Self-supported Bicycling in the Driftless Region

Self-supported Bicycling in the Driftless Region

Latest Updates

Get our Newsletter!

La Crosse Area Bicycle Festival

September 4-7, 2015

Register!
Route Descriptions

Bike Ride Guides

 

We’ve designed these routes to be ridden self-supported, either individually or in small groups, without the need of a tour guide or ride leader.  All are designed as loops, leaving from public parks or parking lots. Wherever possible, you’ll travel on low-traffic rural roads, or at least on roads with bike facilities.  To help you stay self-sufficient, we’ve marked optional stops every 25-30 miles at convenience stores or public parks.  The routes on this site are graded from “Easy” to “Difficult” to help you choose the appropriate level of challenge.  Images on Flickr help you preview the terrain.  And most importantly, we’ve created maps, elevation charts and cue sheets to let you navigate the route yourself.  Under each of the routes, click on the icon of the folded blue map to go to a shared Dropbox folder of printable PDFs and cue sheets.  Or click the “Ride with GPS” logo to go to a detailed route map — downloadable to computers, smartphones and GPS devices — with turn-by-turn directions, cue sheets, elevation profiles, photos, points of interest and GPX/TCX/KML files.  Ride on!

Our Terrain

Our rides zoom through the hills and bluffland surrounding the Mississippi and its tributaries.  These aren’t mountain ranges with hour-long climbs, but hills with overall grades ranging from 6-13% and short pitches of 15-20%. The good news is that all rides start in the river valley — at about 600 feet above sea level — so we have plenty of oxygen. And very few individual hill climbs have over 500 feet of elevation gain.  

Generally, we consider an elevation gain of 100-200 feet a small climb, 201-350 feet a moderate climb, and 351-500 feet a big climb. But be aware: since they might have a steep grade, even the smaller hills can still be very tough to climb.  Given such variety, it’s just as easy to create an easy ride with few hills as it is to map out a fiendish route that averages ten thousand feet of climbing every ten miles. We’ve created routes with both extremes, and everything in between.

The Driftless Region

There’s something special about the place where Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa meet. We call it the Driftless Region, where the Ice Age glaciers left untouched a cyclist’s playground of bluffs, ravines, coulees and lowlands on both sides of the Mississippi river.

The corrugated geography of the Driftless is overlaid with a network of smooth, low-traffic county byways, paved in the early-20th century “Good Roads” movement to connect dairy farmers with their markets. For much of the last decade, area cyclists and volunteers have worked with the La Crosse Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau to build a library of routes, with a variety of lengths and difficulties offering excitement and challenges for all levels of riders.

Generally starting from the river valley cities of La Crosse, Onalaska, and La Crescent, these routes venture into the bluffs and coulees of the surrounding Driftless region. Some of these counties have been described by Bicycling magazine as “the perfect getaway,” and “cycling nirvana, the American Dairyland edition. ”

 

Apple Blossom Loop 35 miles

ModerateGreat scenic loops starting with a big climb out of La Crescent along the scenic APPLE BLOSSOM DRIVE. If the timing is right you will be greeted with blossoming apple trees in the areas many orchards. After riding along one of the few bluff top roads that overlook the Mississippi river you descend into the Pine Creek Valley ( one of the areas many fine trout streams ) for the rolling ride back to La Crescent. Those opting for the longer route stay on top of the bluff longer and descend into the Root River valley before turning at Hokah for another big climb and more great bluff top riding before  descending into Brownsville for the return along the Mississippi river valley to La Crescent.

 

35 Miles

Ride with GPS

Apple Blossom Loop
Click for more images from Apple Blossom Loop on Flickr.
Baristas Epic Coffee Ride 43 miles
EasyMapEasy ride with five easy climbs. Great warm up across the Mississippi river and a scenic up and back on opposite sides of the flat bottomed Root River valley. The halfway point is BARISTAS COFFEE HOUSE a very bicycle friendly café with plenty of spots to lean your bike against and lots of outdoor seating.

