The Elroy - Sparta Trail is a 32 mile trail that is widely viewed as the oldest rail-trail in the country. It opened for public use in 1967. It connects the towns of Sparta and Elroy, Wisconsin. Along the way it passes Kendall, Wilton, and Norwalk, WI. The previous rail line was the main line of the Chicago and North Western Railway.
I found the trail to be well maintained with a typical crushed stone surface. There are three tunnels with the longest over 3800 feet. I strongly recommend a headlight for all the tunnels. All the tunnels are cool and damp with the tunnel closest to Sparta dripping so much water it felt like it was raining.
When I rode the trail in June 2017 I encountered a short rain shower as I entered the town of Norwalk. Perfect reason to stop for an ice cream at a little shop adjacent to the trail. With the refreshing treat and freshly filled water bottles the rain stopped and I hit the trail again. Once I reached the Elroy end of the trail I ate a nice lunch at a local restaurant then headed back to the trail for a return ride back to Sparta.
The Robbins Trail in Pennsylvania is actually much older than the Elroy-Sparta Trail but was built before the official rail-trails began.
Find out more about the Elroy-Sparta Trail at http://elroy-sparta-trail.com.
A video of my ride on this trail may be found at my YouTube Channel, Mark's Bike Tock.