Weekend Vacation: Biking the Elroy-Sparta State Trail

My husband and I have a weekend vacation planned to travel to Sparta, Wi and bike the Elroy-Sparta State trail. This trail is considered the first rail-to-trail in the world, and it’s considered Wisconsin’s best rail trail!

We wanted to go on a vacation before school started but COVID-19 has made us leery about traveling to our typical haunts. I was thinking about socially distanced activities that we could do and naturally biking jumped to the forefront of my mind. I’ve always wanted to bike on this trail.

According to the DNR website’s trail history, the Elroy-Sparta State Trail has three rock tunnels (one of which you need to bring a headlamp/flashlight to traverse) and five small towns along the 32.5 mile trail. We have a decent workout ahead of us as there is a consistent 3% uphill grade to the first tunnel. I’m not sure how steep 3% is but it’s going be our goal to see all three tunnels. Due to the storms, a couple of segments of the trail are closed but if we bike to Tunnel #1 and back to the car, we’ll be able to drive to Wilton, Wi and bike to the next two tunnels and back.

Maybe you don’t get the appeal of biking through tunnels. I mean … they are tunnels. Wooo! (She said sarcastically). I thought that as well until I looked at some pictures on the Trail Link website.

Here’s what we have to look forward to:

This is as close to Tolkein’s Middle Earth as I’m going to get in the USA

Even though I’ve made biking such a core part of my life, I still can’t believe that my husband and I are the couple that goes on vacation to exercise. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. I always admired those fit couples in their Subarus with kayaks on the roof, skis in the back, and bikes on the trailer hitch rack. What else could be better in life than sharing an activity that promotes physical, mental, and spiritual health with your significant other?

And just so we are COVID safe as possible, we decided to bring our own bedding and food since we are staying at a hotel. (The room has a microwave and a mini fridge). When we’re done biking, we are going to relax in the hotel and watch a movie or play some video games together. Anything we order will be via curbside pickup and we aren’t going anywhere other than our hotel, the grocery store, and the trail.

Originally I wanted to bike through the small towns that mark the trail and find a cute little cafe to get some snacks, but my husband brought up the excellent point that Sparta, Wi is close to a military base (Ft. McCoy in Tomah, Wi) and it’s wise if we just keep to ourselves. Once we are in a post-COVID world, I hope that Vince and I can come back to this trail and actually play tourist via our bikes, but until then, we’ll have to be satisfied with the sunshine, fresh air, and picturesque views.

Stay tuned for a post-trip post about how everything went!

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