LOCAL OUTDOOR HIGHLIGHT : Silver Lake Park Single Track Mountain Bike Trails

Silver Lake County Park near Wilmot, Wisconsin, just east of Lake Geneva, has a lot of outdoor recreation to offer, but this highlight focuses on the new single track mountain bike trails recently built in partnership with the Southeast Wisconsin Trails Alliance(SEWTA). The beach at Silver Lake Park has always been popular, but the mountain bike trail system parking lots have quickly become consistently full as well. The word is out that these mountain bike trails are here, and that they are really good mountain bike trails too.

Flow trail single track is easily the most broadly
loved trail type in the fast growing sport of mountain biking. The rolling hills and woods of southeast Wisconsin, and Silver Lake Park specifically, is the perfect kind of terrain for this trail type. The Kenosha County Parks system teamed up with local SEWTA organizers to take advantage of this natural blessing to the area developing a new trail system that can hold its own on a national level. The locals are friendly too.

^Here a local man helps someone new to the park by explaining some of his favorite routes through the system. One of the best features of the mountain bike trails at Silver Lake Park is that many of the trials are not only single track, but also one-way directional as well. There are a few "connector" trails, that are named as such, as well as plenty of double track that weave throughout the system that have two way traffic, but a good selection of the single track are one-way directional, which offers many benefits in traffic management, trail maintenance, and more. Many simply like it because they can have a little more piece of mind to let it roll with some speed knowing that there will not be any oncoming traffic around a corner.

^This is a trail map of the mountain bike trails in the park, and it is also good practice to link up with the Silver Lake Trail Club of SEWTA's Facebook page to keep informed of trail closures and news. This is Wisconsin, and although we have great dirt for flow trail single track, and SEWTA did an amazing job in trail design and managing drainage in this system, we do get a good amount of rain. Riding soaked muddy trails leaving tire ruts all over is a big mountain bike etiquette "no-no", so knowing trail closures and following good mountain bike ethics is paramount in the success of any trail system. This great new system is no exception. It really is kind of a big deal. Here below is an essential read to click-on regarding ethics for the trail system and check the SEWTA page before a ride to be informed.

^Yes, this is Wisconsin, and these trails are in the woods. Mosquitos are a real consideration for anyone venturing out on the trails at Silver Lake Park. Keep the wheels rolling and the swarm remains at bay, but stop and rest for a period of time and you'll understand. Any local knows this is just a way of life in the area, but it is worth mentioning for folks visiting.

^In this picture above a local man rounds the corner on the "KD Line Connector" trail high atop a hill in an old gravel pit area of the park with the beach fee station off in the distance. This park indeed has some fees from time to time on holidays and you should check the County website in order not to be caught by surprise when the fee holidays are being charged. The vast majority of the year though the riding is free to the public.  

^Above a man climbs across the valley towards the top of a hill on the KD Line Connector trail. 

^In this picture above a woman winds her way through the deep dark pine forrest of "The Pines" loop trail, which was the test pilot trail for the partnership that blossomed between Kenosha County Parks and SEWTA. When this trail was so enthusiastically enjoyed the County green-lighted the rest of the trail system that now exists today. The system travels through a variety of micro eco-systems within the park from high atop the old gravel pit area, to deep dark pine tree forests, to bright green woods, and past giant mature old growth trees. 

The Silver Lake Park mountain bike trails have good spectrum of difficulty as well. There is a beginner's loop named, "Tike-onderoga", there are wide double track trails that are almost always open that weave through the system of single tracks serving as connectors as well as beginner trails for a new biker that is not ready to step-up to single track, but is ready to get off the pavement. "Highline" trail is rated difficult and features some small A/B options for some air time as well as some technical turns, roots, and swooping gullies that can get the heart pumping with adrenaline. You won't find big nasty downhiller's trails with jumps, gaps, tables and such in this system, but you will find really good flow trail single track with enough distance and route flexibility to please any level of mountain biker at Silver Lake Park. Bring a trail map on your phone or whatever because it can be slightly tricky to navigate for a first timer, but as mentioned above the locals are also really friendly and most would love to help any new comer navigate the trail system. 

For more information, maps, and directions from the Kenosha County Parks website, click here.