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15 Best Bike Trails in Milwaukee

Milwaukee has more than 160 miles of bike lanes (as Wisconsin’s largest city, it shouldn’t be surprising). Continue reading about the 15 best bike trails in Milwaukee, one of the top bicycle-friendly cities in the USA.

Oak Leaf River Trail

The Oak Leaf River Trail stands out as the premier route for biking enthusiasts in Milwaukee, encompassing an expansive loop that links some of Wisconsin’s finest state parks, such as Lake Park and Havenwood State Forest.

It seamlessly integrates with other notable Milwaukee County bike trails, including the Hank Aaron State Trail and the Menomonee River Trail. Distinguished by its flat terrain interspersed with some challenging urban slopes, the Oak Leaf River Trail caters to riders of all skill levels, establishing itself as a top choice among Milwaukee’s biking routes.

Functioning as the primary access point to the Route of the Badger, a network of hiking trails in Southeast Wisconsin that fosters recreational and transportation advantages across counties, the path is a vital conduit for outdoor enthusiasts. Benefiting from well-maintained paved sections and extended bike paths, the Oak Leaf River Trail is widely acclaimed as an ideal choice for novice and experienced bikers in Milwaukee.

The trail ranks among the city’s most sought-after locations for a picturesque biking experience, with about 135 miles of mostly level ground. Adding to its appeal is the accessibility factor, as the trail can be conveniently reached via public transportation from the Milwaukee metro area, featuring multiple bus stops and train stations along its route.

Hank Aaron State Trail

Stretching from the Milwaukee lakefront to the western suburbs, the Hank Aaron State Trail offers an enjoyable journey with various family-friendly attractions, including the Milwaukee County Zoo and the Harley-Davidson Museum. It is a perfect destination for fun activities with kids in Milwaukee.

Renowned as one of the more accessible hiking trails in Wisconsin, the Hank Aaron State Trail is equally accessible for biking enthusiasts in Milwaukee, featuring smooth, paved terrains. While primarily a straightforward trail, intermittent segments with moderate inclines may challenge beginners.

A notable feature of the trail is the presence of several rest areas and benches strategically placed for breaks, allowing visitors to relish a picnic lunch or snack. Beyond its recreational aspects, the Hank Aaron State Trail is a valuable resource for delving into Milwaukee’s history and natural environment, catering to visitors of all ages.

A must-visit for outdoor enthusiasts, the Hank Aaron State Trail is a prime location for biking in Milwaukee, boasting 15 miles of well-maintained paved routes extending from the shores of Lake Michigan to the Milwaukee and Waukesha county line. Exploring the entire trail, typically taking around 3 hours, provides captivating views of some of Wisconsin’s finest lakes. For an extra scenic touch, a stop at Lakeshore State Park offers a panoramic view of the city skyline, enhancing the overall experience of this trail adventure.

New Berlin Recreational Trail

Situated just two miles north of the Hank Aaron State Trail, the New Berlin Recreation Trail presents a myriad of amenities along Milwaukee’s bike paths. Offering a beginner-friendly experience, it’s an ideal choice for cyclists of all levels looking to explore the local shops and cafes or take a break during their rides.

The New Berlin Recreation Trail stands out among Milwaukee’s bike trails for its paved and predominantly flat terrain, making it well-suited for beginners and families with children. Distinguishing itself from other bike trails in Milwaukee County, this trail accommodates two-way traffic, enhancing its appeal for novice riders.

While pedaling through the 7-mile paved path, cyclists are encouraged to watch for local wildlife, adding a touch of nature to the biking experience. The New Berlin Recreation Trail’s connectivity to other biking trails in Milwaukee, including the Oak Leaf Trail and the Muskego Recreation Trail, further solidifies its status as one of the city’s premier bike trails.

Embark on your biking adventure from the corner of South 124th Road in the eastern part of the Waukesha-Milwaukee county line, and follow the well-marked trail. It will lead you through the picturesque countryside, allowing you to traverse charming communities and neighborhoods in Wisconsin along the way.

