The rails-to-trails cycling system in Wisconsin, with more than 80 trails of paved and limestone-surfaced former railroad corridors, is the envy of many states who like to brag about their outdoor recreation. Then there’s Wisconsin’s mountain bike system, with the biggest challenges coming from the narrow-width trails built to the standards of the International Mountain Biking Association.
In the last few years, Wisconsin B&B owners have been seeing more and more guests arriving with custom bikes and spending their time taking on challenging routes. Could be they’re in training for a race or are a more seasoned cyclist looking to conquer the next hilliest route. Either way, the surge in B&B visitors with determination to make the most of their two-wheeled-centric getaway and leave with bona fide bragging rights is on the rise. Here are 10 B&Bs around the state that offer bicycling enthusiasts a mix of pack-and-go breakfast, bike parking and repairs, shuttle service, and environmentally friendly accommodations. Doesn’t hurt that many of the innkeepers are avid bicyclists themselves.
For details on all 10 inns, visit our website at www.WisconsinBandB.com.
B&Bs for Cycling Road Warriors
#1 – Stewart Inn, Wausau This architecturally significant property designed by George Maher, one of the founders of the American Arts and Crafts movement, is very near Rib Mountain, making for a good ending spot after riding the 83-mile Mountain-Bay State Trail between Green Bay and Rib Mountain. Every guest suite has its own luxury steam shower to ease overworked muscles. On a side note, Sylvan Hill Park single track mountain bike trails are nearby too, where the downhill options are, in a word, thrilling.
#2 – Fountain Chateau, Hustler Hop on the Omaha Trail right outside the front door of this inn and pedal to the world-famous Elroy-Sparta State Trail, the county’s first rail-to-trail with three tunnels along the route, each over 140 years old. This inn is Travel Green Wisconsin-certified, a selling point for cyclists looking to leave a light footprint.
#3 – Hidden Serenity B&B, West Bend Jump on the Eisenbahn State Trail (fun fact – “eisenbahn” is German for railroad) and bike 25 miles. On day two, hike a segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Still have energy left? Walk the on-site trails, play tennis or pickleball on the property’s private court, or round up other guests for a pick-up basketball game.
B&Bs for Cycling Competitors
#4 – Cameo Rose Victorian Country Inn, Madison Bike the country roads here and you’ll be covering the same route as competitors in the Ironman Wisconsin. If you’re riding in the Horribly Hilly Hundreds, June 15, consider Cameo Rose an ideal lodging choice, with a hearty, four-course homemade breakfast – special diets and early timing easily accommodated – and a bike shed right on property.
Insider tips: Pick up the 40-mile long Badger State Trail and pedal through the 1,200-foot long Stewart Tunnel where a flashlight is needed to light the way. Mountain bikers looking for a challenge should get to Blue Mound State Park in Blue Mound, the highest point in southern Wisconsin at 1,719 feet of elevation.
#5 – Justin Trails Resort, Sparta Sign up for the Ride Across Wisconsin, Aug. 16-18, with a new route that takes riders from La Crosse to Green Bay and with one- and two-day options. Start by spending a night or two before at Justin Trails Resort near La Crosse, where they’ll garage your bikes and serve you a health-conscious breakfast featuring local, organic and sustainable foods. One more idea since you’re just a half-hour from La Crosse, and that’s to tackle the La Crosse Area Bicycle Festival, Labor Day weekend, with some challenging routes including the Cheddarman 76.4 with its 68 small rises or “rollers.”
#6 – Brayton B&B, Oshkosh Luxury linens, fluffy robes, homemade desserts in the evening, yes, please, especially if you’ve just returned from tackling the 88-mile Race the Lake around Lake Winnebago, Aug. 25. This downtown inn puts you within walking distance of restaurants where you can toast to your accomplishment.
B&Bs for Serious Mountain Bikers
#7 – Rochester Inn, Sheboygan Falls The southern unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest is the draw for cyclists staying here, with 30 miles of trails offering some of the best off-road biking in the Midwest. In-room breakfast service featuring locally-sourced ingredients turns out to be an ideal way to fuel up for the day.
#8 – Old Rittenhouse Inn, Bayfield The Rock Lake Trail, part of the Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association, earned an “Epic” designation from the International Mountain Biking Association. Conquer the trail, then head 60 minutes north to this inn which overlooks Lake Superior. Make it a friends trip, with 20 guest rooms at this B&B to house everyone. Add some paddling to your pedaling getaway when you kayak the Apostle Islands.
#9 – Inn at Wawanissee Point, Baraboo The magnificent topography surrounding this villa-style B&B attracts mountain bicyclists in search of serious training tracks. Right next door is Devil’s Head Resort, a ski destination in the winter and a challenging mountain biking spot come warm weather. At nearby Devil’s Lake State Park, eight miles of off-road bike trails pack a punch.
#10 – Hamilton House, Whitewater The innkeepers here have bikers’ needs covered, with repair essentials and covered storage. The John Muir Trails single-track trail system in the Kettle Moraine State Forest serves up hills and kettle-like depressions. Translation, this is tough riding that may not be for everyone but would be perfect for riders looking for challenging, technical riding.
Other Cycling Resources
For more ride ideas in the bikeable Badger State, check out www.rideonwisconsin.com.
Visit a Wisconsin B&B Association member inn during Wisconsin Bike Week, June 2-9, to log some serious miles, bikeweek.wisconsinbikefed.org.
Travel Wisconsin’s state biking guide provides a near exhaustive chronicling of trail suggestions and biking events.
Written and Submitted By:
Carla Minsky, Communications
Cell 920.979.3420 | email@example.com