Old Highway 131 Trail In Wisconsin

Here is everything you need to know about the Old Highway 131 Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Wisconsin
  • Length: 7.24 miles.
  • Type: Biking.
  • Surface: gravel
  • Managed By: Michigan Department of Natural Resources
  • Permit Required?: No
  • Website: https://county.milwaukee.gov/EN/Parks/Explore/Trails/Oak-Leaf-Trail

The Old Highway 131 Trail holds a significant place in the history of transportation and development in the United States. Originally known as the “Chicago Road,” this trail was one of the earliest routes connecting the Midwest to the East Coast. It played a crucial role in the westward expansion of the country during the 19th century.

The trail’s origins can be traced back to the early 1800s when it was established as a stagecoach route. It provided a vital link between the growing city of Chicago and the eastern states, facilitating trade and commerce. As the demand for transportation increased, the trail was gradually improved and expanded to accommodate larger vehicles and heavier traffic.

In the mid-20th century, the Old Highway 131 Trail became part of the U.S. Highway system, specifically designated as U.S. Route 131. This designation brought further improvements to the road, including pavement and modern infrastructure. The trail played a crucial role in connecting various towns and cities along its route, fostering economic growth and cultural exchange.

Over time, the Old Highway 131 Trail witnessed numerous changes and developments in transportation technology. With the advent of the interstate highway system, the trail gradually lost its prominence as a major transportation route. However, it still retains its historical significance, serving as a reminder of the early days of road travel and the role it played in shaping the nation’s infrastructure. Today, the Old Highway 131 Trail stands as a testament to the pioneering spirit and determination of those who traversed its path in the past.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Yampa River Core Trailhead: Located in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, this trailhead provides access to the Old Highway 131 Trail. It is a popular starting point for hikers and bikers.

2. Oak Creek Trailhead: Situated in the town of Oak Creek, this trailhead offers access to the Old Highway 131 Trail. It is a convenient starting point for those exploring the trail.

3. Phippsburg Trailhead: Located in Phippsburg, Colorado, this trailhead serves as an access point for the Old Highway 131 Trail. It provides parking and facilities for trail users.

4. Yampa Valley Regional Airport Trailhead: Situated near Hayden, Colorado, this trailhead offers access to the Old Highway 131 Trail. It is a convenient starting point for those arriving by air.

5. Toponas Trailhead: Located in Toponas, Colorado, this trailhead provides access to the Old Highway 131 Trail. It is a popular starting point for hikers and bikers.

6. State Bridge Trailhead: Situated near Bond, Colorado, this trailhead offers access to the Old Highway 131 Trail. It provides parking and facilities for trail users.

7. Wolcott Trailhead: Located in Wolcott, Colorado, this trailhead serves as an access point for the Old Highway 131 Trail. It is a convenient starting point for those exploring the trail.

8. Dotsero Trailhead: Situated in Dotsero, Colorado, this trailhead offers access to the Old Highway 131 Trail. It provides parking and facilities for trail users.

These are some of the major access points or trailheads along the Old Highway 131 Trail. There may be additional smaller access points or trailheads along the trail as well.

Transportation Available

1. Old Highway 131 Trail Shuttle – Shuttle service specifically catering to the Old Highway 131 Trail.
2. Local Taxi – Taxi service available for transportation needs in the area.
3. Ride-Share Services – Popular ride-sharing platforms like Uber and Lyft operate in the vicinity.
4. Bike Rentals – Local shops offering bike rentals for exploring the Old Highway 131 Trail.
5. Bus Service – Public bus service connecting various locations near the Old Highway 131 Trail.
6. Car Rental – Car rental agencies providing vehicles for independent transportation.
7. Train Station – Nearby train station offering regional transportation options.
8. Airport – Local airport providing air travel services for longer distances.
9. Pedicabs – Pedicab services available for short-distance transportation in the area.
10. Horse and Carriage Rides – Traditional horse and carriage rides for a unique transportation experience.


The amenities available at the Old Highway 131 Trail may vary depending on the specific location and management of the trail. However, here are some common amenities that you may find:

1. Restrooms: Public restrooms or portable toilets may be available at certain points along the trail.

2. Parking: Parking lots or designated parking areas may be provided for trail users.

3. Camping Sites: Some sections of the trail may have designated camping sites or nearby campgrounds for overnight stays.

4. Picnic Areas: Picnic tables, benches, or designated areas for picnicking and enjoying meals may be available along the trail.

5. Water Stations: Drinking water stations or fountains may be provided for trail users to stay hydrated.

6. Information Boards: Signage or information boards may be placed along the trail to provide information about the trail, its history, and any rules or regulations.

7. Trailhead Facilities: At the trailhead or starting point, you may find facilities such as visitor centers, information kiosks, or ranger stations.

8. Bike Racks: Bike racks or bike parking areas may be available for cyclists using the trail.

9. Trail Markers: Clear signage or markers may be placed along the trail to guide users and indicate distances or points of interest.

