WI Milwaukee Oak Leaf Trail

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Oak Leaf Trail

Milwaukee County, Wisconsin

The Oak Leaf Trail isn't so much a single trail, but rather a series of trails that take you through parks and parkways throughout Milwaukee County. The trail consists of a combination of off-road paved bike trail, park roads, and city streets, and, according to the Milwaukee County website, contains more than 100 miles of trail.

Note: this page currently only covers portions of the Oak Leaf Trail, use links above to get information for portions not covered here

Oak Leaf Trail, Grant Park to South Shore Park

Oak Leaf Trail, South Milwaukee to South Shore Park

South Shore Park Lake Michigan near St. Francis

8 Mile section asphalt paved trail from Grant Park golf course in South Milwaukee to South Shore Park in Milwaukee. Connects with on-road sections of 106 mile Oak Leaf Trail in Milwaukee County.

Terrain / Scenery: Lake Michigan Bluffs, parks, golf courses.

Fees / Permits: None

Trail Conditions: Asphalt trail, sometimes bumpy, with forest debris.

Trail Markings: Several brown Oak Leaf Trail signs around South Shore, Milwaukee By Bike map available at Grant Park Golf Course snack shop.

Official Web Page: http://www.county.milwaukee.gov/display/router.asp?docid=8289

Map of south Milwaukee County bike routes: http://www.city.milwaukee.gov/display/displayFile.aspx?docid=4460&filename=/User/milbtf/milbm_south_final_citywork.pdf

Mileage Info Here: http://www.wgtd.org/Milwaukee.htm

Getting There: Coming from the south, exit Ryan Road from I-94, or take Hwy 32 to Ryan road. Ryan Road dead ends at 5th Avenue. Take 5th Ave north through South Milwaukee, until it ends. Turn left for 1 block, then right on Mill Road, past Oak Creek Parkway, to Hawthorne Ave. Turn right (SE) on Hawthorne. Park in golf course overflow parking on the south side of Hawthorne.

This eight mile section of the Oak Leaf Trail is a paved off-road path through parks above Lake Michigan. It makes a very scenic and pleasant 16 mile out and back trip.

Buy a soda pop and get a free map at the golf course snack shop. Cut through the parking lot, and follow Grant Park Drive about 200 feet to the paved path. The trail in Grant Park winds between forest and lawn areas, and has two easy crossings of the drive.

The Grant Park section of the trail ends at a large condominium complex, where Lake St merges with Hwy 32. Continue across the drive into Warnimont Park in Cudahy. This section begins in a forest that eventually opens up to a field where a footpath leads to a scenic bluff above Lake Michigan. After passing through the golf course and by a skeet shooting range that overlooks Lake Michigan, the trail emerges from the Warnimont Park along side a high school.

After the high school, the trail enters Sheridan Park, and is on the east side Sheridan road opposite the swimming pool. THe trail emerges from the park with a magnificent vista, near two large condominium complexes. There is a fun hill that sweeps down from the bluffs, around the condos, and back up to Hwy 32.

Briefly the trail goes alongside Hwy 32, but then enters Bayview Park. Where the trail splits, I prefer to go downhill to the lakeside; the park on top of the bluff is pleasant enough, but requires a short ride on streets and sidewalks.

Detail here (the red line shows the street route.): http://www.county.milwaukee.gov/display/displayFile.aspx?docid=9136&filename=/Groups/cntyParks/maps/southshore.pdf

The path enters the marina parking lot area at South Shore Park. Stay near the west side, and the bike trail start again and wind around to its terminus at E Russell Ave. There are concessions and restrooms at South Shore Park.

This section of the Oak Leaf Trail is absolutely gorgeous. In the Summer, the alternating smells of sweet clover in the fields and the scents of deep forest, make the trail not only look good, but smell good. I rode it on an early weekday afternoon in the summer, and almost nobody was on it. However, the trail can get crowded on weekends and is narrow and bumpy in some sections, so use caution. But for Lake Michigan trails, this one is relatively undiscovered, and you can pay more attention to the scenery than to avoiding other trail users.

This section is authored and maintained by DaveC