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Kettle Moraine State Forest - Southern Unit

From the youngest beginner to the most avid professional, 30 miles of trail offers some of the best off-road biking in the Midwest. Normally these trails are open from mid-April to mid-February. In order to protect the trail tread, the trails are closed during wet conditions after rainfall. For up-to-date trail conditions, call 262-594-6202. We highly recommend that you do not ride while it is raining or within four to six hours after rain has stopped. Please call ahead before venturing out. A state trail pass is required for riders 16 years of age and older.

A special loop has been created for the younger mountain bike riders. This 0.4-mile loop is behind the Muir shelter and introduces young riders to the skills of off-road biking. Young riders have the option of riding the a level trail or taking short loops off the main trail to test their skills riding in sand, over rocks, narrow beams and logs.

Bicycle Trails

Connector trails

These connector trails connect the John Muir and Emma Carlin trail systems. There are two separate connector trails, each about 6 miles long.

Emma Carlin trail system

This trail system, on County Highway Z just south of State Highway 59, goes through a hardwood forest with mostly hilly terrain. Three color coded trails ranging from 3.5 to 8 miles. Parking, water and vault toilets are available. The trails in this system are single-track mountain bike trails that are generally more difficult than the John Muir Trails. Trail map [PDF].

  • Brown Loop, moderate, 3.5 miles: Skirt in and out of pines and hardwoods, pass a kettle low­land, then after joining up with the Orange Loop, proceed uphill along a moraine and back downhill to the trail head.
  • Orange Loop, moderate/hard, 6 miles: Traverse the contours of the glacial geography, generally uphill to the scenic overlook where the Connector trail meets the Carlin trails. Then get ready for lots of ups and downs until meeting back with the Brown Loop.
  • Green Loop, hard, 8 miles: This trail is continuous with the orange, until it splits off on the southern half of the loop. Here you are in for several difficult ups and downs.

John Muir trail system

On County Highway H north of the Town of La Grange and US Highway 12 and south of the Town of Palmyra, this is the most popular trail system within hundreds of miles. The John Muir Bike Trails are single-track, mountain bike trails that are rough, natural surface trails. Five different loops ranging from 1.25 miles to 12 miles. Parking, water and vault toilets are available. Trail map [PDF].

  • Brown Loop, easy, 1.25 miles: Mostly flat trail with some small rolling hills; two moderate uphill climbs, one fast downhill and a little rocky ending.
  • White Loop, moderate, 4.25 miles: Moderate hills, some rocky trail sections; one long downhill, one fast steep downhill and one moderate uphill before reconnecting with the brown loop.
  • Rainy Dew Bypass (purple), hard, 4.7 miles: Moderate trail with a hard rocky up and down hill before reconnecting with the Blue Loop and Green Loop.
  • Orange Loop, moderate/hard, 5.0 miles: The first half of the trail is the White Loop. Includes moderate trail with a hard, long up-hill before reconnecting with the Brown Loop.
  • Green Loop, hard/more difficult, 7.0 miles: Moderate trail with very rocky and sandy trail sections; many hard ups and downs, with many fast sections.
  • Blue Loop, hard/most difficult, 12.0 miles: Hard trail with very rocky section, many hard up hills and several fast downhills.
  • Skills Course: A very short course to practice trail skills.