For the past seven years the Vernon Trails’ Trail Crew has been working closely with several land managing agents, of both public and private lands. Currently we have designed and developed over 25 miles of shared-use, natural surface singletrack in Vernon and Crawford counties. These trails vary in technical difficulty and have something great to offer all users from absolute beginners to seasoned veterans of the trails.
Hiking and trail running are perfect fits for Vernon county. The topography is beautiful , the elevation is respectable, and coupled with the rolling hills and bluffs, this allows for both a leisurely stroll or a most challenging adventure. Snowshoeing is a sport for all ages. The gently rolling groomed trails are abundant in the area, but the back country adventures are some of the best in the Midwest. Enjoy the developed trail network or create your own off trail adventure. You can enjoy your hiking, running, and snowshoeing at Sidie Hollow, Jersey Valley, Hubbard Hills, Rusty Ridge, Davidson Park, the KVR, Esofea, and the VFW.
Many Nordic skiers come to enjoy our winter offering here in the Driftless Area. With miles and miles of groomed classic and skate trails this provides all abilities with opportunity. If you are wanting to blaze your own trail the back country offerings are abundant. You can find groomed trails nearby at Viroqua Golf Course, Snowflake Ski Club, the KVR, Justin Trails, and Wildcat Mountain. You can enjoy your ski adventure at Sidie Hollow, Hubbard Hills, Rusty Ridge, the VFW, Jersey Valley, Esofea, Davidson Park, and the Coon Prairie Trail.
Mountain biking is Wisconsin’s best kept secret. The landscape and natural beauty have made the trail network unique and one of the best in the region. With over miles 25 of single track, the offerings are there for riders of all abilities. Take your mountain bike out to Sidie Hollow, Hubbard Hills, Rusty Ridge, Davidson Park, Jersey Valley, and the KVR.
A Few Notes On Respecting Trail Conditions
Why do you close trails?
There are two types of erosion that can damage a trail – natural erosion and user erosion. Natural erosion comes from Mother Nature’s constant attempt to level the surface of a trail. Water, wind, and gravity wear away at surfaces causing erosion. User erosion comes in many forms; a biker skidding a tire in an attempt to slow quickly, a hiker walking around a puddle and widening it because they don’t want wet feet, or a horse punching deep holes in a wet trail. Although erosion is a natural and unstoppable fact of life it can be slowed to mimic a more natural process through proper design and construction. The Vernon Trails Trail Crew will practice responsible trail closures when they deem the trails susceptible to damage of any kind.
Who are the trails closed to?
The short answer is EVERYONE.
Probably the most asked question our trail crew will receive is whether trail closures apply to all the user groups or just a select group. Any user group that makes contact with a trail surface creates impact on that trail surface. Regardless of whether it’s a 180 pound hiker, a 75 pound kid on a bike, or a 1000 pounds worth of horse and rider, we are ALL capable of damaging the trail. Simple rule of thumb: If you see mud building up on your tires, your heels, or your hooves, STAY OFF THE TRAILS.
How long will the trails be closed?
Only Mother Nature dictates the length of closure. In the early spring, we have to wait until all the frost heaves. Frost heave is the result of pressure created from a combination of freezing temperatures and soil defrosting. The fluctuating freezing and thawing conditions heave, or lift, the soil, which is often characterized by deep cracking of the soil. Additionally, here in Wisconsin the potential of a late and sometimes unwanted winter storms can delay our trail activities a bit. The Vernon Trails Trail Crew will monitor daily the conditions of the trails and make a determination on when it is safe and sustainable to open the trails.
The Vernon Trails facebook page is your best bet for up-to-date info on local trail conditions.
Trail Ethics & Etiquette
1. Respect the rights of all recreationists to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors. Respect public and private property.
2. Tread lightly. Stay on designated trails and roads. Avoid wet, muddy trails to prevent unnecessary damage and erosion.
3. Plan ahead. Obtain maps and know local regulations and trail closures before you head out. Bring proper equipment.
4. Control your bicycle. Don’t slide, skid, or cut corners. Control your speed. When stopping, do not block the trail.
5. Yield to those passing you or going uphill. Bicycles yield to hikers, runners, and horses.
6. Slow down when encountering other users. Anticipate other trails users around corners. Practice courteous and friendly communication when passing.
7. Respect wildlife. Do not spook animals or disturb wildlife habitats.
8. Leave no trace. Properly dispose of waste and minimize alterations to the land.