The John Muir trails are found in Southern Kettle Moraine State Forest, and are by far the most popular biking destination in Wisconsin. These trails are well maintained and provide around 30 miles of singletrack for all levels of skill. The terrain is mostly gently rolling but there are some short and steep climbs here as well. The area contains pine plantations, hardwood forests, ponds, and bogs.
There are five loops ranging from 1.5 miles to 10 miles. The John Muir trails are connected to the Emma Carlin trails by a two-way 5-mile connector trail.
The trail system is shared with hikers, so be on the lookout. Parking, water and pit toilets are available on-site. Don't forget that a trail pass is required and can be purchased at a self-registration station in the parking lot.
Trail DescriptionThere are five different color-coded loops that can be run individually or combined to make longer rides. Don't forget that there is a connector trail leading to the Emma Carlin trails. The connector trail is on the north end of the system and connects to the green/blue trails. It is rough.
Red - 1.5 mi - easiest, beginner loop, one downhill, good warmup for other trails
White - 4.0 mi - moderate, provides a nice view of the bogs, adds 2 miles to the red trail
Orange - 5.3 mi - moderate, avoids the technical sections on the green and blue trails but provides some good climbs and downhills
Green - 6.8 mi - difficult, steep hills and sharp turns
Blue - 10.0 mi - difficult, similiar to the green trail but longer, the best trail here, nice forest views
Here is a map of the trail system.
Getting ThereThe trails are located on County Highway H north of the Town of La Grange and US Highway 12 and south of the Town of Palmyra.
Take highway 12 east, go through Whitewater, go left (north) on highway H. The trailhead will be on the left.
Take I-43 south towards Beloit. When you get to East Troy, go right (west) onto highway 20. Highway 20 will merge into highway 12, continue west. Continue west on highway 12, turn right (north) onto highway H. The trailhead will be on the left.
When to BikeSpring, summer, and fall; usually late April through November. The trails are used for snowshoeing during the winter months.
The State Forest prefers if you not ride while it is raining or within 4 to 6 hours after rain has stopped.