Muskego Recreation Trail

Explore one of Milwaukee’s premier bike routes with the Muskego Recreation Trail, commencing near a residential community’s Muskego County Park entrance. Heading west, the trail treats riders to a picturesque journey, winding through the dirt path of Big Bend for nearly half of its expanse.

Distinguishing itself from preceding Milwaukee bike trails, the Muskego Recreation Trail is categorized as moderate in difficulty, catering to mountain and hybrid bikes with short hills and curves. Beyond its popularity among bikers, the trail is also frequented by hikers and equestrians.

While most of the trail offers a relatively easy ride, certain sections of the Muskego Recreation Trail demand more skill. Negotiating a few road crossings necessitates heightened caution due to heavy traffic, and narrower trail areas prompt cyclists to slow down and be vigilant of fellow pedestrians.

Spanning approximately 6 miles, the trail traces the route of an abandoned railroad corridor from North Cape Road in the south to Woods Road in the north. This journey promises enjoyable bike rides in Milwaukee, showcasing a diverse blend of urban, suburban, and rural landscapes. Completing the trail takes about two to three hours, considering its mostly flat and well-maintained nature. However, cyclists unaccustomed to hills in specific segments may find the journey a bit more time-consuming.

Beerline Trail

The Beerline Trail stands out as a public recreational walk and bike path designed to cater to visitors of all ages (and for those seeking shorter trails). Developed by the City of Milwaukee as part of revitalization initiatives in the area, the Beerline Trail has evolved into a popular recreational destination, attracting runners and cyclists alike.

The four-mile trail is paved and features predominantly flat terrains, ensuring accessibility. Recognized as one of the easiest bike trails near Milwaukee, it accommodates individuals of varying fitness levels.

Noteworthy for its disability-friendly design, the Beerline Trail provides various outdoor activities. The trail offers a multi-use path for biking and walking through the neighborhoods. Enriching art installations and murals encourages cyclists to make a few stops to appreciate the creative elements during their bike rides.

Milwaukee Lakefront Trail

Exploring the Lakefront Trail by bike should top your list of activities in Milwaukee during October, a month characterized by relatively cooler temperatures and the breathtaking display of fall foliage in Wisconsin. This season creates a stunning backdrop for bike rides, enhancing the overall experience.

The Milwaukee Lakefront Trail boasts a generally smooth and paved surface, providing a relatively easy route for biking or hiking in Milwaukee. However, some gentle hills around the South Shore Park Area might pose a challenge for novice bikers.

Stretching along the shores of Lake Michigan, one of the five Great Lakes of North America, this trail holds a special place among outdoor activities in Milwaukee. It is celebrated as one of the city’s best bike trails, offering a scenic ride along Wisconsin’s premier lake.

Covering approximately 6.5 miles, the Milwaukee Lakefront Trail typically takes 2-3 hours to complete. Following the shore of Lake Michigan, the trail treats cyclists to captivating views of the lake and the city skyline, creating a picturesque ride.

Enriching the journey, the trail features parks and other attractions, inviting you to make the most of your day by immersing yourself in the natural beauty of Milwaukee.

Seven Bridges Trail

The historic Seven Bridges Trail is an exceptional destination for nature enthusiasts, offering breathtaking views of the forest, ravines, and Lake Michigan. With its unique feature of seven wooden bridges crossing a creek, this trail presents a distinctive and captivating experience, making it a must-visit attraction for those exploring nature in Milwaukee.

The Seven Bridges Trail is a relatively easy bike trail in Milwaukee and provides ample opportunities to pause and rest along its not-too-length route. Rated as easy to moderate in difficulty, the path predominantly maintains a flat terrain interspersed with a few rough spots and hills.

The trail is well-maintained and generally in good condition and has a mix of paved and unpaved surfaces. Particularly suitable for families with children, the Seven Bridges Trail encourages kids to delve into the wonders of the natural world, offering an engaging and educational outing in Milwaukee.

As one of the shorter bike trails in Milwaukee, spanning a mere 2 miles, completing the Seven Bridges Trail takes approximately 1 to 2 hours. Compared to other Milwaukee bike trails, its brevity makes it an ideal location for a brief escapade, allowing visitors to relish the area’s natural beauty while enjoying a biking adventure in Milwaukee.

