John Muir Trails - Trail, La Grange, Wisconsin

John Muir Trails - Trail, La Grange, Wisconsin

DESCRIPTION

Mostly single track trails and fast paced ride. This is one of my favorite trails. This trail demands attention, and constant gear shifting. Unlike in the west where I find myself climbing in the lowest gear, I find myself in the Big Chain ring here. Fast paced to avoid being passed and calculate when to pass! The scenery is worth the drive by itself. The trail is located in a depression created by nature during the ice age. Tree's tower over the trail. Watch your speed, the rangers are actively inspecting for trail/ parking passes. Man This is awesome. Email me if you have any questions. I live in the west.

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 86  
[Jul 04, 2013]
thepasser
Cross Country Rider

I'm from SoCal, and know only crazy steep climbing, with sick, gravity fed downhill awesomeness, but I have only a few bad things to say about this place. Most of what I say is good, though.

The bad: No climbs worth even mentioning. If you're like me and thrive on a but-kicking, gruel of a climb, then this place is not for you. Although an ideal place for families to get their exercise on, their trail blocking skills are mad sick, and it gets a little out of hand if you have the need for speed. Pick an uncrowded time.

The good: Compared to the dusty, stony, crumbling dirt in Cali, it's like heaven in that part of the country. The almost-black, sticky dirt is like riding on rubber, and when you consider how well the trails are maintained there's some really fun shredding to be had on these trails.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
1
[Mar 14, 2013]
anthonythall
Weekend Warrior

During the open season, I ride the John Muir trails once a weekend unless I'm out of town. For Wisconsin and ease of access, I think it's a great setup. It can definitely get busy but I've never actually have had a bad run in with people, everyone is very friendly and allow you to pass if you're moving fast. One huge benefit is how well the kettles drain- unless it's raining during your ride (if this happens, please step off your bike and walk it!) it's open.

I hear what other people are saying about pulling out some of the challenging sections and the steep uphills. While fun, they really erode the soil from the heavy use these trails get which is a bummer (and why you'll see those weird astroturf mats in certain areas). Something for everyone here!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[Apr 22, 2012]
shockrebuild
Cross Country Rider

Was just there with my family today. I have ridden there for 12 years or so, and have always enjoyed it. My wife and two daughters went 10 and 13 yrs old for the first time. I also agree that we lost two nice technical climbs over the years which made me sad, and there are plenty of family friendly loops there for all to enjoy. My wife and girls both loved it, and everyone was very friendly. Keep up the good work, but please do take away any more technical uphills/downhills,etc.

Similar Products Used:

CAM 3

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
[Apr 11, 2012]
mtbman007
Cross Country Rider

I've been riding these trails since 1990, when I got my first mountain bike. They are far easier now than back then; although the blue trail has gotten longer. There are no granny gear climbs in the Muir system, or even the connector. The Emma Carlin does have a few though. It seems that through the years great efforts have been made to make this trail system more family-friendly. The best and toughest (and only) granny climb was shut down and gated off years ago and never re-opened. There was a nice series of roller-coaster downhills where one could really get some good speed, but they have also been eliminated.
I'm not bashing the newer improvements made in the last several years, but I am quite disappointed with some of the re-routes and eliminations of climbs and downhills. There is a lot of trailwork done here every year, and it's all volunteer and very well organized. I would have to say that they do an excellent job and have probably had to make some unpopular decisions based on novice riders getting injured in some of the more tricky sections. I am trying not to be overly critical of these changes since a lot of good people have put a lot of their own sweat into working on the Muir trails and frankly, I am not one of them. I hope to actually get in there myself and lend them a hand soon.
There is a lot of traffic on these trails, particularly on weekends, so your best bet is to ride early on the weekend or during the week.
I ride these trails at least once a week in season, and will continue to do so since I live only 15 or so miles away. Is it worth a three hour drive? I would have to say no, unless you're coming from Chicago area.
I would also have to say that I am hoping that there are no more changes made this year to make my ride easier, just a suggestion. I'd be interested in reading what some of the other riders think who've been riding these trails for 20 plus years as well. And to the person who complains about the weeds overgrowing the trail, perhaps you should stick to the road. Either that or give the trailwork people a hand and trim it yourself.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
[Apr 10, 2012]
Xcal22
Cross Country Rider

Fast and rolling with good features. They also recently added a short but fun skills section right off the parking lot which is a nice warm up. It is also close to Milwauakee.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
[Jun 27, 2010]
biker1
Cross Country Rider


Emma carlin is more challenging than the John Muir trails. You have climbs, rocks, roots, sand switchbacks etc... We do about a 17 mile ride and are challenged every time. There is one spot there is four climbs in a row-I feel this is a great training course for pushing yourself. We start on a side road on connector trail. Take bug spray with!!!

