Over 76 miles of state trails are now connecting Chippewa, Eau Claire, Dunn, and Pepin Counties. Come explore our gorgeous backyards by checking out the Chippewa Valley State Trail System made up of the Old Abe, Chippewa River, and Red Cedar State Trails. Check out the map here. Each trail is surrounded by both beauty and water and winds through a collection of charming cities and towns. Every mile is worth the pedal, but our local eateries, attractions, and accommodations make it a much sweeter ride. Read on to get the inside scoop on where to eat, stay, and play on and off the trails. We also recommend checking out the brewery trail itinerary blog.
Old Abe State Trail: 37 Miles
While you ride beside the banks of the Chippewa River you will be able to break away from the hustle and bustle and GO get lost in nature. Two state parks, wide-open spaces, canopies of trees, and the lazy flow of the river will be just a few of the highlights along the way.
There are over 30 stops from the trailhead to the junction point with the Chippewa River State Trail at Dells Pond. If you’re looking for a pick-me-up, a cold brew after a long ride, or some killer cheese curds, you’re sure to find the right spot for you. Click here to see the restaurants, cafes, and bars along the way.
Whether you’re setting out to complete the entire trail system or would just like to explore a section or two, it is always nice to have somewhere to rest your head at the end of the day. Chippewa County has 8 accommodations located within just 2 miles of Old Abe State Trail – Avalon Hotel & Conference Center, AmericInn by Wyndham, Badger Motel, Cobblestone Hotel & Suites, Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Glen Loch Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, Holiday Inn Express & Suites, and Indianhead Motel. Click here to learn more.
37 miles is quite the stretch and we wouldn’t blame you for wanting to stop and stretch your legs. We have plenty of noteworthy attractions to get the fun GOing including over 50 historical markers, nationally recognized breweries like Leinenkugel’s, a free zoo, and museums too. See them here.
Chippewa River State Trail: 31 Miles
So, you’re taking a pedal trip down the Chippewa River State Trail! Along the way of your 31-mile ride, you may need to get some rest and take a break from powering the bike. Lucky for you, you’ll pass through some pretty neat places in Eau Claire and Altoona.
When you’ve worked up an appetite, you’ll discover plenty of places to grab some grub to fuel up for the remaining part of the trail. If you’re in the mood for some international cuisine, visit Ninja or Rice Palace. For pub food, visit our local favorites like Court N’ House, The District, Dooley’s Pub, Mogie’s, and The Livery. The River Prairie District is 1-mile from the trail and is also a great option for dining with Cowboy Jack’s, 44 North, and Za51. Looking to satisfy your sweet tooth? Ramone’s and Olson’s have ice cream, Crave 80/20 has you covered on shakes, and SHIFT and ECDC have all the caffeine you need.
To get a good night’s rest for your cycling adventures, book a stay at the Oxbow Hotel, the Lismore, Best Western Plus, or Staybridge Suites all located within 2 miles of the trail.
Some other places worth checking out during your ride through downtown Eau Claire are The Local Store, Revival Records, and Baroque, the sculpture on Grand Ave. While downtown, don’t forget to take in all the murals you’ll spot while you cycle through the city. If you need somewhere to park your bike and just enjoy the wonders of nature, make a stop at Carson, Phoenix, or Owen Park.
Red Cedar State Trail: 15 Miles
Whether you are bicycling, walking, jogging, or skiing the Red Cedar State Trail you will discover miles of breathtaking natural beauty. The trail’s compacted limestone surface leads you through pastoral farmlands, deep deciduous forests, sunny meadows, and expansive river bottoms. The trail travels along the Red Cedar River for much of the 15 miles. The trail was originally the railway that serviced Knapp-Stout & Co., the world’s largest lumber producing company in the late 1800s. Over time, the tracks were abandoned and the WI DNR converted it into one of its showcase recreational trails. As you travel down the trail, you can stop in Irvington at their local bar or in Downsville at their café, restaurant, and bars.
Menomonie has over 20 bars, cafés, restaurants, breweries, & lounges within 1 mile of the trail. Relax on a patio or waterfront deck, find the perfect pairing for your delightful latte, enjoy live bands and musicians while you dine. You can also visit the bar in Irvington and the café, restaurants, & bars in Downsville at those trail entrances. Learn more here.
Located within 2 miles of the trail are Cobblestone Inn & Suites- Downtown Menomonie and Ma’s Irvington Campground and Rentals where you can rent kayaks, canoes, & tubes for the river along the trail. Learn more here.
Menomonie is only a minute from the start of the Red Cedar State Trail Visitor Center Depot. There is a wide range of attractions from visiting the Historical Mabel Tainter Theater, boutiques, ax-throwing, parks, golfing, and Red Cedar Speedway. Learn more here.
Good to Know Before you GO
A state trail pass is required for individuals aged 16+ biking, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, or in-line skating on the Chippewa Valley State Trails. A state trail pass is not required for walking or hiking. Wisconsin state trail pass fees are the same for residents and non-residents. The $25 annual pass is good for the calendar year and the $5 daily pass is good for the day of purchase. A pass can be purchased at any of these locations along the trails:
Old Abe State Trail
- Brunet Island State Park
- Chippewa Area Visitor Center – 1 N Bridge St, Chippewa Falls, WI 54729
- City of Cornell Administrative Building – 222 Main Street, Cornell, WI 54732
- Country Inn & Suites by Radisson – 1021 W Park Ave, Chippewa Falls, WI 54729
- Holiday Inn Express & Suites – 12858 26th Ave, Chippewa Falls, WI 5472
- Jim Falls Cenex Convenience Store – 19786 139th Ave, Jim Falls, WI 5474
- Lake Wissota State Park
- Spring Street Sports – 12 W Spring St, Chippewa Falls, WI 54729
Self-Registration is available at three parking areas:
- City of Cornell across from Mill Yard Park
- Lake Wissota – Intersection of County Hwy S and County Hwy O and 97th Avenue
- Riverview Conservancy – 15985 Beach Drive, Chippewa Falls, WI 54729
Chippewa River State Trail
- Self-Registration is available at the intersection of Short St. & the Chippewa River State Trail.
Red Cedar State Trail
- Menomonie Chamber of Commerce Office: Monday – Friday 8-5 and on Saturdays 9-1, Memorial Day-Labor Day
If you prefer a digital copy, try the Online Option or Call the DNR at 1-888-305-0398.