We are a low key cycling family who biked prior to the pandemic and we love to check out new trails. Over the years we’ve transitioned from bike carriers to weehoos to bike trailers to kids bikes with gears. Despite all the gear and schlepping, we always have fun and lots of laughs along the way. My husband and I both have road bikes so we tend to search for trails that are asphalt or limestone paved, fairly flat, and allow for frequent stops with cool scenery.
Great Sauk State Trail
The Great Sauk Trail checks these boxes and is only about 25 minutes outside of Madison. The trail is a new rails to trails asphalt paved path that runs along the Wisconsin River between Sauk Prairie and Prairie du Sac for about 11 miles. There’s a mix of sun and shade with benches and beaches along the way for scenic stops if you plan to rest or picnic. They’ve installed bike repair stations for any mishaps. Thankfully we didn’t need it!
Parking + Passes + Picnics
You can park at either end of the trail or in the middle depending on how far you want to bike. We parked at the Riverfront Park and Splash Pad. There’s ample parking and shaded green space with a fountain. Across from this, there is a large playground, shelter, bathrooms and a splash pad. It was busy the day we visited so we didn’t venture over. A weekday that’s not so hot may keep the crowds smaller.
We walked a short way down the trail and over a small bridge to sit in the shade along the river for a picnic. Not only are the views great, but we had a fox and some birds stop by to say hello.
Other parking spots:
- Chamber of Commerce in Sauk Prairie
- Vintage Brewing Co. in Sauk Prairie
- Veteran’s Memorial Park in Prairie du Sac
- Ruth Culver Library in Prairie du Sac
Sights + Stops
We rode from the Riverfront Park and Splash Pad to the Veterans Memorial Park and checked out the vietnam era helicopter and caught a glimpse of the hydroelectric dam in Prairie du Sac. There’s a playground, beach, and river access if you want to canoe or kayak.
If we had more time we would have stopped at the Vintage Brewing Company for a drink and/or food and played at the Hahn Riverfront Park right next door. There’s beach access to the river and green space for the kids to play. We may park here next time and bring life jackets, towels, sand toys and a canoe or kayak. The river current is no joke so make sure to bring a flotation device. Overall it was a great afternoon and definitely worth a visit!
Sauk City Riverfront Park
Address: 236 Water St, Sauk City, WI
Sauk City Riverfront Park is located on the west bank of the Wisconsin River and extends from downtown Sauk City north to the neighboring Village of Prairie du Sac. The existing park already had extensive walking and Nordic ski trails, as well as a beach area, shelter and several soccer fields. The Great Sauk State Trail also connects to, and runs through, the park.
The area features new splash pad, playground, seven new irrigated and improved soccer fields, a zip-line, ADA-compliant canoe and kayak launch, ADA-compliant restroom and concession building, parking lots, park lighting, landscaping, new access road and pedestrian path connecting visitors to the river.