Ride the Gandy Dancer Trail in Wisconsin This Fall

Posted: Thu-Sep-2022

There are plenty of great Wisconsin bike trails worth exploring this fall. In fact, this summer, we did a roundup of 24 of our favorite Wisconsin bike trails found in each region around the state. Though we think many of those would make exceptional rides this fall, there's one in particular that we'd like to call attention to: the Gandy Dancer Trail near St. Croix Falls.

The Gandy Dancer Trail is considered one of Wisconsin's most scenic bike trails. In total, the Gandy Dancer Trail stretches for 98 scenic miles through both Wisconsin and Minnesota. Whether you're an avid cyclist training for an event and need to log some miles or enjoy leisurely rides in the countryside, we know the Gandy Dancer Trail, among others, will be the perfect addition to your getaway.

Did you know that Wisconsin ranks as one of the best states for biking? It's partly thanks to our well-developed Rails to Trails Conservancy Program network. There are more than 90 Wisconsin bike trails, many of which are rail trails. Some trails, like the Elroy-Spart Trail, have earned national recognition, while others are lesser-known gems that travel through equally beautiful parts of the state. 

Biking truly is one of the best ways to get out and explore the diversity of Wisconsin, and there's no better time to do it than now. It's always a beautiful journey, but biking when fall colors in Wisconsin come to town transforms a captivating journey into an exquisite one. Partner with one of our unique Wisconsin Bed and Breakfasts, and get ready for a two-wheeled adventure you won't soon forget! 

Black Couple enjoying a fall ride on the Gandy Dancer Trail and other Wisconsin Bike Trails

Ride the Gandy Dancer Trail in Wisconsin This Fall

The Gandy Dancer Trail is located in the northwestern region of Wisconsin, near the picturesque town of St. Croix Falls. The southern segment of the Gandy Dancer Trail travels for 47 scenic miles in Wisconsin. It starts in St. Croix Falls at Interstate State Park and continues south through the communities of Centuria, Milltown, Luck, Frederick, Siren, and Webster, before ending at the Minnesota Border n the town of Danbury.

We recommend crossing into Minnesota at this point, as it allows you to cross a beautiful 520-foot trestle bridge over the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. If you're up for more riding or perhaps have more days to explore, you can continue on the northern segment of the Gandy Dancer Trail into Minnesota. You'll continue on the Minnesota side of the river for 31 miles before crossing the river back into Wisconsin for another 15 miles, ending just south of Superior, Wisconsin. 

Like all state-maintained Wisconsin bike trails, a State Trail Pass is required to bike the Gandy Dancer Trail. These daily passes are just $5, or you can purchase an annual pass that covers all access to state trails for $25. 

If you're in the area riding the Gandy Dancer Trail, here are a few other nearby Wisconsin bike trails to consider this fall: 

  • Old Abe State Trail near Chippewa Falls is a relatively flat trail, as most old rail trails are, and winds its way through agricultural and forest land and along the beautiful Chippewa River.
  • Chippewa River State Trail near Eau Claire also navigates along the Chippewa River and takes riders across various habitats, including prairies, sandstone bluffs, and wetlands.

Great places to stay near these trails include the following Inns: Inn on Lake Wissota in Chippewa Falls; The Cobblestone Bed and Breakfast in Birchwood; Phipps Inn Bed and Breakfast in Hudson

Woman Enjoying a fall day on the Gandy Dancer Trail, one of the best Wisconsin Bike Trails for fall

10 More Wisconsin Bike Trails to Ride This Fall

  1. The Elroy-Sparta State Trail in Sparta, built in 1965 and the first of the popular rails-to-trails program, is one of the most popular Wisconsin bike trails, and for a good reason. The trail is famous for its three intact rock tunnels, each over 140 years old.
  2. Great River State Trail offers incomparable views of the backwater areas of the Mississippi River and extraordinary opportunities for bird watching along the Mississippi Flyway. 
  3. The Badger State Trail starts in Madison and heads south to the Illinois border, passing farmlands, woods, rolling hills, scenic meadows, and plenty of small rural communities along the way. One of the most popular features on the trail is a 1,200-foot tunnel, unique in that it curves in the middle so you can't see the opposite end of the tunnel as you enter it.
  4. The Capital City State Trail in Madison offers a beautiful way to tour the city and connects up to many other trails in the area for extended trips. 
  5. Riding along the Wild Goose State Trail near Horicon Marsh is one of the best ways to experience the Marsh and enjoy the 250+ bird species found in this area.
  6. Glacial Drumlin State Trail offers 52 miles of trails between Wisconsin's two biggest urban areas, Madison and Waukesha (just outside of Milwaukee). Don't forget to stop and take a selfie at Rock Lake Bridge near Lake Mills. As you move out of the city, there are plenty of ponds, rivers, and marshes to enjoy, along with the variety of wildlife that calls them home.
  7. Kettle Morain State Forest - Northern Unit near West Bend is a lovely area renowned for its scenic natural beauty and is home to incredible biodiversity. 
  8. Ahnapee State Trail, in Door County, starts in downtown Sturgeon Bay and goes south to the charming lakeside town of Algoma. The habitats you'll encounter here include evergreen glades, farmland, and prairies, which are positively brimming with wildlife and native wildflowers.
  9. Mountain-Bay State Trail, starting at Rib Mountain State Park in Wausau, is one of the longest rail trails in Wisconsin, ending in Green Bay.
  10. Nine Mile County Forest Recreation Area in Wausau is one of the most popular areas for hiking and biking in the Wausau area. The area also hosts several mountain bike races throughout the year.

Scenic fall views on the GAndy Dancer Trail and other Wisconsin bike Trails

Best Places to Stay in Wisconsin This Fall

Thankfully, many top-rated Wisconsin bike trails are conveniently located near some of the top places to stay in Wisconsin, too. Our fabulous collection of  Inns, each dedicated to exceptional hospitality, truly offers the best of Wisconsin. Whether you're just looking for a casual bike ride through some beautiful scenery or want to ride one or more of these Wisconsin bike trails end to end, know you'll have a comfortable place to put your feet up at the end of the day. 

Just as each destination in Wisconsin is unique, you'll find that each of our Bed and Breakfasts offers a unique piece of Wisconsin. Our Inns provide an incredible range of lodging, from urban and contemporary to rural and historic. Only one thing is guaranteed, and that is an authentic experienced catered to you with exceptional hospitality. As you step across the threshold at one of our member Inns, you'll see and feel the difference. 

There's a reason, so many Wisconsin Bed and Breakfasts are ranked as the best places to stay in Wisconsin. Our Inns offer a delightful alternative to impersonal hotel chains. We take pleasure in the small details, including greeting you with a warm smile, offering you suggestions for your preferred activities, and preparing a fresh and delicious breakfast for you each morning of your stay. The small things, after all, make a huge difference. 

Are you ready to hit the trails with us this fall? From the Gandy Dancer Trail in the north to the Badger State Trail in the south, we can't wait to ride with you! Book a room at one of the best Wisconsin Bed and Breakfasts today. 


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