Lake Country Trail paving

Posted by Doug Shidell, September 6th, 2010

This Labor Day, I decided to ride Waukesha County’s Lake Country Trail to view the progress of its repaving project. Both the eastern and western sections have been paved. However the project is not finished even in these sections, despite the original target completion date of July 23. The barricades announcing the trail is closed are still up, if pushed out of the way. Landscaping along the shoulders, guard rails, painting, and signage are still missing from these sections. The trail is officially closed to allow crews to finish these jobs.

The middle section, mostly in Naga-Waukee county park, is another matter. Except for a section of rerouted trail at the intersection of highway 83, this section has been left unchanged. Although there are several paved sections where the trail is steep, several spots are sandy and difficult going for road bikes. According to the county’s web site, work on this section is slated to start in early September.

The visitor center near the eastern end of the trail is a good place to start for bicyclists arriving by car from the east. For those arriving by bike, a better option is to take the bike trail along county G from Waukesha. Other places to park along the trail are the park and ride lot at highway 83, Cushing Park west of Delafield, and along city streets in Delafield and Oconomowoc.

A new trail along Cushing Park Road is planned to connect the Lake Country and Glacial Drumlin trails. Currently it stops where the Ice Age Trail enters Lapham Peak State Park. Bicycles are prohibited on this section of the Ice Age Trail.

A nice loop trip is to start at Cushing Park, ride the trail to Oconomowoc and then return via road, skirting Oconomowoc Lake and having views of several other lakes and a former mill pond (see the map for details). In fact, the roads are considerably more scenic than the trail. Despite the difference in scenary, I encountered far more bikes on the trail section of the route.

This route can be extended with a ride around Lake LaBelle. The ride around the lake includes several dead-end roads that are connected by short bike paths. (In a case of apparent overkill, speed bumps were added when a section of road was converted to bike path.) For me, part of the appeal of both lakes is that one rides along the water.

Update (October 16, 2010). Construction has been finished on both the eastern and western sections of the trail. Despite the dates given on the Waukesha county website, there is no sign of impending improvements on the middle section. Much of this section is already paved because of steep hills. But other parts are difficult because of loose sand.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News