Greenfield Park Trail

The Greenfield Park Trail offers a brief yet picturesque cycling experience for riders of all skill levels and ages. It is ideal for those with limited time for bike rides in Milwaukee. Nestled within one of the city’s famous parks in the western region, the Greenfield Park Trail provides an inviting setting for running and biking activities.

Regarded as an easy ride accommodating beginners, the trail boasts a fully paved surface that is predominantly flat. This design ensures a smooth journey without encountering significant hills or steep inclines, making it particularly accessible for those unfamiliar with the hilly bike paths in Milwaukee. Marking itself as one of the shorter Milwaukee bike trails, the Greenfield Park Trail spans approximately 1.5 miles.

Completing the trail is relatively quick, taking around an hour or even less for more experienced bikers accustomed to flat terrains.

Wehr Nature Center Trails

Explore the diverse trails offered by the Wehr Nature Center, catering to hikers and bikers of all expertise levels with varying lengths and difficulties. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of pristine forests, prairies, and wetlands, maximizing your experience on Milwaukee’s mountain bike trails.

Numerous bike trails within the Wehr Nature Center vicinity cater to different skill levels. Beginners can enjoy the Family-Friendly trail loop, starting from the Amphitheater and traversing Mallard Lake, Woodland, and the Wetland to appreciate the richness of Wehr’s natural resources.

For more experienced bikers seeking a challenge, the Grassland Trail at Wehr Nature Center is ideal, featuring long slopes and gravel paths that surpass the difficulty of other trails in the area. Over five miles, Wehr Nature Center’s bike trails connect various communities, including Woodland, Oak Savanna, Prairie, Wetland, and Lake. While it may seem vast for a single-day exploration, the center is segmented into several bike routes, differing in distance and biking difficulty.

Opt for the Lake Loop Trail at Wehr Nature Center for a leisurely ride with an extended biking trail in Milwaukee. This 1.5-mile trail begins at Mallard Lake, guiding you through the base of the prairie. Alternatively, choose the Woodland Trail for a Milwaukee bike trail featuring more curved terrains. This 1-mile route is perfect for birdwatching and caters to moderate to advanced bikers.

Milwaukee Pierhead Lighthouse

Milwaukee Pierhead Lighthouse is one of the iconic Instagram spots in Milwaukee, WI, and one of the best lighthouses in Wisconsin. Located where Milwaukee Rivers flows into Lake Michigan, you can pass this lighthouse through some more extensive Milwaukee bike trails.

Alternatively, you can also start your bike rides in Milwaukee, starting from Milwaukee Art Museum to the iconic lighthouse in Wisconsin. While there’s always an option to take the longer biking trails Milwaukee offers, like the Oak Leaf Trail or Hank Aaron State Trail, you can also arrange biking from the Milwaukee Art Museum to the lighthouse for under 3 miles.

The ride is relatively flat and easy, and a designated bike path runs along the lakefront, making it suitable for beginners. With great views of the lake and the city along the way, this is one of the most popular Milwaukee bike paths for locals and tourists.

The distance between the Milwaukee Art Museum and the pierhead lighthouse is around 1.5 miles, so it won’t take more than 45 minutes to get from the start to the end of the trail.

Hoyt Park Trail

Tailored for beginners in hiking and biking, the Hoyt Park Trail introduces some challenging elements not commonly found in other Milwaukee bike trails. Meandering through lush greenery alongside the Menomonee River, it promises an enjoyable biking experience amid the scenic beauty of Wisconsin.

The well-maintained and predominantly flat Hoyt Park Trail offers various bike paths in Milwaukee, catering to different lengths and difficulties. This diversity allows riders to select routes that align with their biking experience levels. Beyond the trails within Hoyt Park, it serves as a hub connecting to significant trail systems, including the Oak Leaf Trail and Menomonee River Parkway Trail.

For those inclined to explore further, extending the ride along these more extensive trails offers an opportunity to immerse in the best of Milwaukee fully. Situated in Wauwatosa, approximately 5 miles from downtown Milwaukee, Hoyt Park spans around 189 acres, with the trail’s total length measuring about 3.2 miles.

