Kettle Moraine State Forest—Southern Unit Trail descriptions
The Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest has more than 160 miles of trails, varying in difficulty, length and permitted uses. Steep climbs or descents are common. Parking lots are provided throughout the forest. All terrain vehicles (ATVs) are not allowed on Southern Unit trails at any time.
Emma Carlin trail system
This trail system, on County Highway Z just south of State Highway 59, goes through a hardwood forest with mostly hilly terrain. Three color coded trails ranging from 2 to six miles. Parking, water, and vault toilets are available. The trails in this system are single-track mountain bike trails that are generally more difficult than the John Muir Trails. Trail map.
- Brown Loop, moderate, 2 miles: Skirt in and out of pines and hardwoods, pass a kettle lowland, then after joining up with the orange loop, proceed uphill along a moraine and back downhill to the trail head.
- Orange Loop, moderate/hard, 4 miles: Traverse the contours of the glacial geography, generally uphill to the scenic overlook where the Connector trail meets the Carlin trails. Then get ready for lots of ups and downs until meeting back with the brown loop.
- Green Loop, hard, 6 miles: This trail is continuous with the orange, until it splits off on the southern half of the loop. Here you are in for several difficult ups and downs.
John Muir trail system
On County Highway H north of the Town of La Grange and US Highway 12 and south of the Town of Palmyra, this is the most popular trail system within hundreds of miles. The John Muir Bike Trails are single-track, mountain bike trails that are rough, natural surface trails. Five different loops ranging from 1.25 miles to 12 miles. Parking, water, and vault toilets are available. Trail map.
- Brown Loop, easy, 1.25 miles: Mostly flat trail with some small rolling hills; two moderate uphill climbs, one fast downhill, and a little rocky ending.
- White Loop, moderate, 4.25 miles: Moderate hills, some rocky trail sections; one long downhill, one fast steep downhill, and one moderate uphill before reconnecting with the brown loop.
- Rainy Dew Bypass (purple), hard, 4.7 miles: Moderate trail with a hard rocky up and down hill before reconnecting with the Blue/Green Loops.
- Orange Loop, moderate/hard, 5.0 miles: The first half of the trail is the white loop. Includes moderate trail with a hard, long up-hill before reconnecting with the brown loop.
- Green Loop, hard/more difficult, 7.0 miles: Moderate trail with very rocky and sandy trail sections; many hard ups and downs, with many fast sections.
- Blue Loop, hard/most difficult, 12.0 miles: Hard trail with very rocky section, many hard up hills and several fast down hills.
- Skills Course: a very short course to practice trail skills.