Wisconsin’s Brunet Island State Park via the Old Abe State Trail

Single-speeding a quick, 20-mile ride up the Old Abe State Trail from Lake Wissota State Park to Brunet Island State Park.

Bicycle Adventurers: Trey S., riding solo!

When: June 2016

Accommodations: I pitched my tent at Brunet Island State Park. Due to budget cuts, the price to camp in Wisconsin’s state parks has jumped. Admission to the park is free while on a bike, but it cost $18 for the site. On a Wednesday night, I was able to pick the nicest spot in the park with river access and a view of the sunset. However, weekends may require a reservation. The campground has flush toilets and warm showers, if necessary.

Distance: 18.5 miles each direction. The trail is mostly flat and can be done fairly quickly. I left late in the afternoon and arrived at my campsite for dinner.

Bonus tip for this adventure:

  • Despite the level trail, the views are great. There are lots of rolling hills and farms in the distance, and a good portion of the trail is along the Chippewa River. The best views are to the west, so it may be hard to take pictures as the sun sets. 
  • Brunet Island State Park is practically in the town of Cornell, where you can find diners and a grocery store.

Day One

I got to the trail late in the afternoon on a clear and beautiful day. After loading my bike up, I paid the $5 trail-use fee for the Old Abe State Trail and started pedaling. This section of the Old Abe Trail seemed fairly new, as the path was perfectly smooth, a rare thing for any pavement in Wisconsin. The views along the trail were all fantastic, but the sun was setting and I decided to take pictures in the morning.

Upon arrival at Brunet Island State Park, I registered at the office and basically had the pick of the campground. Luckily, the best site was available (#38), and I was able to pitch my tent by the river as the sun set. The mosquitos weren’t too bad, and I settled in for an early night...

Day Two

An early night means an early morning, especially when a woodpecker lives above your tent. After lying in the tent for an hour or two, I decided to eat breakfast and pack up. The sun was rising and it looked like another beautiful day for the pictures I missed the day before. 

Unfortunately, things didn’t work out once on the trail. Rain clouds blew in from the west and I pedaled faster and faster to beat the storm. Eventually, rain started falling and with nowhere to take shelter, I chose to power through the rain, since I was already wet.

Your favorite local bike shop?

I’m not familiar with shops in close vicinity to the trail, but I recommend Behind Bars Bicycle Shop if you are in Minneapolis, 208 13th Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413.

Tips and Trick?

Don’t pack too light. I definitely could have used more food and water on my morning return.


HOW ABOUT YOU? Inspire others by submitting your bike overnight adventure!

1 response so far ↓

bob - Jun 23, 2016 at 2:30 PM

your quick overnighter sounds good fun ! the fact you did it on a singlespeed is cool ! what is the bike model? gearing? wheels?

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