The route to Paoli, Wisconsin is one of the most popular among Madison cyclists. It’s a 28-mile round trip that offers just the right amount flat smooth roads with light automobile traffic and mildly challenging uphill climbs to keep it interesting.
What Makes It Great
Starting from Vilas Park the ride heads out through the UW Arboretum. Arboretum Drive is lined with trees whose canopy overhead provides a shady scenic path to ease you into the miles ahead. As you exit the Arboretum take a left onto Seminole Highway and go south up the first hill toward the Beltline freeway. You’ll be happy to know there is a well-marked bike lane to follow. But here is one of the few spots where you’ll encounter heavy car traffic so be careful as you ride past the onramp.
Once you cross the overpass, Seminole becomes a tidy little two-lane road that will take you through the town of Fitchburg. Within a few minutes you leave the city behind and find yourself in rolling countryside. Just after Lacy Road Seminole will cross the Capital City Bike Path where you can take a slight left hand turn to avoid the car traffic and enjoy a clear unobstructed trail. The path winds its way between large tracts of farmland on either side. A few houses here and there dot the landscape.
After 4 miles, The bike path stops abruptly in a T-intersection at Purcell Road. Take a left to the east and a immediate right onto Sayles Trail. In about 1.5 miles take another right at Sun Valley Parkway. In a little over a mile just over the Sugar River you’re in Paoli.
Now about 13 miles from where you started there’s a small park with a drinking fountain where you can refill your water bottle. Or you can stop in at the Paoli Pub and Grill for beer.
Who is Going to Love It
This ride has just the right amount of flat smooth roads with mildly challenging uphill climbs, making it great for just about any rider.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Start the ride at Vilas (Henry) Park at 1602 Vilas Park Drive.