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Madison, Wisconsin, Capital City Bike Trail

Also see: Bike Chicago

All images by Mark File. Please do not copy without permission.

Madison's Capital City Trail
July 2006: Madison is a biking town. Many of its residents bike to work every day. With the sprawling UW campus in the middle of town and the city's five lakes and 200 parks, biking certainly comes naturally. Madison is built on an isthmus (I love that word!) between two of the largest lakes, Lake Monona and Lake Mendota. There is plenty of natural beauty in the heart of the city.

The Capital City Trail is an asphalt trail that loops around the south side of town. Nine miles of the trail go through the scenic Capital Springs State Recreation Area. It connects with the Military Ridge State Trail and with Madison's Southwest Path, part of Badger State Trail that eventually will go to the Illinois border. There is a $4 fee for biking the trail, taken by an honor system at a station at the end of the trail.

The last segment of a connector in the city is being completed this summer (2006), so you can bike an 18-mile loop. In the City of Madison, the trail follows 7 miles of city bikeways from Industrial Drive near Nob Hill, under the Beltline Highway, along Lake Monona past the Convention Center downtown, and through the east side of Madison.

See a map of the trails. The loop includes the Capital City Trail and the SW Commuter Path and John Nolen Path. The two paths in the city now connects at Lake Monona on the edge of downtown.

For a dinner treat, go to Restaurant Magnus downtown. Start with a Caipirinha (cachaca rum with lime, lemon and sugar). For dessert, go for the Chocolate Bombe!

Military Ridge State Trail is 40-mile packed dirt trail that connects Madison to Dodgeville, by way of the communities of Ridgeway, Barneveld, Blue Mounds, Mount Horeb, Riley, Klevenville, and Verona. In Mount Horeb, be sure to stop at the Mustard Museum to will and sample the world's largest collection of mustard!

Helpful links:
General Madison Biking Info
Capital City Trail
Military Ridge State Trail

Take a snack and stop at Olin Park by Lake Monona. Enjoy great views of downtown.

While at Olin Park, see what could be the world's smallest beach!

Lots of wildflowers line the scenic Capital City Trail through the countryside just outside of Madison.

You can take a detour off the trail to bike downtown to the impressive Capitol building. Climb to the top for a great view from the dome.

Sample 500+ types of mustard at the Mustard Museum! Ask me to sample my Chocolate Fudge Mustard.

David is overwhelmed by the great wall of mustard!

Thanks to Bryan and David for touring me around Madison!

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