Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Red Cedar State Trail runs along scenic river

Red Cedar State Trail at Downsville, Wis.
Among the hiking gems of west-central Wisconsin is the Red Cedar State Trail, an old railroad grade turned multi-purpose trail.

The wide, fairly level trail hugs the scenic Red Cedar River, passing weeping walls and bald eagles nests along the way. Running 14.5 miles one-way, the trail is too long to enjoy via a day hike. But with its many access points, the trail can be done in segments.

Trailheads (from north to south) for the Red Cedar State Trail include:
Menomonie – The northern terminus of the trail is in Menomonie’s Riverside park off of Wis. Hwy. 29. Park next to the old train depot turned visitor center. The trail heads 2.7 miles south to Irvington.
Irvington – Access the trail from the parking lot off of Paradise Valley Road immediately north of County Road D/440th Avenue in Irvington. The trail runs north to Menomonie’s Riverside Park and 4.3 miles south to Downsville.
Downsville – Parking is in Downsville off of County Road C east of Wis. Hwy. 25. The trail can be taken north under the bridge and over the river to Irvington or 6.7 miles south to the Dunnville Bottoms.
Dunnville Bottoms – The trail crosses County Road Y at the Dunnville Road intersection. Parking is available directly across the river; you’ll have to walk along the county road bridge to the trail access. The trail heads north to Downsville and 0.9 miles south to the Chippewa River State Trail.

The trail ends with a scenic bridge crossing of the Chippewa River and junction with the Chippewa River State Trail. The shortest route to this bridge is via the Dunnville Bottoms access, but parking lots also are available in Durand’s Tarrant Park and in Meridean along the Chippewa River State Trail.

Learn about trail guidebooks available in the Hittin’ the Trail series.