A mountain biker and his trail dog are silhouetted against a cloudy sunset sky.

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!

Blue Mound State Park

Distance: 15 mi
Difficulty: Moderate/Hard


This mixed-use network includes seven dedicated mountain bike trails that become more technical the farther in you ride. Newer riders can pedal the sections closest to the trailhead (located in the swimming-pool parking lot), then session some of the more challenging rock and log features. Conquer the trails and you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views of the dolomite and chert outcroppings in Blue Mound State Park. Although the trail network requires advanced skills, there’s a family-friendly mile-long Pleasure Valley Bike Trail near the park entrance

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Quarry Park

Distance: 2 mi
Difficulty: Moderate/Hard


This wooded city park in west Madison is home to a tight singletrack network of just over two miles with plenty of punchy climbs, twisty turns, and tooth-rattling rocks and logs. Several bike-specific trails feature challenging jump lines worth a recon before launching blind. And riders of all levels can hone their skills on the flowy pump track. The rest of the trails are shared with pedestrians. Grab a map at the Barlow Street trailhead and follow the directional arrows.

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Quarry Ridge

Distance: 4 mi
Difficulty: Easy/Moderate/Hard


Mountain bikers of all levels will have a blast on this well-maintained singletrack network just six miles south of Madison in Fitchburg. Prominent signage indicates the skill level required for each of the 12 trails, which include everything from smooth sandstone to flowy bermed sections to wooden features and some big, gnarly drops. Total length of the trails is just four miles in total, but you can knit together any number of routes for hours of fun.

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Pleasant View

Distance: 3 mi
Difficulty: Moderate/Hard


This small, mostly wooded network at the Pleasant View Golf Course offers about three miles of flowy singletrack, a downhill jump line for more advanced riders, and a 5,000-square-foot pump track for whooping it up. The trails connect to the adjacent Blackhawk Ski Club (membership required, see page 111), so it’s possible to piggyback the two= for a full day of fun. Afterward, wash down a grilled bratwurst with a frosty pint beside the fire pit at Pleasant View’s Goat Hill Grill.

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Blackhawk Ski Club

Distance: 5 mi
Difficulty: Moderate/Hard


Five miles of purpose-built trails offer something for everyone: fast and fun downhills, wide-open doubletrack, twisty climbs, and tons of rippy singletrack. The network connects to the trails at the adjacent Pleasant View Golf Course (see page 109), where you can also grab a post-ride bite. An annual bike-only Blackhawk membership fee helps fund youth sports in the Madison area, and the club offers summer lessons for kids (an additional charge) plus Tuesday-night family rides. Trails stay open all year long, but close for rain and ice.

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Camrock

Distance: 11 mi
Difficulty: Moderate/Hard


This 11-mile singletrack network, nestled along the Koshkonong Creek between Cambridge and Rockdale in Camrock Park, has a little bit of everything. The 15 named trails include swoopy berms, rattly rock gardens, oak savannas, wildflower meadows, and lots of constructed wooden features, including a massive plank/log structure called Big Woody. From the parking area, drop in to one of three trails. Getting Started is the easiest option, while the steep berms on Beer Run will wake you up fast. From there, the trails are well marked and strung together with connector trails so it’s impossible to get lost.

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Seminole Trails

Distance: 3 mi
Difficulty: Easy/Moderate


Two concentric loops in Dawley Conservancy Park offer smooth, well-groomed singletrack ideal for newer riders and families. Beginners will feel unstoppable on the outer loop, while the inside loop tosses up a few more technical features (mostly rocks and roots) that are good for sharpening skills and building confidence. For an extra challenge, warm up at the Conservancy, then hop on the paved Cannonball Bike Path (on the north side of the park) and ride southwest about three miles to Quarry Ridge, a network of 12 trails designed for a variety of skill levels (see page 107).

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Glacial River MTB Park

Distance: 1 mi
Difficulty: Easy/Moderate


This small-but-satisfying trail network, still in development by the Jefferson County Trail Builders, offers a mile-long beginner-friendly option as well as a brand-new intermediate loop with a couple of exciting wooden trail features including a swoopy roller bridge and a winding planked section. (An advanced trail is in the works.) Afterward, head to the Brickhaus Café in town for pastries and a hot cup of fresh-brewed, fair-trade organic coffee.

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Kettle Moraine State Forest

Distance: 30 mi
Difficulty: Moderate/Hard


The 22,000-acre southern unit of Kettle Moraine State Forest has some of the best mountain biking in Wisconsin: 30 miles of singletrack with loads of challenging technical features, steep climbs, and swooping downhills through protected hardwood forest and restored prairieland. Two connected systems, Emma Carlin and John Muir, offer a total of eight color-coded trails ranging from 1.5 to 12 miles, along with a half-mile skills course. Pick up snacks, rent bikes, or purchase gear at the La Grange General Store & Backyard Bikes northeast of the park.

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Devil's Lake State Park

Distance: 8 mi
Difficulty: Easy/Moderate


Devil’s Lake State Park is one of Wisconsin’s most- visited parks and offers breathtaking views of the 360-acre lake from 500-foot high quartzite bluffs. The park boasts an extensive hiking trail network; currently, mountain biking is limited to the Upland Trail Loop, a rocky, rutted doubletrack 4-mile trail with lots of up and down. Devil’s Lake is a great option for a weekend family adventure: In addition to hiking and biking trails, there are three public campgrounds ($20; reserve at devilslakewisconsin.com), boat and canoe rentals, sandy swimming beaches, and concessions at the north and south ends of the lake.

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Mountain biker rides along a trail before sunset. There’s tall grasses in the foreground, and a long, clear view behind them.

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