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New Glarus Bakery
The New Glarus Primrose Winery
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Edelweiss Creamery - Monticello
Green County Cheese Factories
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Sweet Minihaha Campground - Albany
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Green Co. Forestry Educational Center Inc.
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ARGUE-ment Golf Course - Belleville
Dog Face - Monticello
Gasthaus Motel - Monroe
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Francois Oil Co. - Belleville and Monticello
Badger State Trail is the most popular recreational trail in Wisconsin according to many sources. It is primarily used by bicycle riders during warm months and snowmobiles during the winter. An ever increasing number of hikers in all seasons are also discovering the Badger which is now part of the Ice Age Trail. The trail extends from Fitchburg, WI (suburb of Madison), to the Illinois state line. The number one feature of the trail is the 1/4 mile Stewart Tunnel, considered to be the darkest trail tunnel in Wisconsin. The Badger Trail also has the distinction of being the only inter-state trail in Wisconsin. The trail connects to the Jane Addams Trail in Illinois, which is part of Grand Illinois Trail. The Jane Addams is going to connect into Freeport, Ill for 2015. The old Illinois Central Railroad corridor was used by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to establish the "Rails to Trails" trail.
The highlight of the trail is the restored 1200-foot long historic Stewart Railroad Tunnel that was finished in 1887 and is located south of Belleville. Because of a slight bend in the tunnel, you gaze into total darkness. We recommend that you bring a bright flashlight. This tunnel may not be the longest trail tunnel in Wisconsin, but is considered by many to be the darkest in Wisconsin. From the tunnel, the trail continues south to Monticello where it crosses the Sugar River State Trail. From Monticello the trail continues to Monroe and then on into Illinois. At the Wisconsin state line it connects to the Jane Addams Trail which brings you to Orangeville and Freeport, IL. The Jane Addams Trail is part of the Grand Illinois Trail System.
You can find all kinds of bikers on all parts of the trail, but are more likely to find tourists, families, and the AARP generation riding at a slower pace between Belleville and the state line. From Belleville north you are more likely to meet avid bike riders, commuters, and bikers escaping the city.
Communities along the trail all welcome trail users. May we suggest you go to the links for the communities at the top of this page to better plan your visit. If you are part of a group, may we suggest you reserve a shelter in the community you are starting and/or ending. Green County is famous for its many award winning cheese factories and two breweries, so plan on bringing part of Green County home with you.
Hikers please take note that you are welcome to all parts of the Badger Trail and as a highlight of your hike be aware that part of the Badger is also part of the Ice Age Trail. For more details check out Ice Age Trail.
Geocachers –Start a high tech treasure hunt today using your GPS. The Badger Trail is considered by many to have more geocaches hidden on it than any other trail in Wisconsin. Pictured below is Grandpa Fuzzy as he finds a treasure along the trail. Be sure to bring small items to exchange in the geocach. Search www.geocaching.com for more information on this exciting sport.
Kiosk south of tunnel built by Friends of Badger Trail
Chambers of Commence
Green County Tourism
A Visitor's Guide that includes a map of the Badger Trail and Sugar River Trail can be obtained from Green County Tourism using the link above or downloaded. Please mention this web site when requesting it.
Cross Country skiers using the trail next to the tunnel where snowmobiles are not allowed.
Trail Distances Between Communities
City of Madison
|Unincorporated Village of Basco
|| 9 miles
|Unincorporated Village of Basco
||Village of Belleville
|Village of Belleville
||Village of Monticello
|Village of Monticello
||City of Monroe
|City of Monroe
||Town of Clarno (State Line)
|Town of Clarno (State Line)
At the northern most point of the Badger, the trail changes name as it continues into Madison and becomes the Southwest Path. At this point, The Millitary Ridge runs below and connects from the west and then chnges its name to Capitol City trail as it goes east. New construction for 2010 included an asphalt paved 10-ft. wide path for the 6.1 miles of the northern portion of the Badger Trail from Lovell Lane south to Purcell Road. The Badger is blacktopped from Madison to Purcell Road (North of Belleville). From Purcell Road to the Illinois state line limestone screenings provide a hard smooth surface for your biking and hiking enjoyment.