10. Benches and Seating: Benches or seating areas may be provided at regular intervals along the trail for resting or enjoying the surroundings.

It is recommended to check with local authorities, trail management, or visitor centers for specific amenities available at the Old Highway 131 Trail.

Nearby Services

1. Pineview Lodge – Cozy lodging option with scenic views near Old Highway 131 Trail.
2. Riverside Inn – Conveniently located accommodation offering comfortable rooms and riverfront access.
3. Mountain View Cabins – Rustic cabins nestled in the mountains, providing a peaceful retreat for hikers.
4. Trailside Diner – Quaint eatery serving delicious comfort food, perfect for refueling after a hike.
5. Riverstone Café – Charming café offering a variety of dishes, including vegetarian and vegan options.
6. Old Mill Restaurant – Historic restaurant serving classic American cuisine with a touch of nostalgia.
7. County Hospital – Nearby medical facility providing emergency services for any unforeseen incidents.

Old Highway 131 Trail Difficulty Notes

The Old Highway 131 Trail presents a moderate difficulty level for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. The trail offers a diverse terrain, including sections of steep inclines and descents, rocky paths, and occasional obstacles such as fallen trees. While it may not be overly challenging for experienced hikers, beginners and those with limited physical fitness may find certain sections demanding. However, the trail’s breathtaking views, serene surroundings, and the sense of accomplishment upon completion make it a worthwhile adventure for individuals seeking a moderately challenging outdoor experience.

Features And Attractions

The Old Highway 131 Trail is a scenic route that stretches through various states in the United States. While the specific landmarks along the trail may vary depending on the region, here are some examples of scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks that you may encounter along the Old Highway 131 Trail:

1. Mackinac Bridge – Located in Michigan, this iconic suspension bridge connects the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of the state, offering stunning views of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

2. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – Situated along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan in Michigan, this area features towering sand dunes, pristine beaches, and beautiful hiking trails.

3. Tahquamenon Falls State Park – Found in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, this park boasts the Tahquamenon Falls, a series of stunning waterfalls that are among the largest east of the Mississippi River.

4. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore – Located along Lake Superior in Michigan, this scenic area showcases colorful sandstone cliffs, waterfalls, and pristine beaches.

5. Mackinac Island – Situated in Lake Huron, Michigan, this historic island is known for its Victorian architecture, horse-drawn carriages, and the famous Grand Hotel.

6. Indiana Dunes National Park – Located in Indiana, this park offers beautiful sandy beaches, dunes, and diverse ecosystems along the southern shore of Lake Michigan.

7. Turkey Run State Park – Situated in Indiana, this park features unique sandstone gorges, scenic trails, and opportunities for hiking, camping, and canoeing.

8. Chain O’Lakes State Park – Found in Illinois, this park encompasses a series of interconnected lakes, offering opportunities for boating, fishing, and hiking.

9. Starved Rock State Park – Located in Illinois, this park is known for its towering sandstone canyons, waterfalls, and scenic overlooks along the Illinois River.

10. Mississippi Palisades State Park – Situated in Illinois, this park offers breathtaking views of the Mississippi River, along with hiking trails and unique rock formations.

11. Effigy Mounds National Monument – Found in Iowa, this site preserves Native American burial mounds shaped like animals, offering a glimpse into the region’s ancient history.

12. Wyalusing State Park – Located in Wisconsin, this park overlooks the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers, providing stunning panoramic views.

These are just a few examples of the many scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks that you may encounter along the Old Highway 131 Trail. The specific attractions will vary depending on the section of the trail you are exploring.

Usage Guidelines

– Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
– Clean up after your pets and dispose of waste properly.
– Bicycles and pedestrians should yield to horses on the trail.
– Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trail.
– Camping or overnight stays are not permitted.
– Fires and open flames are prohibited.
– Hunting or trapping is not allowed.
– Fishing is permitted in designated areas only.
– No littering; please carry out all trash.
– Respect private property boundaries adjacent to the trail.
– Use caution and be aware of seasonal restrictions, such as closures during winter months or specific hours of operation.
– Follow all posted signs and regulations.

Seasonal Information

The Old Highway 131 Trail is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering breathtaking views and a chance to immerse oneself in nature. The best times of the year to visit this trail depend on personal preferences and the activities one wishes to engage in.

During the spring season, the trail comes alive with vibrant colors as wildflowers bloom and the surrounding landscape awakens from its winter slumber. The temperatures are generally mild, making it an ideal time for hiking, birdwatching, and enjoying the peacefulness of the trail. However, it is important to note that spring can also bring occasional rain showers, so it is advisable to pack appropriate rain gear.

Summer is another fantastic time to visit the Old Highway 131 Trail, especially for those who enjoy warm weather and longer daylight hours. The trail offers shade from the surrounding trees, providing a pleasant escape from the summer heat. It is a great time for activities such as biking, picnicking, and wildlife spotting. However, it is worth noting that summer can be a busy season, so it is advisable to plan your visit accordingly and arrive early to secure parking.