Customer Service

Drive past the parking lot for the john muir when coming from the bike shop in Lagrange and turn at the first right. Park where trail crosses rode and head away from John Muir once on your bike. Bike all the way to Emma Carlin parking lot.

Similar Products Used:

Crystal Ridge in Franklin is really a great trail. New loop this year.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[Jun 26, 2010]
gogeego@gmail.com
Cross Country Rider

What a spectacular job the volunteer trail builders have done in the last two years. The trails have gone from portions that are wider than a Mack Truck to highly technical single track to the point where you have to twist your handle bars to get through trees at some points. The dreaded erosion mats from the past are gone.

The variety of trails is fantastic. Novice riders have the red/now brown trail to ride scaling up to green, blue, connector, Emma Carlin. It still baffles me that novices show-up in hybrids with no helmets. Definitely need more signage at trail heads warning people to wear proper head gear.

My last comment is for another recent reviewer. They were complaining about weeds encroaching on the trail. Are you kidding me? You are in the woods in rural Wisconsin not Michigan Avenue for Pete's Sake. Get back in your Range Rover (with never used 4WD) and head back to the city.

Customer Service

Connector to Emma

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[Apr 13, 2010]
Jeffro
Cross Country Rider

This is a single track XC mountain bike course.

Lots of reviewers have ridden this course once or twice and concluded that it is aerobically easy and not technical. This is only true of certain loops on the system, there are more challenging sections that most riders avoid. I should point out that I ride a single speed; so, the course seems harder to me than it does to the gear heads.

The John Muir side of the park is fast and swoopy with scattered punchy climbs and even a few burmed downhills. I would call the John Muir side an easy to intermediate course. This is the part of the trail system most people ride, but I would recomend you ride everything but John Muir if you need a challenge.

The connector trail is much hairier and it connects to the more challenging, albeit shorter, Emma Carlin trail system.

The connector trail is relatively flat, but often overgrown and poorly groomed. I prefer this because it scares off the roadies and the kids. The connector trail will leave you scratched up from thorn bushes and you will test your bunny hopping skills over downed trees. The connector is sandy and has a lot of churning sections.

The Emma Carlin side offers the hardest climbing by far. The four mile green loop will make you climb ridiculously steep grades with stops along the county's higest points. The Emma Carlin red loop offers the fastest downhill, while the most technical downhill on the orange loop takes the rider through switchbacks in a dicey rock garden.

Both the connector trail and the Northern Emma Carlin section of the trail system have had improvements and new sections added during 2008 and more work has begun on the Emma Carlin side already in 2009.

Customer Service

Emma Carlson green loop and connector

Similar Products Used:

Alpha Trails, Hoyt Park

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[May 16, 2009]
StJamesG
Cross Country Rider

Killer trail. Very fast, with perfectly laid-out corners and uphill/downhill transitions. This is a flowy, usually-in-the-middle-ring, hardtail type trail. Very little technical content, however.

This trail was clearly laid out by a mountain biker who wants to minimize hitting the brakes and maintain a high average speed. In general, you scrub off speed only by going uphill or by holding a line in a corner.

I rode the blue and white loops and I'd say these trails are worth a 2hr drive or so.

This trail reminds me a bit of Tsali, NC.

Customer Service

Blue loop and white loop are all I tried.

Similar Products Used:

na

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
2
[Nov 28, 2008]
browsielover
Cross Country Rider

It's been about a year since this trail has been reviewed here, so I figure it's time...
The guys working this trail (with some input from IMBA) are doing an excellent job. The trails have remained FAST with good flow and due to some smart re-routing, are now more sustainable (sorry to reviewer below for taking away some faster DHs). These trails support an amazing traffic flow, attracting all kinds of riders from all over major metro areas (Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison + others). In addition, they host a couple races a year and amazingly, they stay in great condition. This is not by luck. Extensive volunteer efforts with some state maintenance procedures have combined to offer up some really great trails. The best conditions are early and late season. Mid summer overgrowth might take away a bit of the fun and speed - especially on the "connector". Trails will CLOSE due to wet conditions, so call ahead for current trail conditions: Trail Hotline: 262 594 6202.
All one-way trails, no horses or horse crap, no power vehicles and very few hikers (they know better) help add to overall fun.
Ratings below are depending on what you put in. If you ride lazy, you won't benefit from how fast/fun these trails are when you're on the gas.

Customer Service

Blue is fast - hammer down - 43min - ave speed 15.00 mph
Epic - Blue/connector/emma green and connector back. Despite what you may have read below, you CAN hammer the connector - it just takes some good bike handling skills and confidence. It also helps to be a local and know where every rock/root/tree is. Epic: 1:59min fast riding.
Hit the inner loops for some more technical climbs over rock gardens, etc.

Similar Products Used:

Not much else around here. Head north to Wausau (9mile) or Levis Trow for some more excellent midwest riding

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Showing 1-10 of 86  

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