Monroe County offers a wide variety of outdoor activities in every season of the year. If you love silent sports, Monroe County is the place to to spend a few days!
Bike and Hike
The Elroy-Sparta State Bike Trail is a 32 mile rails-to-trails conversion. Graded limestone surface and boasts 3 train tunnels you travel through. Make sure to bring along a flashlight. The La Crosse River State Bike Trail is 22 miles long and parallels the La Crosse River. The scenery is a prairie setting with patches of farmland, forests and wetlands. Less traveled roads are great bicycling experiences as well.
The Tomah Recreational Trail is a pleasurable hiking trail located between Lake Tomah and Veterans Park. There are rustic hiking options as well if you ask permission from area farmers to walk their woods.
These new trail maps are available. You can purchase them at the Sparta Area Chamber of Commerce for just $11.50 or order on line by clicking here.
It features elevations and distances, points of interest, trail-head GPS coordinates, trail-side amenities and more. They are weather resistant, tear resistant, recyclable and printed in the USA.
Includes the Elroy-Sparta State Bike Trail, the 400 State Trail, the Omaha Trail and the Hillsboro State Trail.
Monroe County has 2 beautiful courses for avid golfer!
River Run Golf Course in Sparta is one of the finest 18 hole courses in the State.
Hiawatha Golf Course outside of Tomah is a rolling par 72 course.
If you want a new twist on golfing, try disc golf at Justin Trails Resort or at some of the other disc golf courses around the County.
Canoeing - Kayaking - Fishing Water Fun
Monroe County has some of the finest canoe rivers. Enjoy the wildlife and scenery on the beautiful La Crosse River. The river depth is acceptable for canoeing & kayaking all year summer long. Many streams are calm and perfect for newcomers, yet wild and scenic enough for the experienced canoeist.
Pine View Campground at Fort McCoy has canoe and paddle boat rentals. It is also a great location for spending time with friends and families with water fun at the campground. Enjoy a day at the beach at the Pine View Campground area. Lay and enjoy the sun or play around with the water toys and slides.
If you are looking for landing that prize fish, we offer many great fishing streams, ponds and lakes around the County.
Before trying to fish, hunt, or ride your ATV/UTV or snowmobile, etc., on public lands, please research the location and regulations on dnr.wi.gov and fill out the proper permits for your recreational activities.
Hunting is allowed on most department lands, but please consult the regulations page on the DNR website and well as any signage that may be on the property. For more information, you can call toll free 1-888-WDNRINFO (1-888-936-7463). You can also visit gowild.wi.gov for all registration needs.
Check out the Monroe County GIS map at monroecowi.wgxtreme.com to make your own custom map of snowmobile trails, fishing easements, Monroe County Forest, or DNR managed land.
Ski - Snowmobiling - Tubing Snowshoeing
Cross County skiing is allowed on the Elroy-Sparta State Bike Trail and the La Crosse River State Bike Trail. You can also ski on the River Run Golf Course in Sparta and Justin Trails Resort outside of Sparta.
Downhill skiing and tubing and 5 miles of cross country ski trails are located at Fort McCoy's Whitetail Ridge Recreation Area.
There suddenly appears in the midst of the Monroe County countryside north of Sparta, an unusual sight—a fantastic garden of concrete sculpture decorated with thousands of glittering glass shards. Transforming ordinary materials into an ambitious series of patriotic and religious monuments, Paul and Matilda Wegner created a remarkable "Grotto."
Monroe County is home to many birds. The Big Creek State Fishery Area in Cataract is home to a large variety of birds, including the yellow-bellied flycatchers, brown thrashers, gray catbirds, eastern blue birds and savannah sparrows. Forested areas are home to yellow-bellied sapsuckers, whippoorwills, and the Nashville and black and white warblers.
Avian life is equally diverse at the Fort McCoy Barrens State Natural Area. Rare species include the red-headed woodpecker, Vesper and Henslow's sparrows, bobolink and western meadowlark.
Other birds found in Monroe County include the pileated woodpecker, Acadian flycatcher, blue-gray gnatcatcher, sandhill cranes, ruffed grouse, barred owl, bank and cliff swallows, whooping cranes, American egret, yellow billed cuckoo and Karner Blue Butterfly.