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5 Ways Mauston Connects You With Summer … Naturally

Greater Mauston offers a great way to connect naturally with the outdoors. Here are are five ways to kick your summer and early fall into high gear.Elroy Sparta Bike Trail logo near Mauston

    • The Elroy-Sparta Bike Trail holds an iconic place in cycling as the first rails-to-trails route in the nation. Three hand-dug train tunnels give this 32-mile ride its unique character. The tunnels are cool, dark and damp, so bring along flashlights and even some water-resistant gear.
    • The 22-mile “400” State Trail from Elroy to Reedsburg is a very scenic ride that runs parallel to the Baraboo River and includes a wood plank bridge and sandstone outcroppings. The trail passes through friendly small towns where you can stop for refreshments.
    • The Juneau Country Omaha Trail runs from Elroy to Camp Douglas. This 12.5-mile trail includes a short tunnel passage. Because of the trail length and the fact that it is much less travelled than its longer cousins, the Omaha makes a terrific ride for family with younger cyclists.Get rolling on your choice of three great bike trails that start in Elroy, just 12 miles west of Mauston on Highway 82.
      All three trails have crushed limestone surfaces. A state trail pass is required ($5 daily, $25 annual) for riders over 16.
    • Go with the flow at Sandy Shores Tubing. Enjoy the lazy river experience of floating down the Wisconsin River with your family and friends through the scenic countryside. The route includes sandbars and quiet secluded beaches where you can stop to enjoy lunch or just soak up the sunshine.  Tubes are professionally approved and come with life preservers and tube ties so you can tether with your friends and/or tow a tube for your beverage cooler. The trip takes 2-3 hours, not counting stops you might want to make. The pace is slow and relaxing. For reservations, call (608) 548-TUBE.
    • Take a walk on the wild side at the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge. Located just four miles west of the Village of Necedah off Highway 21, the refuge landscape is a mosaic of savanna, prairie, sedge meadow and pine-oak forest that is home to an incrediThe first family of Whooping Cranes in Necedah, WI near Maustonble variety of wildlife. Trumpeter swans, woodpeckers, geese, wild turkeys, ducks, turtles and deer call the refuge home, as do wolves, whopping cranes, beavers, otters and the rare Karner blue butterfly. The refuge is open year round, sunrise to sunset, for wildlife observation, hiking, fishing, educational programs and seasonal hunting. Phone: (608) 565-2251
    • Make a splash at Castle Rock Lake. Wisconsin’s fourth largest lake has a great sandy beach at Juneau County Castle Rock State Park and some of the best fishing in the state. The lake is actually a man-made flowage of the Wisconsin River and connects to Petenwell Lake. More than 16,000 acres of crystal clear water is home to a wide variety of fish, from northern pike and walleyes to bass and panfish. The lake has more than 60 miles of shoreline, most of it undeveloped, and is dotted with public launches. The lake’s size and location makes it a regional mecca for water sports of every kind from power boating to sailing.  Great camping can be found at Juneau County Castle Rock State Park and at Buckhorn State Park.
  • Horse around at the Red Ridge Ranch.  Family owned and operated, the ranch is spread across 250 acres of quiet countryside just north of Mauston. Find yourself back in the saddle (or for the first time) while enjoying a scenic hour-long trail ride through the woods and along the Lemonweir River. Kids will enjoy the gentle ponies for a first-time experience.  Horse-drawn wagon rides are perfect for family or group outings.  The ranch is open year round and seasonal activities are available. Phone: (608) 847-2273.

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