Route (44 miles)

Ride with GPS

 Route (55 miles)

Ride with GPS

 

Baristas Epic Coffee Ride
Click for more images from Baristas Epic Coffee Ride on Flickr.
Brownsville- Hokah 32 mile loop
ModerateMapMostly easy ride with one moderately hard climb to the top of the ridge between Brownsville and Hokah MN. Start of ride crosses the Mississippi and follows the river valley to Brownsville where it turns inland and starts a steady climb to the top of the bluffs for a few miles before a fast sweeping downhill to Hokah. Those ready for a stop have a choice of several small local establishments or the local Kwik Trip. The route returns on either the wide shoulder of Hwy 16 or a slower ramble along the Root River on Cty Hwy 7 before turning back onto the river road.

32 miles

Ride with GPS

Brownsville Hokah
Click for more images from Brownsville-Hokah on Flickr.
Cheddarman 76 miles

DifficultMapThis is the hardest easy ride you will ever do.  Originally designed as a training ride for Ironman, Wisconsin, this is too much fun to just limit to triathletes.  With four moderate climbs this might not seem hard but the 60-70 “rollers” will fry your legs.  To claim to be a full Cheddarman, you would do the out and back and two loops for a total of 129 miles.  You will then want to get your obligatory “Cheddarman” tattoo on your right calf, just like your Ironman friends…  For most people one loop is more than enough and earns you the Cheddarman 76.4 title!  Comments from people who have done the Ironman, WI agree that this is much harder but awesome training.

 76 miles

Ride with GPS

Coon Valley Coulee Express 28,48,56 mile
Moderately-HardMapThree loops departing La Crosse to the North East with each longer loop adding and additional climbs. All loops start with a small climb before the fast descent into Barre Mills. This is a warm up before the big climb on Cty YY up to top of  big ridge that Hwy 33 follows. The short route then heads back to La Crosse with a fast descent down Cty YY and back to the city on the HWY 14/61 shoulder.   The longer loops head east to St. Josephs Ridge and the first stop at the friendly local Star Market.  A big descent is then followed by a long gradual climb before the twisting descent on Hwy 162 into Coon Valley for the second stop at the local Kwik Trip. The 48 mile loop then follows Coon Creek to Chaseburg before the final big climb over church hill ( Cty K ) and back to LaCrosse. The long loop adds a monster of a climb up Sveum Ridge Road/Old mill road. This climb has grades as steep as 17-18 percent and a switchback though an old farm at the top with some additional rollers on the top before the descent to Chaseburg and the last climb on Cty K on the return to La Crosse.

Short Route (29 miles)

Ride with GPS

Medium Route (48 miles)

Ride with GPS

Long Route (56 miles)

Ride with GPS

Sveum Ridge Road Climb
Click for more images from Coon Valley Coulee Express on Flickr.
Driftless Regions Most Scenic Ride 59,82 mile
Moderately-HardMapChallenging ride with four big climbs. This ride goes through many of the areas diverse geological regions with numerous vistas of the Mississippi and Root river valleys. You will spend an equal amount of time on the bluff tops and in the valleys. The challenging climb up Tschumper rd. follows a ridge up the bluff instead of a valley like most climbs in the area and rewards you with many views that riders say rival those in southern Europe. With three convenience stores and A great coffee shop ( BARISTAS COFFEE HOUSE ) at the halfway point keeping fueled up will not be a problem. The ride concludes with a fast sweeping descent into La Crescent and an easy cool down across the Mississippi river back into downtown La Crosse.

 

Route (59 miles)

Ride with GPS

Route (82 miles)

Ride with GPS

Driftless Region Most Scenic Ride
Click for more images from DRMSR on Flickr.
Grandad Bluff Loop 23 Miles

ModerateMapShort loop with one easy and one hard climb. A local favorite with an easy hill before a fast descent into Barre Mills where the route turns south on some brand new pavement for a fast ride to the interstion of Cty FO. There a gradual climb starts and continues for just over a mile until you come to the Wall, the final steep stretch to the top of the ridge. A right turn takes you along the top of the ridge with a spur leading you to the beautiful overlook at the end of Grandad Bluff , the incredible view is worth the trip. The ride down the bluff is very twisting with blind curves so some caution is in order.

