ELROY, Wis. (WFRV) – After a four-year-long closure, the historic Elroy Sparta Trail will reopen on May 14.

“It’s been a long time coming, but we’re so excited to have the Elroy-Sparta State Trail open again and more resilient to future storm events. As the oldest rails to trail in the country, we needed to ensure the trail could sustain future generations of bikers, walkers, runners and snowmobilers,” said Steve Schmelzer, DNR Parks Director.

The 32.5-mile trail had previously closed in 2018 due to damages caused by summer flooding.

However, those damages are now a thing of the past as crews used the closure to their advantage and made significant repairs to the trail and its bridges. Repairs included:

  • Two total bridge replacements
  • Three culvert replacements
  • Four landslide repairs
  • Stream/ trail embankment restoration

These repairs were funded by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) and the State of Wisconsin.

The Elroy-Sparta Trail was established in the mid-1960s and spans five communities, including Elroy, Kendall, Norwalk, Wilton, and Sparta.

And if you think that’s impressive, this trail also features three lime-stone tunnels with ginormous double doors at the end of each tunnel.

These double doors were reportedly added to prevent rocks from collapsing around the tunnel entrances.

Residents excited to see these tunnels for themselves are encouraged to bring a flashlight as the tunnels are enclosed dark spaces, sans light fixtures.

The trail is open daily from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m.