Jefferson County is home to a network of parks, wildlife and natural areas, historic and cultural sites, waterways and preserves all connected by trails throughout the County. Our County Parks system has over 19 miles of hiking trails, 35 miles of off- and on-road bicycle/pedestrian trails along the Glacial River Trail and Interurban Trail, and 224 miles of snowmobile trails. Bicycle routes have been designated on lightly traveled roads. A variety of outdoor activities from hiking, picnicking, bicycle riding, rustic camping, a large dog park, mountain biking, historic sites, Frisbee golf, boating, fishing, enjoying nature, cross country skiing, snow shoeing, and snowmobiling draws park users from throughout the County and beyond.
Glacial Heritage Area Watertrails
Paddling and water sports continue to be one of the most popular activities in the State of Wisconsin, and Jefferson County provides plenty of opportunity. With seven rivers and nine lakes to choose from, there is a little bit of adventure for everyone. The best way to plan a paddling trip would be to check out the Glacial Heritage Area Watertrail map. With 70 designated put-in and take-out sites to choose from, and trip descriptions for each one, planning a trip is a breeze. Check them out at jeffersoncountywi.gov/parks
Glacial River Bike Trail
The 31.5-mile trail extends the full length (North to South) of Jefferson County, seamlessly into Rock and Dodge Counties, and is connected by an on-road portion of the Wild Goose Trail in Dodge County. A portion of the Glacial River Trail from downtown Fort Atkinson to the Jefferson/Rock County line is set on a former rail bed and features a covered bridge. The majority provides an asphalt paved, separated grade trail. It is a mix of trail and on-road connections from Fort Atkinson. This spectacular attraction features an archway, bronze sculptures, rest areas and fountains – making it a relaxing and scenic adventure.
The Rock River Trail
The 320-mile Rock River transects the County from North to South providing a “Route” through four of the County’s distinct communities. The river was designated a National Water Trail in 2013, by the U.S. Department of the Interior for its scenic and historic significance. Adventurers can paddle the length of the County while accessing the various shops, restaurants, and events along its river banks. For more information visit rockrivertrail.com
Glacial Drumlin State Trail
Developed in 1986, the trail starts in Cottage Grove (just east of Madison) and heads East for 52 miles where it connects with other trails in the Fox River Sanctuary in Waukesha. The trail is open to cyclists, walkers, joggers, roller bladers, and snowmobilers. A pass is required before using the trail and is valid on all other state trails. Annual fee: $25; daily fee: $5. No pass is required for hikers or children under 16. glacialdrumlin.com
Emma Carlin Trail
The trail is comprised of three loops, with difficult sections covering nearly 40 miles. The west end of the Green Loop has a particularly tough uphill grind. For a total challenge, take the formidable Connector Trail south to the John Muir Trail in Palmyra.
Located between Rockdale and Cambridge along the Koshkonong Creek, this 422-acre park has three areas with shelter facilities and play areas. It’s suitable for hiking, cross-country skiing, and some of the best mountain biking in the area. The park can be reached via several access points with connector trails to all parks, access points located trailhead adjacent to Westside Park on Water Street in downtown Cambridge, County Hwy B, and Highland Drive in the Village of Rockdale.