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Biking the Great Sauk Trail, Wisconsin

May 27, 2020 2 Comments

Biking the Great Sauk Trail, Wisconsin

May 27, 2020 2 Comments

Adventure of the Week

We’re kicking off our first official post of “Adventure of the Week” theme we’ll be running this summer – we’ll share something we did in the previous week and post on the blog and Instagram to hopefully give some inspiration and ideas for your own families’ adventures! It may be something big or small, together or with our own individual families. As always, we’ll share what went well (and what didn’t!) and the cost of everything we do.

Memorial Day was a humid 87 degree today in the Madison area but the sun was out and it felt like summer so we wanted to take advantage of the day. We’re not usually good at letting weekends go and wanted one last hurrah before the long weekend was over. Sara had heard about the bike trails in Sauk City / Prairie Du Sac, Wisconsin and wanted to check it out.

Note: we are amateur bikers. We don’t have the fancy gear or have many miles on our bikes. We’ve all got used bikes that were either bought cheap or given as hand-me-downs. We don’t have any biking apparel or shoes (actually, we could’ve used some bike shorts because our butts were hurting the next day!).

With social distancing and sticking closer to home these days, biking has been a fun activity we can do together safely.

We loaded up the bikes, packed a few snacks and water bottles, and left home around 4pm. It’s about a 25 minute drive and the kids were able to catch some rest in the car, which always sets us up for success!

Installed our own trailer hitch + new bike rack (see below)

(Don’t have a trailer hitch but need to haul your bikes? Did you know you can do a DIY Trailer Hitch Install on your vehicle? We didn’t know either until we found this kit — check out our post about the newly installed hitch + bike rack!)

WHERE TO PARK

We parked at free public parking lot near the Ruth Culver Library in Prairie du Sac. Other parking options include:

Along city streets
Chamber of Commerce office
Veteran’s Memorial Park in Prairie du Sac

COST

A trail pass is required for all bikers and roller bladers, 16 years of age and older. The trail pass fee is $5 / day or $25 / year. Trail passes can be purchased at the trail (near the Ruth Culver Library) or at the Sauk Prairie Chamber of Commerce. (information from Sauk County, WI website)

ABOUT THE BIKE TRAIL

The bike trail was built on a previous railroad and stretches 10.5 miles from point A to B. It is fully asphalt-paved and runs along the Wisconsin River for some pretty views. It’s a mostly wooded trail but passes through some city streets as well. Benches and pump stations are scattered throughout.

POINTS OF INTEREST

Veteran’s Memorial Park – 700 VFW Drive
Amenities Include overnight camping, shelters, picnic tables, access to Wisconsin River for boats and canoes, playground, and fishing.

Riverfront Park and Splash Pad – 236 Water Street
Includes soccer fields, huge playground, splash pad, bathrooms, and free parking. There is river access for loading kayak/canoes as well.

Hahn Riverfront Park – 626 Water Street
Outdoor green space along the Wisconsin River, located next to Vintage Brewing Company (see more below).


As mentioned, we parked near the library and hopped on the bike trail. We headed north on the trail (left) and rode about a mile or so. This took us past the Veteran’s Memorial Park and we then turned around and headed back south. Our end goal was to bike to Vintage Brewing Company for food, so we biked another 2 miles or so and parked our bikes at the restaurant.

Vintage Brewing Company in Sauk City, Wisconsin

WHAT WE ATE

Vintage Brewing Company is a local brewery and restaurant and has an outdoor beer garden, plus patio and indoor seating available. It overlooks the Wisconsin River and Hahn Riverfront Park. We know from experience that the food is good but didn’t opt for any indoor seating due to Covid-19, although it is now available (as of May 21, 2020).

The kids were perfectly content playing on the large open grassy area and we were able to keep them in sight. The adults grabbed drinks from the beer garden but were able to keep distance very easily. As mentioned, we didn’t want to do any indoor or outdoor seating, so we ordered our food on their website and it was ready for curbside takeout in 25 minutes. We ate outside and all utensils and condiments were able to be requested when online ordering.

Food at Vintage (as always) was delicious! We shared cheese curds as an appetizer – Wisconsinites here! Our meals included:

– Travis and Justin: Crispy Buffalo Chicken Sandwich
– Katie: House salad
– Sara: Cheeseburger
– Kids: Macaroni & Cheese, Buttered Noodles, and Cheeseburger


After eating, the kids wanted to wade in the water. Growing up near the Wisconsin River, we know it’s not safe to play without flotation devices so we only let the kids get their feet wet. They could’ve done this for hours but the sun was going down and we needed to head home.

Wisconsin River kids

WOULD WE DO IT AGAIN?

100% YES.

Fortunately, the kids were all happy and cooperative on this particular adventure but that isn’t always the case.

A couple of minor mishaps included a bee sting and a bike malfunction but these were quickly recovered from.
(FYI, if a kids’ brakes seem seized up after a rest stop, make sure the handlebars aren’t rotated a full 360 degrees around which leaves the tires unable to spin. Whoops! #amateurs)

Next time, we’d probably park at one of the River entrances and pack the car with towels, life jackets, cooler, and some beach toys. It’d be fun to park and bike for a while, then head back to the waterfront and hang out while they kids play.

Along the riverfront at Hahn’s Park near Vintage Brewing Company in Sauk City, WI

OVERALL THOUGHTS
this is an easy kid-friendly /
stroller-friendly / wheelchair-friendly bike and walking path with gorgeous river views and many accessible parks along the way. Highly recommend for a
socially-distanced outing for families looking for a low-stress outdoor activity!

2 Comments

  • Jean Kruchten May 28, 2020 at 12:15 pm

    I walk this trail everyday. The best time is just before sunrise, when everything is fresh with overnight dew. And every morning there is something new to see. The woods are waking up with a show of wild flowers that continues all summer. I have seen big fish break the surface of the river while surface feeding. There is a chorus of birds singing. And though Vintage Brewing is not open at sunrise, I have spent my share of time there. Excellent food and beer.

    • Sara May 29, 2020 at 3:19 pm

      It was such I nice trail. Jealous of you being able to utilize it every day! We hope to be back soon 🙂

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