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The MRT in Wisconsin follows the alignment of the Great River Road for its entire length in the state, although you will find no MRT signs. Cyclists should follow the “pilot wheel” sign for the Great River Road. Go to Wisconsin Great River Road Bike Maps to find a map series developed by the Wisc. Dept. of Transportation and the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin.

Download Wisconsin MRT maps: Wisconsin, Wisconsin north, Wisconsin south, LaCrosse south, LaCrosse north -- to see the current status of the route, whether completed with signs on the ground, proposed, or still under development. Check back to this page for segment descriptions as they become available.

  • Proposed segments are being planned and have been assessed as generally rideable. Cyclists should use atlases and other sources to identify road routes.
  • Segments under development are marked in red and indicate dangerous cycling conditions. Bicyclists should proceed with extreme caution.

Resources & Links

  • Wisconsin Great River Road -- Great River Road
  • Mississippi Valley Partners -- a regional tourism network
  • Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin -- links to bike clubs, maps, rides, shops, and more
  • Mississippi River Parkway Commission

Sense of Place

The Wisconsin route of the MRT begins in the north at Prescott, a small city that has for 150 years been a center of river activity. South of Prescott, the river follows a state highway along dramatic bluffs and through distinctive small villages. The towns along this part of the MRT typically are only a street or two wide, nestled in between the riverbank and the steep bluff above them. There's room for a railroad, the highway, the MRT and maybe a street or two, but that's all.

South of LaCrosse, a mid-size city that is home to a branch of the state university as well as diverse industrial activity, the MRT gradually moves inland, in order to stay on bikeable roads. This is the farm country that has made Wisconsin the "Dairy Center of the Nation". The MRT, still on county roads, winds up and over hills and through valleys, mostly in farm country but occasionally through wooded areas, as it drops through the state to Illinois. The towns and villages in this part of the state are often along the river, and the bicyclist takes loop and spur connectors to enjoy their history and quaint charm.


Take Note

Designation or identification of the Mississippi River Trail is not a guarantee that the route will be safe for all riders under all conditions. The Mississippi River Trail descriptions are intended at this point for use by experienced long-distance bicyclists. Users ride at their own risk, and understand that they will commonly be sharing the road with motorized vehicular traffic. No liability, expressed or implied, is assumed by Mississippi River Trail Inc. for any result occasioned by use of these descriptive documents.

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