Route (23 miles)

Ride with GPS

June Dairy Days Classique
MapModerateThis is the current version of the oldest tour in the area. Originally known as LE COULEE CLASSIQUE the current version is a moderately hard route with four medium climbs. What makes it more challenging is the many rollers on the low traffic back roads in sand bottoms and valleys of the Black river valley. As you head north from West Salem the forests change from mostly northern hardwoods to pines and other softwoods typical of the sand areas north and east of the driftless region. With the many farms on the route you will see many herds of the dairy cattle that helped make Wisconsin the dairy state. This route returns via twisty hwy 108 through the famous Mindoro cut

Route (27 miles)

Ride with GPS

Route (39 miles)

Ride with GPS

Route (66 miles)

Ride with GPS

June Dairy Days Classique
Click for more images from June Dairy Days Classique on Flickr.
Memorial Day Figure Eight 50-24,49 miles
Moderately-HardMapThe first major climb is at 4.5 miles and may make you wonder what you are getting yourself into.  But once you get past that everything gets easier.  The four climbs earns this ride a moderately hard designation but most of the ride is scenic and only moderately challenging.  The Figure Eight route passes through Mindoro twice where you can stop at a park or several businesses to hydrate and refuel. The tail end of the ride takes you through the Mindoro Cut, the largest remaining hand hewn rock cut in the nation which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service.  You will not be history when you finish this ride but feel a sense of accomplishment as you ride downhill with the wind at your back for the last eight miles of the ride back to the start at Lake Neshonoc (Swarthout Park) where you can take a dip in the lake to cool off when you are done.

50- 49 MILES

Ride with GPS

Memorial Day Figure Eight
Click for more images from Memorial Day Figure Eight on Flickr.
Norski Tur 50,75,100,125 miles

ModerateMapWith four options this tour explores the area south – east of La Crosse settled by Norwegen imigrants. With good roads a little traffic these are moderate rides with the exception of the big climbs. The topography of the area features big hills and longer valleys than some of the other rides in the area. With large hardwood forests this is a very colorful area in the fall. This year with the addition of the fourth loop riders will have the option of doing our first 200K ride.

 

50 miles

Ride with GPS

75 miles

Ride with GPS

100 miles

Ride with GPS

125 miles

Ride with GPS

 

Norski Tur
Click for more images from Norski Tur on Flickr.
North-East Route 63 miles
MapModerateA mostly moderate ride with two big and one moderate climbs that are rated hard. This route heads east up the La Crosse River valley before turning north and over the climbs the first is a moderate size climb that will get your heart rate up and prep you for the first big climb up Hwy E a steady steep challenging climb. After a turn in Mindoro you follow Hwy 108 up a twisting climb up to the famous Mindoro Cut before a very twisty descent and back to West Salem. Motorcyclists come from all over the midwest to do this stretch of road. The route then returns back to La Crosse on the same roads as the start.

63 miles

Ride with GPS

North East Route
Click for more images from North East Route on Flickr.
Whitehall English Century 100 miles
MapModerateThis is a great first English Century at 100 miles with five moderate hill and mostly easy rolling terrain.  Great scenery, wildlife, small towns, and low traffic roads makes for a very enjoyable ride.  Four towns with convenience stores ensures your ability to hydrate and refuel your muscles.  The start/finish has a grocery store, coffee shop, bike shop and restaurants to take care of your needs without having to get in a car.  A great ride through the scenic backroads of Trempealeau County.

 100 miles

Ride with GPS

Whitehall 100
Click for more images from Whitehall 100 on Flickr.
List Your Bicycle Event

1) Make sure the event is not already listed at our calendar.

2) Fill out the form completely (address, date, time etc).

3) Provide an engaging image (we are more likely to share events with images).

4) Event description: Tell visitors and locals why they should attend your event (be descriptive).

