As the natural divide between the Wisconsin River and the Pecatonica River Watersheds, the Military Ridge has been a preferred overland route across this region of what is now Wisconsin for hundreds of years. Bison, French explorers, and American soldiers during the Blackhawk War have all used the naturally level and obstacle-free pathway. Since 1985, the Ridge has been open to explorers of a different sort–bicyclers and hikers seeking adventure in this pristine environment.
The 39 mile Military Ridge State Park Trail was developed from an abandoned Chicago and Northwestern Railroad Line, which has a gentle grade of only 2-5%. Its 8-10’ wide compacted limestone surface travels uninterrupted from Dodgeville to Verona. There are 48 bridges, all with planked decks, curbs, and railings.
The Trail is only open to hiking, bicycling, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and motorized wheelchairs (for the handicapped). Pets are welcome, but must be kept on a leash no longer than eight feet.
If you wish to camp, Blue Mound State Park has direct access to the Trail by a bike path. Governor Dodge State Park has a bike path connection, with access from Cty. Z- hike and bike only.
Both parks accept advance reservations. There are also several private and public camping facilities within a short distance from the Trail.
The Trail is open from 6 am to 11 pm daily. Vehicle parking lots are at Hwys. 18-151 and PB east of Verona; near Hwy. YZ, .2 mile east of Hwy. 23 near Dodgeville; one block off Main Street on 1st Street in Mt. Horeb, and off the trail near Riley. Season or daily pass required.
Mileposts along the trail show distances from each end. The top number indicates miles you have gone and the bottom number indicates miles left to go. Posts with orange numbers mark points of interest that correspond to the numbered descriptions in the booklet, The History and Guide to the Military Ridge State Park Trail. This booklet is available at Blue Mound and Gov. Dodge State Parks for a nominal fee.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, contact Military Ridge State Trail, Blue Mound State Park, PO Box 98, Blue Mounds, Wisconsin 53517. 608-437-5711.