Trails Near Oshkosh, Wisconsin
Lake Winnebago is the largest inland lake that lies fully within the state of Wisconsin. The city of Oshkosh is on its shoreline at the lake’s junction with the Fox River, nestling into the contours of two other nearby lakes, Lake Poygan and Lake Butte des Morts.
Two state trails slice through wildlife preserves, lake areas, prairies and farmlands in the area, providing opportunities for birdwatching, biking, horseback riding and hiking in the warm months, and routes for snowmobile and cross-country skiing in the winter.
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Access the Wiouwash Trail in Oshkosh at Lake Butte de Morts on the west side of the city. The trail follows the lakeshore before heading across farmland, native grass prairies and wildlife areas. The trail is open to hikers, bicyclists, joggers and equestrians, as well as snowmobiles and cross-country skiers during winter.
Bicyclists do not need a trail pass for this trail. The trail follows an abandoned railroad bed and has a crushed granite surface. Pets are allowed on the trail but must be on an 8-foot or shorter leash. You must clean up after both your dog and your horse on the trail.
Mascoutin Valley State Trail
More than five miles of the Mascoutin Valley State Trail pass through Winnebago County, connecting the towns of Ripon and Berlin. Wetlands, prairies and farms are situated along this trail that is built on an abandoned railroad right-of-way.
Crushed limestone gives good footing for joggers, hikers and horse riders. Bicycles, snowmobiles and cross-country skiers are also given access to the trail. You can pick up the trail near the Rush Lake Marsh Area, 20 miles southwest of Oshkosh.
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Horse and Bike Safety
Horses are prey animals by nature and can become jumpy when approached suddenly from out of their line of sight. Horses have the right of way on multiuse trails in Wisconsin. If you are on a bike and wish to pass a horse from the rear, call out to the rider that you would like to pass. Allow him time to pull his horse to the side of the trail and turn it to face you, if he desires.
Go past at a moderate speed to avoid spooking the horse. Wide bike tires are recommended on the trails, as horse hoofs can sometimes leave imprints in mud that can dry and become hazards for bike riders with smooth, thin tires.
Although the trails are built on old railroad right-of-ways, some portions cut across private land. Respect private property by staying on the trail and removing all garbage, dog feces and horse manure. Use low-impact trail techniques.
Try to avoid muddy areas if you can do so without going off trail. Leaving the trail to go around mud or other obstacles widens the trail and damages the environment.
Don’t create off-trail shortcuts or cut across switchbacks.
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