Description - The 40-mile Badger State Trail runs along the former railroad line of the Illinois Central Gulf. When completed the trail will extend from Madison, Wisconsin to Freeport, Illinois. The multi-use corridor passes through Fitchburg, Belleville, Monticello, and Monroe. Trail connectors include the Capital City (Fitchburg), Sugar River (Monticello), Cheese Country (Monroe), and Ice Age trails.
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has begun the master plan process for the portion between the Madison city limits and the Illinois state line. DNR will seek public comments and explore partnership opportunities with local communities, counties, and the state of Illinois to provide seamless connections.
Funding has been requested for the 2001-2003 biennium so the trail can be opened for snowmobiling and hiking. The DNR 6-year plan has the tunnel south of Belleville scheduled for repairs in the 2003-2005 biennium and the biking surfacing scheduled for 2005-2007.
- The portion of the new Badger State Trail within the City of Madison (known in the city as the Southwest Path) is open and in excellent condition.
At the corner of the path and Midvale Boulevard, a bison sculpture was dedicated on July 27, 2003. Sculpture includes an adult and young bison, a sundial and a semicircular stone seating area.
For more information about the master planning process, ask Dana White-Quam, 608- 275-3302.
For more information about snowmobiling on the trail, ask Steve Colden , 608-527-2335.
Recreation - As of this writing, the trail is presently open for touring biking in the City of Madison.
Climate - Southeast Wisconsin has four distinct seasons with warm summers and long winters. January's average temperature is above 16 degrees F (-9 degrees C). Average July temperature is 85 degrees F (29 degrees C). During summer, temperatures can climb to above 90 degrees F (32 degrees C). The area's average yearly precipitation ranges from 32-34". Annual snowfalls in the Southeast Region can range from 20 - 50". Dressing in layers is a good way to remain comfortable in Wisconsin.
When completed the Badger State Trail will extend from Madison, Wisconsin to Freeport, Illinois passing through Fitchburg, Belleville, Monticello, and Monroe.