Biking & Hiking

Madison is known for being one of the most bikeable cities in the country. We're a platinum-level bicycyle friendly community and home to more than 200 miles of scenic biking and hiking trails. Traversing the city on bike is both easy and beautiful. 

Planning an urban route but concerned about heavy or high-speed traffic? Check out the City of Madison's Low-Stress Bike Route Finder.

Sign up for Madison by Bike to gain discounts and receive prizes just by biking around the city and exploring four rides, each with their own vibes.

Biking Favorites 

Lake Monona Loop
An easy, two-hour ride around Lake Monona, going through various parks, past Olbrich Botanical Gardens. This fully paved, 13-mile loop offers unbeatable views of the Lake Monona and the Madison skyline.

UW-Madison Arboretum
A scenic route looping around Lake Wingra through Vilas Park and Nakoma with beautiful views during every season.

UW-Madison Campus
A peaceful ride along the shores of Lake Mendota, past the Memorial Union Terrace to the stunning area of Picnic Point.

The City of Madison offers numerous resources to help you plan your biking or hiking trip in Madison, including bike maps and more.


Blue Mound State Park
Over twenty miles of trail are available for enthusiasts willing to take the challenge. The DNR ranked this the best mountain biking trail in Wisconsin in 2007 and 2008. Blue Mound State Park offers spectacular views of the dolomite and chert outcroppings and challenges cyclist's bike handling skills.

Kettle Moraine State Forest 
This area is said to have some of the best mountain bike trails in the country. This trail system offers five different loops each varying in length and difficulty. In contrast to the technical difficulty of Blue Mound State Park, this is the place to crank up the RPM's and carry some speed. Check out the trail maps to see which one is right for you and don't forget to buy your trail pass before you go!

Devil's Lake Uplands Loop Trail
Uplands Loop trail is a connector trail which provides about eight total miles of bike trail. The Loop is generally a medium effort trail that is long, winding and grassy with variable grades through open fields, deep brush and woods. The most scenic views are from the top of the East Bluff Trail on the south end.

Quarry Ridge 
This free park is just five minutes from downtown Madison in Fitchburg, WI. Quarry Ridge features three miles of unique trails and is a destination trail system for mountain biking. It features a network of single-track trails for beginner to expert riders.

Badger Prairie County Park*
This park is popular among cyclo-cross riders and is ideal if you're interested in getting into mountain biking and are new to the sport. It is located in Verona, just 15 minutes from Madison.

CamRock County Park*
CamRock is 25 minutes from Madison, located between Rockdale and Cambridge along the Koshkonong Creek. These six miles of trail feature some of the most technical singletrack in the area.

*Permits are required at CamRock County Park and Badger Prairie County Park and can be purchased at the parks or online.

Top 10 Trails in Madison

Having trouble deciding which biking and hiking trails to try in Madison? We put together a list of the top 10 trails to try, and...

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Hiking Trails

Capital City Trail
This asphalt trail connects with the Military Ridge State Trail and with Madison's Southwest Path and is part of Badger State Trail that eventually will go to the Illinois border. Nine miles go through the scenic Capital Springs State Recreation Area

Military Ridge State Trail 
This 40-mile packed dirt trail connects Madison to Dodgeville by way of the communities of Ridgeway, Barneveld, Blue Mounds, Mount Horeb, Riley, Klevenville and Verona.

Glacial Drumlin State Trail 
Stretching for 52 miles through farmlands and glacial topography, this trail travels through 10 small towns from Cottage Grove to Waukesha. The trail is on an abandoned rail corridor, except for a 1.5-mile section northeast of Jefferson, between State Highway 26 and County Highway Y, which uses public roads as the trail route. The smooth surface of the trail is crushed packed limestone until 13 miles from Waukesha where it becomes asphalt.

Sugar River State Trail 
This is a 24-mile recreation trail surfaced with limestone suitable for bicycling, walking and snowmobiling. A one-mile stretch in New Glarus is blacktopped and perfect for in-line skating.

Badger State Trail 
Named after the Wisconsin state animal, this 40-mile trail goes from Madison to the Illinois State Line, and connects to the Capital City, Military Ridge and Sugar River state trails. It also connects to the Madison bikeway systemCapital Springs and New Glarus Woods state parks, Albany State Wildlife Area, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, 13 communities in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois and numerous local parks.

Ice Age National Scenic Trail 
A National Scenic Trail located entirely within Wisconsin from Interstate State Park on the Minnesota border to Potawatomi State Park on Lake Michigan, the Ice Age Trail winds for more than 1,000 miles, following the edge of the last continental glacier in Wisconsin.

Devil's Lake State Park 
Located about an hour north of Madison, this area provides more than 29 miles of hiking trails that vary in skill level. There is a one-mile interpretive nature trail and 1.5 miles of trail that are accessible for people with disabilities.

Holy Wisdom Monastery
Experience the wonder of nature on the trails at Holy Wisdom Monastery, located in Middleton, WI. Explore four miles of nature trails that are perfect for a brisk workout or contemplative walk.

Dane County offers numerous hiking trails throughout the parks systems. View park maps on the Dane County Parks website.

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