Information on:

Military Ridge State Trail

4350 Mounds Park Rd

The 40-mile Military Ridge State Trail, in Iowa and Dane counties, connects Dodgeville and Madison by way of an 1855 military route between Verona and Dodgeville. The trail runs along the southern borders of Governor Dodge and Blue Mound state parks passing by agricultural lands, woods, wetlands and prairies. There are several observation platforms adjacent to the trail for viewing wildlife and other natural features. In Ridgeway, the trail passes by a historic railroad depot.

Most of the trail follows the former Chicago and North Western Railroad corridor, which has a gentle grade of only 2 to 5 percent. Between Dodgeville and Mount Horeb it runs along the top of the Military Ridge, the divide between the Wisconsin River watershed to the north and the Pecatonica and Rock River watershed to the south. Between Mount Horeb and Fitchburg, the trail goes through the Sugar River Valley.

The Military Ridge State Trail is near the connection of the Capital City and Badger state trails in Fitchburg. There's also a new 6-mile trail, the Shake Rag Trail, along US Highway 151 between Dodgeville and Mineral Point.


Ray Maslak

Thursday, July 12, 2018
If you are ever in Madison (Wisconsin) and looking for a scenic place to hike or run, check out the Military Ridge State Trail which runs for 40 miles connecting Madison and Dodgeville,by utilizing the 1855 military route beginning in Verona. It runs along the borders of Governor Dodge and Blue Mound state parks and passes agricultural lands, woods, wetlands and prairies. Along the route in Verona specifically, you'll find "Epic Intergalactic Headquarters"... home to the #1 brand of electronic medical records system used by hospitals and clinics throughout the country... an absolutely amazing facility filled with enormous, themed buildings. I personally run between 3-6 miles on average so I could never possibly cover the entire trails length, but I found it to be a smooth and picturesque... I'd love to revisit one day. To add a little history... In 1880, the Chicago and Tomah Railway Company constructed a railroad line along Military Ridge, a natural ridge that is the divide between the watersheds of the Wisconsin River to the north and the Pecatonica and Rock Rivers to the south. It became a natural means of transportation for Native Americans, European explorers, lead miners, soldiers, and early settlers due to it's gentle grade and visibility. After receiving investments from the communities along the Military Ridge in exchange for promises to build and maintain depots in the communities, the Chicago and North Western Railroad acquired the Chicago and Tomah Railway Company. The first train travelled the line in the fall of 1881 with many more to follow, helping the local communities and farms to grow and prosper. The advent of personal automobiles and subsequently the modern highway system greatly reduced the number of passengers and freight travelling by rail. On July 1, 1954, passenger service was discontinued from Madison westward followed by various other sections over the next quarter century. On August 24, 1983 the master plan was approved for development of a recreational trails along the abandoned railway lines. The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board approved this purchase and soon after the public trail was development for bicycling, hiking, snowmobiling, and cross country skiing. Along the route, Epic's Judith R Faulkner chose in 2005 to move its headquarters from Madison, Wisconsin to a new campus in Verona where it employs more than 9,500 people. On reaching Verona there is an exit from the trail where you can deviate to see the Epic campus for a total of 1-1.5 additional miles. On approach you'll find the "Epic Intergalactic Headquarters" sign and know that you are in the right place. The Farm campus in particular is scenic, with breathtaking views especially around sunset. You'll notice as you job down it's roads that there are hardly any vehicles visible which is due to the facilities underground parking garages. Jogging through the facility you'll notice a great many perks that the employees enjoying including a treehouse and campfire meeting locations.

Beth Ann

Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017
Awesome trail kept safe and clean. Lot's of challenges but miles of a nice ride.

Paul Smith

Saturday, Sep. 16, 2017
Among my favorite trails. There are good natural prairie areas, woods, interesting towns. It's a climb to get to Mount Horeb from the east - you can coast for about a mile on the way back, though. The part after Barneveld (going west) isn't as interesting as the eastern portion.

Dileep K

Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017
This is one of the best bike trails near Madison. It is connected to other trails going towards downtown. There is huge parking lot in Verona where the trail head is.

Mary Kay Baum

Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017
People on the Friends of Military Ridge State Trail care about the land and the people using the trail. A great way to exercise in nature and get somewhere.

Military Ridge State Trail is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media