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a Wisconsin state park, forest, recreation area or trail.
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Badger State Trail

Hiking Bicycling In-line skating Pets Snowmobiling Winter ATVing Winter Activities Ice Age Trail

Aldo Leopold Legacy Trail System
Contact information
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Badger State Trail

Wisconsin State Park System Badger State Trail

Tunnel on the Badger State Trail.

DNR Photo

LocationThe Badger State Trail travels 40 miles between Madison and the Wisconsin-Illinois border while traversing farmlands, woods, rolling hills, scenic meadows, remnant prairies, ravines, glacial topography and several small communities. Highlighting the trail is the 1,200-foot long Stewart Tunnel. The tunnel is unique because it is built on a curve and visitors cannot see the other end when first entering the tunnel. Flashlights and jackets are recommended as the tunnel is dark and cool and water from springs above can trickle onto the trail. Bikers should walk bikes through the tunnel.

The Badger Trail connects to the Capital City, Military Ridge and Sugar River state trails and the Madison bikeway system. In Madison, the Badger State Trail corridor continues into the city along the Southwest Path. At the Illinois border, the Badger State Trail connects to the Jane Addams Trail which continues to Freeport, Illinois.

Trail activities

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.

Hiking Bicycling In-line skating Pets Walking, bicycling and in-line skating

The fairly level grade and smooth limestone surface make this trail suitable for bicyclists, walkers and joggers. The six-mile section between Madison and Purcell Road is surfaced with asphalt and is 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 Trail Ice Age National Scenic Trail

The Ice Age Trail follows the Badger State Trail for about 3.5 miles between Purcell Road and County Highway A in Dane County.

Snowmobiling Winter ATVing Winter activities Winter activities

Snowmobiling is allowed from Purcell Road all the way south to the Illinois state line. Operators must follow all Wisconsin snowmobile laws. The Badger State Trail also connects to numerous miles of Dane and Green County snowmobile trails.

  • In Dane County the trail is open when there is over 6 inches of snow or when the trail has a groomed base.
  • In Green County the trail is open when there is over 4 inches of snow or when the trail has a groomed base.
  • Snowmobiles are not permitted in the Stewart Tunnel or between Monroe and Monticello when that area is open for ATVs.

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 [exit DNR], and local club and county snowmobile web pages [exit DNR] and telephone hotlines will provide the most current information.

Winter All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) use is allowed on the Badger State Trail with some restrictions. UTVs or "Side-by-side ATVs" are not permitted on the Badger State Trail. ATVs are allowed under the following conditions:

  • from December 1 to March 15 only;
  • from 21st Street in Monroe to Lake Avenue in Monticello only (11 miles);
  • there is less than 4 inches of snow or the trail has not been groomed for snowmobiling;
  • the air temperature is under 28 degrees Fahrenheit (F);
  • the trail surface is frozen solid;
  • no ATV use is allowed off of the trail tread; and
  • all ATVs must have a valid registration sticker.

The trail is open to walking, bicycling, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, however, the trail is not groomed and users must share the trail with snowmobiles. Skiers do not need a trail pass while using the trail.

No Hunting No Hunting No Hunting and trapping allowed on trail

Hunting and trapping are not allowed on the trail corridor. For more information, please see:

Master Plan

A regional master plan is in progress for the Southwest Savanna region. For more information, see: Southwest Savanna Regional Master Plan.


In Madison, the Southwest Path has a number of bicycle/pedestrian access points, including Randall Avenue, Commonwealth Avenue, Odana Road, Midvale Boulevard and Hammersley Road. In Fitchburg, there is a 12-car parking area at Dawley Park on Seminole Highway (0.25 miles east of the Badger State Trail on the Capital City State Trail). The southern end of the asphalt-surfaced trail is at Purcell Road, about 2.5 miles northeast of Paoli. A small parking lot is available at Purcell Road.

Library Park in the village of Belleville is next to the trail and offers five parking spaces, picnic tables, a gazebo and water fountain. Parking for the trail is also available near the Belleville Post Office.

The Badger trail connects with the Sugar River trail just south of the Sugar River trail rest area in Monticello. The rest area, near County Highways C and EE, has parking available.

Twinning Park in Monroe is next to the trail and has parking, picnic tables, shelters, ball fields and rest rooms available.

Volunteering opportunities

Department of Tourism listings

More in the area

Last revised: Friday August 23 2019