Bicycling Weekend

Enjoy a weekend of biking on trails through some of the most beautiful parts of the state! The Elroy-Sparta State Trail is the very first rails-to-trails conversion in the United States which is why Sparta is deemed the Bicycling Capital of America. Come to see why thousands bike the trail every year!

Day 1:

9:30 – arrive at Speed’s Bicycle Shop to ride the Elroy-Sparta State Bike Trail. Shuttle to Elroy and then ride to Wilton. Speed’s Bicycle Shop provides top quality bikes, bike parts and accessories, shuttles, and bike rentals for cyclists and their families. www.speedsbike.com (608) 269-2315.

12:30 – lunch at the Dorset Valley School Restaurant, a beautifully remodeled one-room schoolhouse with oak hardwood floors, lots of antiques, and Amish made custom tables and chairs. On the top of the former schoolhouse rests the original 300-pound school bell. If you clean your plate, you can ring the bell! (888) 435-6525.

1:30 – continue your biking trek to Sparta, traveling through the remaining two historic railroad tunnels, one of which is three-quarters of a mile long. Don’t forget flashlights and a light jacket since the tunnel is dark, cool and wet from dripping condensation.

4:30 – check into one of Sparta’s hotels conveniently located nearby.

6:00 – enjoy a casual, upscale dining experience at Jake’s Northwoods Restuarant. All their food is cooked to order with only the freshest ingredients. Experience their excellent service and northwood’s themed decor. www.jakesnorthwoods.com (608) 269-6464.

7:30- finish your day with a sunset stroll across Sparta’s Community Bridges, including the Beaver Creek Covered Bridge, Mary Morrow Bridge, the Pointe Covered Bridge, and the Ben Bikin’ Park Footbridge.

Day 2:

8:00 – breakfast at the Sparta Family Restaurant. Experience their wonderful service and a large menu full of hearty breakfast options. (608) 269-3500.

9:00 – grab your bikes again and take in the beautiful scenery on the La Crosse River State Trail! Shuttle to La Crosse and bike towards Sparta.

12:00 – lunch at the Vault Pub and Eatery in Rockland right off of the La Crosse River Trail. Have a tasty burger or pizza to refuel for the ride back to Sparta!

1:00 – stop in and visit the Deke Slayton Space and Bike Museum to see a fascinating display of unique items and Amerian ingenuity, from bicycling to space travel, a celebration of Sparta’s favorite son and Apollo astronaut Deke Slayton.

3:00 – arrive for a tour of the Wegner Grotto which stands in a quiet, tree-shaded patch of rural Sparta. The Wegner’s engulfed the grotto in color and light by decorating their concrete sculptures with a brilliant mosaic of shattered glass and broken crockery. Hidden within the thousands of sparkling shards are a number of curiosities.

6:00 – enjoy a fine dining experience at Club Oasis. A variety of dinner options and full bar are available. (608) 269-2644.

7:30 – take a walk through Memorial Park along Perch Lake and take in a beautiful sunset over the water.

Day 3:

8:30 – breakfast at Dorine’s Family Inn. Enjoy a variety of breakfast options all served to you with a smile in a welcoming environment. Grab a coffee or smoothie to go from Franklin Coffeehouse, also located downtown.

9:30 – head to Ellistone Canoe Rental for an adventure on the beautiful La Crosse River. Canoe from Sparta to Rockland. This trip will take you through one of the most scenic stretches of the La Crosse River. Ellistone Canoe Rental is the area’s premier outfitter and offers a variety of trip options. www.ellistonecanoerental.com (608) 343-5696.

1:00 – lunch at Silent Outdoors Bar and Grill, try out their famous buffalo and elk burgers! (608) 269-2600.

2:00 – try your hand at archery at Silent Outdoors Archery Pro Shop, an archery retailer that includes an indoor 30 range, indoor techno video hunt, outdoor 3D range and more. www.silentoutdoorssparta.com.

5:00 – enjoy some authentic Chicago-style pizza at Slice of Chicago. (608) 269-2181.