Depending on the chosen bike trail around Hoyt Park, riders can typically complete the park’s course in 3 to 4 hours, allowing for a comprehensive biking experience.

Jackson Park Loop

Situated in the southern part of the city, Jackson Park Loop is a popular destination for biking in Milwaukee, WI. The loop trail features a wide, paved trail that winds through the public park and offers scenic views of the green spaces, trees, and water features.

The Jackson Park Loop is open year-round and popular for several outdoor activities, from walking and biking to rollerblading. The trail is relatively easy for bikers of all levels, as it’s located in a park setting, so you don’t have to deal with vehicular traffic compared to most Milwaukee bike trails.

The park also has self-guide signs and arrows to help bikers follow the trail quickly. The Jackson Park Loop is around 2.5 miles long, and you can complete the trail loop in 1 or 2 hours.

While the path is relatively easy for novice bikers, follow trail etiquette and stay aware of your surroundings to prevent the unexpected.

Menomonee River Bike Trail

The Menomonee River Trail stands out as one of the premier Milwaukee bike trails, gaining particular acclaim for Three Bridges Park, where a series of bridges gracefully spans the river. Immerse yourself in the scenic beauty along the trail, offering river views amid lush greenery and numerous picturesque spots for capturing memorable photos.

Compared to more expansive trails like the Hank Aaron State Trail or Oak Leaf Trail, the Menomonee River Bike Trail is generally considered easier. The path, primarily paved through wooded areas, presents a mix of gentle hills and moderately challenging rough terrains, especially for those new to biking in Milwaukee.

To ensure a comfortable ride, it’s advisable to equip yourself with suitable gear and bring ample water and snacks for a leisurely journey through the Menomonee River. Covering approximately 5.5 miles, the Menomonee River Bike Trail seamlessly interconnects with the larger Oak Leaf Trail, offering the option to extend your bike rides and explore additional Milwaukee bike trails.

Ice Age Trail

One of the longest Milwaukee bike trails, Ice Age Trail is a national scenic trail that runs for over 1,000 miles following the path of the last glacier that covered the state of Wisconsin. Being one of the national scenic trails, the Ice Age Trail is intended to provide a challenging and rewarding outdoor experience compared to other Milwaukee bike trails.

You should be prepared for a range of conditions as the difficulty of bike trails may vary depending on which section you choose for biking in Milwaukee. Some sections around the Ice Age Trail are relatively manageable, with gentle grades and well-maintained bike paths.

However, some other areas are considered more challenging, with steep climbs and rocky terrain along the trail. The Ice Age Trail is more famous for hiking, but some portions are also open for biking. The Lapham Peak is the most popular section for biking, with over 17 miles of Milwaukee mountain bike trails.

It covers several loops that wind through the scenic forest and suits riders of all skill levels. This network of trails offers 15 miles of single-track mountain bike trails in Wisconsin. The latter is more suitable for more experienced bikers as it runs through the forested hills and valleys of the Kettle Moraine region.

Dineen Park Loop

The Dineen Park Loop offers a delightful biking experience in Milwaukee, catering to leisurely rides and quick workouts. The convenience of completing multiple laps around the park in a short timeframe makes it an ideal choice. The trail is fully paved, predominantly flat, and exceptionally beginner-friendly.

Throughout the trail, various benches and picnic tables provide perfect spots to take a break and relax amid your biking escapades in Milwaukee. The Dineen Park Loop is 1.8 miles long, requiring approximately 30 minutes to complete.

The loop around Dineen Park is not only accessible but also disability-friendly, featuring a spacious green area for enhanced enjoyment. Check out our blog to discover more outdoor Milwaukee adventures!
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About Streetcar Flats

Streetcar Flats is Downtown Milwaukee’s Newest apartment community located at 828 N Broadway. Streetcar Flats incorporates modern luxuries with the vintage charm of our hundred-year-old landmark building. What was once the Underwriter’s Exchange Building is now Streetcar Flats, your future home in Downtown Milwaukee, perfectly located along The Hop’s M-Line, Milwaukee’s new streetcar system. 

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