5) Include special considerations in the event description (every Tuesday, every third Friday, until January 2015, etc.).

Are you a member of the LACVB? Contact us and find out how to get your events instantaneously listed on our site via your calendar feed.

Add Your Calendar Feed

If you know of an event feed you think belongs in this calendar, paste its iCalendar (.ics) feed’s URL below. If approved, its events will be added to this calendar.

Get Your Own Calendar

If you already have your own WordPress website, it’s easy to install your own All-in-One Event Calendar from Timely:

  1. Browse to time.ly/get-your-own-calendar.
  2. Download the free All-in-One Event Calendar plugin.
  3. Log into your WordPress dashboard.
  4. Browse to Plugins > Add New > Upload.
  5. Choose the .zip file you just downloaded, and click Install Now.

That’s it! You’ll have your own All-in-One Calendar up and running within minutes.

For help or for more information, please visit Timely Support.

contact:

Brent Hanifl

Director of Media & Membership

608-782-2281

hanifl@explorelacrosse.com

Add Your Calendar Feed

If you know of an event feed you think belongs in this calendar, paste its iCalendar (.ics) feed’s URL below. If approved, its events will be added to this calendar.

Get Your Own Calendar

If you already have your own WordPress website, it’s easy to install your own All-in-One Event Calendar from Timely:

  1. Browse to time.ly/get-your-own-calendar.
  2. Download the free All-in-One Event Calendar plugin.
  3. Log into your WordPress dashboard.
  4. Browse to Plugins > Add New > Upload.
  5. Choose the .zip file you just downloaded, and click Install Now.

That’s it! You’ll have your own All-in-One Calendar up and running within minutes.

For help or for more information, please visit Timely Support.

