Landscape. A rock-reinforced lakefront on the left, and the lake on the right.

Looking for local route recommendations? We got you. This is a curated collection of the very best road, mountain, and family rides in the area, complete with digital route maps!

Pheasant Branch Conservancy

Distance: 3.1 mi
Elevation: +/– 87 FT

Start at the 14-acre Orchid Heights community park and cruise around the Pheasant Branch Conservancy in Middleton for a 3-mile loop, or meander into the interior. Kids will love the playground at the Orchid Heights park entrance.

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Distance: 5.5 mi
Elevation: +/– 233 FT

Start in Nannyberry Park on Syene Road and meander along car-free bike paths through some wooded sections of the Capital Springs State Recreation Area, and then through quiet neighborhoods. Take a break at the playground at Swan Creek Park, where you’ll also find restrooms.

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Distance: 6.3 mi
Elevation: +/– 204 FT

Circle Lake Wingra on quiet park and neighborhood roads through the preserved marshland, prairie, and woodlands of the University of Wisconsin Arboretum. Check out the nearby (free) Henry Vilas Zoo, home to more than 115 species including the African lion, ring-tailed lemur, and articulated giraffe.

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Distance: 9.6 mi
Elevation: +/– 242 FT

Mostly car-free bike paths and a few neighborhood sections make this a great ride for kids familiar with basic road etiquette. Park at the Henry Vilas beach (between the zoo and Lake Wingra) and head through the University of Wisconsin Arboretum, through Nakoma, and loop back north of the lake. Between miles 6 and 7, stop at Mickie’s Dairy Bar for snacks.

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Southwest Commuter (Out & Back)

Distance: 12.2 mi
Elevation: +/– 263 FT

Start and finish on the corner of Gilman and Wisconsin in downtown Madison. In between, follow the Southwest Commuter Bike Path for about 6 miles before turning back. There’s a playground at Glenwood Children’s Park at miles 3.5 and 9.

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Lake Monona

Distance: 13.4 mi
Elevation: +/– 347 FT

Cruise the whole scenic loop or do an out-and-back from Olbrich Park. Along the way catch views of the State Capitol, sailboats on the lake, and the glass-walled conservatory at the Olbrich Botanical Gardens. Stop for a burger or a chocolate malt at Monona Bait & Ice Cream Shop.

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Lake Kegonsa

Distance: 16.4 mi
Elevation: +/– 502 FT

Ride counterclockwise around lower Lake Kegonsa into La Follette County Park and through Lake Kegonsa State Park. Either follow the map and swing wide north of the lake, then back to where you started or hang a left at mile 6.8 onto Fairview Street to Springers, a family-friendly lunch spot with gorgeous lake views.

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Capital City Trail/Southwest Commuter Path

Distance: 17.9 mi
Elevation: +/– 535 FT

This chill route around Madison is almost all car-free bike path with plenty of snack stops along the way. You’ll ride through the Capital State Springs Recreation Area and catch fabulous views of State Capitol and the Monona Terrace Convention Center as you cross Lake Monona on John Nolen Drive.

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Get in-person advice at a shop near you

No one knows your hometown rides like your local Trek store, so drop by to get the inside line on hidden gems, events, and more.

Landscape. In the foreground the bike path symbol is emblazoned on a path. Buildings and a cloudy sky in the background.

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