- Military Ridge State Trail
- Trail map
- Current conditions
- Rail trail: Yes
- Length: 40 miles
- Surface: asphalt - 2.5 miles; crushed stone - 37.5 miles
- Counties: Dane, Iowa
- Communities: Dodgeville, Ridgeway, Barneveld, Blue Mounds, Mount Horeb, Klevenville, Riley, Verona, Fitchburg
- State trail pass required for bicycling and in-line skating
- Master plan
- Contact information
- For information, contact:
Military Ridge State Trail
4350 Mounds Park Road
Blue Mounds WI 53517
Wisconsin State Park System Military Ridge State Trail
The 40-mile Military Ridge State Trail, in Iowa and Dane counties, connects Dodgeville and Madison by way of an 1855 military route between Verona and Dodgeville. The trail runs along the southern borders of Governor Dodge and Blue Mound state parks passing by agricultural lands, woods, wetlands and prairies. There are several observation platforms adjacent to the trail for viewing wildlife and other natural features. In Ridgeway, the trail passes by a historic railroad depot.
Most of the trail follows the former Chicago and North Western Railroad corridor, which has a gentle grade of only 2 to 5 percent. Between Dodgeville and Mount Horeb it runs along the top of the Military Ridge, the divide between the Wisconsin River watershed to the north and the Pecatonica and Rock River watershed to the south. Between Mount Horeb and Fitchburg, the trail goes through the Sugar River Valley.
The Military Ridge State Trail is near the connection of the Capital City and Badger state trails in Fitchburg. There's also a new 6-mile trail, the Shake Rag Trail, along US Highway 151 between Dodgeville and Mineral Point.
Ridgeway Pine Relict State Natural Area is also located just north of the Military Ridge State Trail on County Road H. There is a parking lot for the natural area about one mile from the trail on Ridgevue Road. Ridgeway Pine Relict SNA offers unique opportunities for hiking, birdwatching and nature study.
The trail may bring a number of different users to the trail at the same time. It is important to use good trail etiquette to ensure the enjoyment and safety of all trail users.
Walking, bicycling and in-line skating
The fairly level grade and smooth limestone and asphalt surfaces make this 40-mile trail suitable for bicyclists, walkers and joggers. The 2.5-mile section between Fitchburg and Verona has been paved with asphalt suitable for in-line skating. Each bicyclist or skater age 16 or older needs a Wisconsin state trail pass while using the trail.
Pet owners, please be sure to have your pet on a leash, 8 feet or shorter, at all times. You must pick up after your pet.
Ice Age National Scenic Trail
The Ice Age Trail crosses the Military Ridge State Trail corridor for a short distance near the Verona parking lot and continues north and south through Badger Prairie County Park.
Snowmobiles are permitted on the limestone section of the tail, but not the paved asphalt section between Fitchburg and Verona. Operators must follow all Wisconsin snowmobile laws. The Military Ridge State Trail also connects to numerous miles of county snowmobile trails.
The opening and closing of snowmobile trails is at the discretion of each county. Snowmobile trails which cross DNR lands are opened and closed consistent with the surrounding county (or counties). Whenever possible, the opening and closing of snowmobile trails is done on a county-wide basis, however localized conditions may require localized trail opening and closing. It is the responsibility of the county to provide notification about the status of snowmobile trails. The Travel Wisconsin Snow Conditions Report, and local club and county snowmobile web pages and telephone hotlines will provide the most current information.
The trail is open to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, however, the trail is not groomed and skiers and snowshoers must share the trail with snowmobiles. Skiers do not need a trail pass while using the trail.
The Military Ridge State Trail runs along the southern borders of Governor Dodge and Blue Mound state parks. The access trail to Governor Dodge is about 2.3 miles east of Dodgeville. The access trail parallels County Highway Z and then leads walkers and bikers to the Cox Hollow beach and picnic area. The Blue Mound access trail is about 0.75 miles west of the Village of Blue Mounds and enters the park near the campground. Both access trails have a steep grade and go uphill to the campgrounds.
No Hunting and trapping allowed on trail
Hunting and trapping are not allowed on the trail corridor. For more information, please see:
A portion of the trail property in the town of Ridgeway is more than 100 yards from the trail corridor. This portion is open to hunting and trapping during the Wisconsin state parks hunting time frame.
Fitchburg: The eastern end of the trail starts at the southeast corner of County Highway PD and Highway 18/151. There is no parking available for trail users there. Parking and trail access are available at the Quarry Ridge Recreation Area on Fitchrona Road. Take County Highway PD west from 18/151, turn left on Nesbitt Road and then turn left on Fitchrona Road. Go about 0.3 miles; the park is on the left side of the road (2740 Fitchrona Rd., Fitchburg, WI 53719). The blacktopped walkway next to the shelter and rest rooms leads to the Military Ridge Trail.
Verona: From Highway 18/151, take exit # 92 for County Highway PB. Go north on Old County Highway PB for one mile. Turn left into the trailhead parking lot (2565 Old Co. Rd. PB, Verona, WI 53593). A self-registration station and kiosk are available.
Riley: From Highway 18/151, take County Highway PD east, 2.5 miles, turn north (left) on County Highway J. Follow County Highway J, 2.5 miles to Riley. Parking, a portable toilet, a self-registration station and kiosk are available at the Riley parking lot (3087 Co. Rd. J, Verona, WI 53593).
Mount Horeb: From County Highway ID, turn south on 2nd street. Go one block to the trail rest area and parking lot. Rest rooms, a self-registration station and kiosk are available at the trail depot (116 S. Second St., Mount Horeb, WI 53572).
Blue Mounds: From Highway 18/151, turn north onto County Highway F. Turn left on County Highway ID. Travel west for 0.5 miles and turn right on Mounds Park Road. Travel north for 0.3 miles. Turn right at Blue Mounds Village Park. The trail is south of the parking lot.
Barneveld: From Highway 18/151 travel north on County Highway K 1 mile to Garfield. Turn left on Garfield, and turn right on Main Street.
Ridgeway: From Highway 18/151 travel north on County Highway HHH. Follow County Highway HHH through town. Parking, rest rooms and a self-registration kiosk are available at the Ridgeway Depot (618 Main St., Ridgeway, WI 53582).
Dodgeville: The west trailhead is on County Highway YZ, 1.5 miles east of Highway 23 at the DNR Dodgeville Service Center (322 N. Douglas St., Dodgeville, WI 53533). Restrooms, a self-registration station and kiosk are available.