Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Ontario ~ Wildcat Mountain

Wildcat Mountain has some of the best running trails within an hours radius of Norwalk and possibly some of the best in the state! The only problem with the trails is horses are allowed on several of them. If you want to get any distance in you will either need to run smaller loops or run the horse trails. On the plus side the views on some of the horse trails are amazing!

The trails vary between single track and double. They offer everything you're looking for; switchbacks, climbs, flats and some of the most difficult trails around. A few more bathrooms would be nice but with all the woods it's not necessary.

Wildcat Mountain is 13 miles from Norwalk.

During the winter make sure to check out the ice cave. Although not a true cave it is truly cool!

The map shows my longest run at Wildcat Mountain 13.49 miles and there are still several miles of trail that I didn't run.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Westby ~ Jersey Valley Park

This is where it all started for me. I was training for the Schmidt Faced 50k and thought maybe I should get off the streets and do some trail running before than. The park was recommended to be by a couple of the fat tire guys. The area has a very active bike club so don't be surprised to see them here. I've yet to see any of them while I've been running but there is always sign of them.

Each loop around the park is about 3.4 miles but can be varied as there are alternate routes to be ran. The trails are mostly double track with a few narrow areas mixed in. The trail has some nice elevation changes, switchbacks and flat fast areas. The park also has a nice beach for after your run.

If you happen to go off course to be surprised to end up at Living Waters Bible Camp. Although they have no problems with you running through their land they ask you check in while doing so.

Jersey Valley County Park is located 3 miles northeast of Westby on County Rd. X. It's 18 miles from Norwalk.

Living Waters Bible Camp

 The elevation shows two laps around the park.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

La Crosse ~ Hixon Forest Trails

The Rotary Vista Trail at Hixon Forest is an out and back trail that offers some spectacular views from the bluff top. I would call the trail a single track and a half, although most of the trail is double track there are parts of it that would be impossible to get an ATV through.

The park has several trails. So far I've only ran the Rotary Vista trail it's five miles out and back, the park has the trail rated with a difficulty of intermediate. Although I believe that to be fairly accurate I haven't heard of any of the La Crosse trails being more difficult.

La Crosse is 50 Miles from Norwalk.

The start of the trail on the left side of the parking lot.

Going up

The view from the top.

I've always turned around at this point and headed back down. I'm the guy that could get lost running around the block.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sparta ~ Sparta School Forest

This is one of those unknown trails even searching the internet very little can be found about it. The trails are sandy and double track. On a wet spring day like today it makes for perfect running as the sand and pine needles keep the trail dry and footing firm.

The trail is fairly short the longest loop being just under a mile long. For someone wanting to run the trails but not be far away from a bathroom it's perfect. My Garmin says there is a 721 foot elevation gain but it doesn't feel like it.

The Sparta School Forest is 26 miles from Norwalk.
4981 Dakota Ave. Sparta, WI

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Fort McCoy ~ Whitetail Ridge Ski Area

Fort McCoy hosts several running trails that are open to the public. All are double track trail and most are sandy to some degree. Directly behind the ski hill is a trail with a fitness course on it if you're into that kind of thing. I stopped at the campgrounds and asked about running on the snowmobile trails and was told that it wouldn't be a problem as long as I stayed on public use lands. During the summer months you may want to start your run at the campgrounds as there is a swimming area there for when you finish your run.

As I've yet to run the same route twice I don't know how many miles of trails Fort McCoy has, I'm sure it is a bunch.

Fort McCoy is 21 miles from Norwalk.

 Looking up from the bottom of the ski hill.

Looking down from the top of the ski hill.

The trails

Fitness equiptment

Notice on the map there are no street names. The directions to both the ski area and campgrounds are clearly marked with big signs that can't be missed.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Norwalk ~ Russ's Trail

Although not a true trail this starts just outside my back door. The first 1.75 miles are along the Sparta-Elroy bike trail. When you see Lake Norwalk on your right you will see a dirt road (Kingfisher Rd.) on the other side of the dam. Follow that to County Highway T and follow it uphill for about 200 yards (County T is paved). Turn right at the first street Kennel Ave. it will turn into a double track trail running up through the Ridgeville Wildlife Area.

This is an out back trail totaling approximately 7.32 miles

Lake Norwalk
The view from County T right before Kennel Ave.
Kennel Ave.
Keep an eye out for the barrier leading into the Ridgeville Wildlife Area.
Ridgeville Wildlife Area double track trails.