. Halfway through, stop at Tuttle Lake's public beach to swim or picnic before touring more beautiful country on fairly level roads coming back.
  • Mecan Crossing Loop. An easy 19-mile ride through farm country. Cross over the Mecan River, noted for its canoe trips and waterfowl.
  • Northwest Passage. Scenic 28-mile ride along ridges, lowlands, and creeks leading to neighboring Neshkoro and back.
  • Little Northwest Passage. A shortened version of Northwest Passage with 11 miles of beautifully secluded roads leading back to Princeton.
  • VO2 MAX. 34 miles thru the “Alps of Green Lake Country.”

Trails (off-road)

  • Mascoutin Valley State Trail. 12 miles of renovated surface passing farms, prairies, and wetlands in scenic Green Lake, Winnebago, and Fond du Lac counties. Built on a former railroad corridor, the trail travels between Berlin and Ripon. Vines & Rushes Winery, on the trail, welcomes bikers.
  • Northwestern Trail. 3.5 miles of packed gravel base on a former railroad corridor. The trail begins at the Ripon Public Library and is a great way for trail users to extend their ride on the Mascoutin through the city of Ripon. Wonderful tree-lined streets take riders through the city of Ripon, around Ripon College, and past beautiful Victorian homes known as “painted ladies.”
  • Ceresco Prairie Conservancy. Located next to Ripon College. A great trail for mountain biking.

Trail maps can be found on local chamber websites and at greenlakegreenways.org .

Jean Cornelius is a freelance writer and pet photographer. jeancorneliuspawtography.com .

Sources:

Green Lake Chamber of Commerce
Green Lake Greenways
Princeton Chamber of Commerce
Ripon Chamber of Commerce
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

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