Alpine Valley Resort in Elkhorn, Wisconsin is a resort most well-known for it's outdoor concert venue, ski area, and golf course. The concert venue has graced some of music's biggest rock and roll icons, but this LOCAL OUTDOOR HIGHLIGHT is about how the 8.1-mile mountain bike trail rolls through woods and hills rocking out an offering of over 1000 vertical feet of total ascending and descending.
^This sign, pictured above, is the indicator towhere the mountain bike trailhead is located after driving under the Alpine Valley A-frame sign on the long driveway down towards the ski area. The gravel road takes drivers passed garages, and heavy machinery to the back stretches of the resort until it ends in a parking lot.
^The parking lot is marked by this other sign for self registration and a fee box. A two-dollar fee for a day is relatively reasonable for the area. Sign the release form, include it with your fee in the envelope, and drop it in the metal tube drop box.
^The trail start is marked by this bright red snow gun and the small yellow arrow marker nailed on the trunk of the tree adjacent to the snow gun. The trail at Alpine Valley is basically just one trail loop that can be made smaller with a cut-off point part-way through.
^The trail begins with some up and down as it gradually climbs through the woods up the main elevation of the ski resort. Fall is a beautiful time of year for the trail as the woods blanket the ground with fall color.
^The trail begins traversing the ski area offering up more distant views and nostalgia for winter crossing under chairlifts and passed snow guns.
^Huge mature trees are a main staple of the trail. In the heat of summer they provide shady relief from the heat, and a colorful bonus in the fall.
^The trail also breaks out of the woods into the valley behind the ski area as it climbs around the back on a sub-ridge curling around the backside of the rain washed hillside below the chair lift top station.
^This sign pictured above marks the one turnoff to make the ride longer on the "long loop", or cut back downhill towards the base area for a shorter ride.
^Above, a rider climbs one of the really punchy steep climbs that finish the trail at Alpine Valley. Be sure to save some leg strength for the steep climbs on the second half of the trail. They are not incredibly long, but they are steeper and are also near the end of the ride, which gives the illusion of more difficulty. In the picture above, the rider climbs in the shadow of a big huge old growth deciduous tree pictured below in three frames it was so tall.
^That's a big tree!
^The trail is littered with more unnatural features then many of it's neighboring trail systems. Alpine Valley aided the trail with plenty of wood bridges and scattered rock gardens to bring more features to the trail. The design also turns the trail up and down the elevation to offer up a total of climbing of over a 1000 vertical feet.
^The trail culminates along the river rolling back along the base of the ski area towards the parking lot. Overall the trail trends more towards the advanced side of intermediate then the beginner side, and offers enough challenge to keep expert riders thrilled while providing ample leg burn to even the strongest bikers.
Alpine Valley has obviously put some real investment into their mountain bike trail. Plus, the design and built-in features are evidence in their efforts to wring every last bit of elevation and challenge out of the terrain. It has developed a bit of a reputation for the climbs, but the nature of the climbs spreads the 1000-plus vertical feet of ascent throughout the trail from beginning to end. The variety in the descents also lends itself to keeping it interesting throughout the 8-mile ride in total. Alpine Valley has graced legendary rock stars with summer concert crowds, but the mountain bike trail has local mountain bikers singing praises to a whole different tune.
For more information about Alpine Valley, click here.