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1
Cheeseburgers, Ride, Ales, and Pins Weekly Bicycle Ride 6:05 pm
Cheeseburgers, Ride, Ales, and Pins Weekly Bicycle Ride @ Pearl St. Brewery, Ye Olde Style Inn, Pla-Mor Lanes
Jul 1 @ 6:05 pm – 10:00 pm
This is a weekly Wednesday night casual and leisurely bicycle ride thru La Crosse neighborhoods. All riders are welcome, from beginner to experienced. The neighborhood ride route and distance will be adjusted so that even[...]
2
Barley Brothers “Beers and Gears” weekly ride 6:00 pm
Barley Brothers “Beers and Gears” weekly ride @ Onalaska Library
Jul 2 @ 6:00 pm
Casual street and trail ride through La Crosse trails and neighborhoods. 20-25 miles. Emphasis on conversation, food and beer. 1 or 2 beverage stops and typically dinner at the Bodega. Helmets required. Check Barley Brothers[...]
3
4
5
6
7
8
Cheeseburgers, Ride, Ales, and Pins Weekly Bicycle Ride 6:05 pm
Cheeseburgers, Ride, Ales, and Pins Weekly Bicycle Ride @ Pearl St. Brewery, Ye Olde Style Inn, Pla-Mor Lanes
Jul 8 @ 6:05 pm – 10:00 pm
This is a weekly Wednesday night casual and leisurely bicycle ride thru La Crosse neighborhoods. All riders are welcome, from beginner to experienced. The neighborhood ride route and distance will be adjusted so that even[...]
9
Barley Brothers “Beers and Gears” weekly ride 6:00 pm
Barley Brothers “Beers and Gears” weekly ride @ Onalaska Library
Jul 9 @ 6:00 pm
Casual street and trail ride through La Crosse trails and neighborhoods. 20-25 miles. Emphasis on conversation, food and beer. 1 or 2 beverage stops and typically dinner at the Bodega. Helmets required. Check Barley Brothers[...]
10
Camp Bluedog
Camp Bluedog @ Sugar Creek
Jul 10 – Jul 12 all-day
Camp Bluedog is a weekend long adventure designed to offer young people a positive & fun way to get involved in mountain biking. It is a catalyst for learning such skills as proper bike maintenance,[...]
11
12
13
14
15
Cheeseburgers, Ride, Ales, and Pins Weekly Bicycle Ride 6:05 pm
Cheeseburgers, Ride, Ales, and Pins Weekly Bicycle Ride @ Pearl St. Brewery, Ye Olde Style Inn, Pla-Mor Lanes
Jul 15 @ 6:05 pm – 10:00 pm
This is a weekly Wednesday night casual and leisurely bicycle ride thru La Crosse neighborhoods. All riders are welcome, from beginner to experienced. The neighborhood ride route and distance will be adjusted so that even[...]
16
Barley Brothers “Beers and Gears” weekly ride 6:00 pm
Barley Brothers “Beers and Gears” weekly ride @ Onalaska Library
Jul 16 @ 6:00 pm
Casual street and trail ride through La Crosse trails and neighborhoods. 20-25 miles. Emphasis on conversation, food and beer. 1 or 2 beverage stops and typically dinner at the Bodega. Helmets required. Check Barley Brothers[...]
17
18
Viroqua Triathlon 2015 7:30 am
Viroqua Triathlon 2015 @ Bigley Pool
Jul 18 @ 7:30 am – 8:00 am
Indoor swim, rolling to challenging bicycle route, road and trail run for both distances. A great event for beginner and seasoned athletes; set in the beautiful Driftless region of Southwestern WI. Event details and[...]
19
20
21
22
Cheeseburgers, Ride, Ales, and Pins Weekly Bicycle Ride 6:05 pm
Cheeseburgers, Ride, Ales, and Pins Weekly Bicycle Ride @ Pearl St. Brewery, Ye Olde Style Inn, Pla-Mor Lanes
Jul 22 @ 6:05 pm – 10:00 pm
This is a weekly Wednesday night casual and leisurely bicycle ride thru La Crosse neighborhoods. All riders are welcome, from beginner to experienced. The neighborhood ride route and distance will be adjusted so that even[...]
23
Barley Brothers “Beers and Gears” weekly ride 6:00 pm
Barley Brothers “Beers and Gears” weekly ride @ Onalaska Library
Jul 23 @ 6:00 pm
Casual street and trail ride through La Crosse trails and neighborhoods. 20-25 miles. Emphasis on conversation, food and beer. 1 or 2 beverage stops and typically dinner at the Bodega. Helmets required. Check Barley Brothers[...]
24
25
Root River Coffee Tour 10:00 am
Root River Coffee Tour @ Houston Nature Center at Trailhead Park
Jul 25 @ 10:00 am
Sample coffee shops by bike along the Root River Trail. We’ll begin in Houston, MN, ride to Rushford, MN, and back. Twenty-six miles round trip on mostly flat paved bike trail. All abilities welcome.
26
27
28
29
Cheeseburgers, Ride, Ales, and Pins Weekly Bicycle Ride 6:05 pm
Cheeseburgers, Ride, Ales, and Pins Weekly Bicycle Ride @ Pearl St. Brewery, Ye Olde Style Inn, Pla-Mor Lanes
Jul 29 @ 6:05 pm – 10:00 pm
This is a weekly Wednesday night casual and leisurely bicycle ride thru La Crosse neighborhoods. All riders are welcome, from beginner to experienced. The neighborhood ride route and distance will be adjusted so that even[...]
30
Barley Brothers “Beers and Gears” weekly ride 6:00 pm
Barley Brothers “Beers and Gears” weekly ride @ Onalaska Library
Jul 30 @ 6:00 pm
Casual street and trail ride through La Crosse trails and neighborhoods. 20-25 miles. Emphasis on conversation, food and beer. 1 or 2 beverage stops and typically dinner at the Bodega. Helmets required. Check Barley Brothers[...]
31

La Crosse Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Atten: Bicycling in the Driftless Region

410 Veterans Memorial Drive

La Crosse, WI 54601

(800) 658-9424 or (608) 782-2220

(608) 782-4082 FAX

La Crosse Area Bicycle Festival - September 4-7, 2015

Days

:

Hours

:

Minutes

:

Seconds

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This