As for seasonal closures, it is important to be aware of any restrictions or closures that may occur due to weather conditions or maintenance work. During the winter months, the trail may be subject to closures or limited accessibility due to snowfall or icy conditions. It is always recommended to check with local authorities or trail management before planning a visit during this time. Additionally, some sections of the trail may be temporarily closed for maintenance or repairs during other seasons, so it is advisable to stay updated on any announcements or notices.

Overall, the Old Highway 131 Trail offers a unique and picturesque experience throughout the year. Whether you prefer the vibrant colors of spring, the warmth of summer, or the tranquility of other seasons, there is always a perfect time to explore this beautiful trail. Just remember to plan accordingly, check for any closures or restrictions, and be prepared for the weather conditions during your visit.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces near the trail entrance for individuals with disabilities.
2. Accessible Trail Entrance: A ramp or level access point at the trailhead to accommodate wheelchair users.
3. Paved Pathway: A smooth, paved surface along the trail suitable for wheelchair travel.
4. Rest Areas with Benches: Spots along the trail with benches for individuals to rest and take a break.
5. Accessible Restrooms: Restroom facilities equipped with wheelchair-accessible stalls and amenities.
6. Braille Signage: Trail signs with Braille text to assist visually impaired individuals.
7. Handrails: Sturdy handrails along sections of the trail to provide support and stability.
8. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic spots with tables and seating designed to accommodate wheelchair users.
9. Trail Maps in Large Print: Maps of the trail available in large print format for individuals with visual impairments.
10. Accessible Water Fountains: Water fountains at regular intervals along the trail accessible to wheelchair users.
11. Assistance Animals Allowed: The trail permits the presence of service animals to assist individuals with disabilities.
12. Accessible Trailhead Information: Information boards or kiosks at the trailhead with accessible features such as large print or audio options.
13. Accessible Trail Markers: Clear and visible markers along the trail, designed to be easily identifiable by individuals with visual impairments.
14. Accessible Trail Experiences: Opportunities for individuals with disabilities to engage in accessible activities along the trail, such as adaptive sports or nature programs.
15. Accessible Transportation: Nearby accessible public transportation options or designated accessible parking spaces for individuals with disabilities.

Safety Information

1. Trail Conditions: Check for any trail closures or maintenance work before heading out to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
2. Weather Awareness: Be prepared for changing weather conditions and dress accordingly, bringing extra layers, rain gear, and sun protection.
3. Trail Etiquette: Respect other trail users by yielding to pedestrians, keeping pets on a leash, and staying on designated paths.
4. Wildlife Encounter: Stay alert and maintain a safe distance if you encounter wildlife, avoiding any sudden movements or attempts to feed them.
5. Hydration: Carry an adequate supply of water to stay hydrated throughout your hike or bike ride.
6. Sun Safety: Apply sunscreen, wear a hat, and use sunglasses to protect yourself from harmful UV rays.
7. Emergency Preparedness: Carry a fully charged cell phone, a first aid kit, and inform someone about your planned route and estimated return time.
8. Trail Markings: Familiarize yourself with trail markers and signage to avoid getting lost or straying off the designated path.
9. Trail Buddy: Consider hiking or biking with a friend or in a group for added safety and enjoyment.
10. Time Management: Plan your trip according to daylight hours, allowing enough time to complete the trail before it gets dark.
11. Physical Fitness: Assess your fitness level and choose a trail section that matches your abilities to prevent exhaustion or injuries.
12. Insect Protection: Apply insect repellent and consider wearing long sleeves and pants to protect against ticks and other insects.
13. Trailhead Parking: Park your vehicle in designated areas and ensure it is locked with no valuables visible to deter theft.
14. Trail Maintenance: Report any trail hazards, fallen trees, or damaged infrastructure to the appropriate authorities for prompt repairs.
15. Leave No Trace: Pack out all trash and dispose of it properly, leaving the trail and surrounding areas clean for others to enjoy.

Conservation Notes

The conservation status of the Old Highway 131 Trail is of significant concern due to its potential impact on local ecosystems and wildlife habitats. As a result, efforts have been made to protect and preserve this trail to ensure its sustainability for future generations. The trail traverses through diverse landscapes, including forests, wetlands, and meadows, which are home to a variety of plant and animal species.

To safeguard the conservation status of the Old Highway 131 Trail, several measures have been implemented. These include the establishment of protected areas along the trail, where human activities are regulated to minimize disturbance to the natural environment. Additionally, conservation organizations and local authorities have collaborated to develop management plans that focus on maintaining the ecological integrity of the trail.

Conservation efforts also involve monitoring and mitigating potential threats to the trail’s biodiversity. This includes addressing issues such as invasive species, erosion, and habitat fragmentation. By actively managing these challenges, the conservation status of the Old Highway 131 Trail can be improved, ensuring the long-term viability of the ecosystems it traverses.

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