Find Another Trail
Natural ice sculpture
*Lowest point of Badger Trail is Monticello, so consider ending your bike ride there.
*Almost all of the trail is fairly flat except on the south side of the tunnel where it is downhill if heading south.
*Be sure to bring a bright flashlight for the tunnel located between Belleville and Monticello.
*We believe the best bike shop in the area is Stonehall Bicycle - Monroe located one block north of the square in Monroe.
*Monroe, Monticello and Belleville all have restaurants with easy access to trail. No food or water between, so plan accordingly.
*The only bike shop on the trail is located by the Monroe Trailhead.
Snowmobiles and 4-Wheelers
In Green County, snowmobiling is allowed whenever there are 4 inches of snow, or the trail has a groomed base. Snowmobile use is not permitted in the Stewart Tunnel, but a snowmobile trail is clearly marked to bypass the tunnel. From the Green-Dane county line north to Sun Valley Parkway, snowmobiling will be allowed when ever there are 6 inches of snow, or the trail has a groomed base. The Badger Trail connects to Dane County trails. Snowmobiles are not allowed north of Purcell Road where the Badger Trail is blacktopped. Call 608-527-2910 for trail conditions.
All-terrain vehicle (ATV) use is only allowed from 21st Street in Monroe to Lake Avenue in Monticello IF the trail surface is frozen and air temperature is approximately 28° F or lower on trail tread only. ATV's allowed from December 1 to March 15 when the trail is not open for snowmobiling (4 inches of snow depth, or trail has been groomed and has a snow base.) All-terrain vehicle conditions, openings and closures are announced at the Tri-County Trails web site and the DNR has a dedicated phone line to check trail conditions by calling 608-527-2910. Respect the trail so ATV use can continue.
Looking south into the tunnel clearly explains why snowmobiles are required to loop around the tunnel.
Winter 2013 - Looking north (above) and south (below) notice the trees down due to heavy snow near tunnel. Trail was open everywhere except the tunnel for snowmobiles (tunnel is never open for snowmobiles).
Web sites with links to this web site.
Local events we hope you consider:
Monroe Balloon Rally held yearly on Father's Day weekend
Monticello Homecoming -(Community Picnic with everyone welcome- second weekend in July)
Wilhelm Tell Festival held yearly on Labor Day weekend
Green County Cheese Days held in even years -looking forward to 2014
Green County Calendar of Events
To have your event included, e-mail email@example.com. All events must be within 5 miles or less of Badger Trail or Sugar River Trail.
Happy 7th Birthday Badger Trail - July 8, 2014
The Badger Trail was opened to the public July 8, 2007. Thousands of individuals, groups, and families have enjoyed the trail hiking, riding their snowmobile, or biking since then. The historic tunnel has been the draw for tourists both young and old alike. The tunnel provides a cool retreat on hot days with temperatures in the 50 - 60 degree range. Trailheads have been developed in Fitchburg, Belleville, Monticello, and Monroe is currently finishing construction of trailhead.
New for 2013 included the Ice Age Trail becoming part of our Badger Trail. This has led to an increase in the number of hikers now using the trail.
From the Fitchburg northen end of the Badger Trail, Madison continues to make improvement that have increased the ease of getting to the Badger and all points south. Many bikers now ride south from Madison to one of the three communities in Green County on the trail for a meal and or refreshment. Communities along the Sugar River Trail have also seen an increase in business becasue of its link to the Badger.
The future of the trail is bright as it continues to get discovered by visitors from beyond Green County. Communities along the trail continue to add services for users of the trail. Large and small groups have enjoyed the trail and exploring the tunnel. Future goals include more signs to help you find the trail and maintaining the trail for the pleasure of Wisconsin residents and our visitors. Happy seventh birthday Badger! Enjoy the trail and thanks for visiting www.badger-trail.com
"Grand Opening of the Badger Trail" was in Belleville on July 8, 2007. Check out the photographs to see how grand it really was. A Grand Opening at the stateline was also held to make the official connection to the Jane Addams Trail.