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Tags:
Level: Intermediate
Length: 7 mi (11.3 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Network
Elevation: +68/81 ft
Total: 86 riders
 

Mountain Biking Alpha Trail

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#154 of 382 mountain bike trails in Wisconsin
#8257 in the world

This is a 3 mile loop with a couple cuts to make it an even shorter loop. All singletrack with a couple technical sections. Riders before 2013 will remember a longer set of trails that the Alpha Trails connected to at Crystal Ridge ski area, though those trails are now pay per use through The Rock Sports Complex. The Alpha Trail remains free, and The Rock updated a portion of it to the south of the ski hill that allows Alpha riders to use free.

First added by lynchtm on Apr 28, 2020. Last updated Apr 28, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: yes
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: unknown
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
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Getting there
In Franklin, WI (south of Milwaukee) at the Crystal Ridge Ski Area

where south 76th meets Crystal ridge road
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Alpha Trail Trail map

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phelps420 (on Sep 30, 2019)
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Trail conditions

Poor (on Aug 17, 2019)
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Mountain Bike Trails Near Franklin, Wisconsin

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Advanced | 7 mi

Rider questions

Q: I'm from North Carolina and I was really looking for some technical singletrack to ride while I was visiting Milwaukee. Someone from a LBS here told me about this trail and I found the info on this site. I spent a long time looking for the trailhead from the map above and eventually found what I thought was the entrance next to an archery range. I got about 100ft down the trail before I found that it was closed with downed logs. Is there another entrance or are these trails no longer maintained?
A: The best place to park and access the Alpha Trail is off 92nd St in a parking lot for a public golf course. From the parking lot, you cross 92nd St and are at the top of a hill. Towards the bottom of the hill, there is a trail off to the right and that is part of the Alpha Loop. The Alpha Loop used to include more trails, but a complex called The Rock was built as a downhill mountain bike park (accessed off 76th St and Crystal Ridge Rd) which took some of the trails away. However, just last week they announced they will no longer operate the downhill bike park and they opened up those trails for XC use, but require a $5 day pass that you pay at a station within their parking lot (I have not been yet, so I cannot direct). If you are strictly staying on the Alpha Loop, it is free (follow Alpha loop signs near the former bike park). Also, there is a Wednesday night series of racing that takes place there (I think around 6pm), so watch out for that. If you are willing to drive a bit further, Emma Carlin and Camrock also have technical trails.

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Reviews

  • remo032
    ****

    To find the trail head cross 92nd St. into the field then turn left. You will go past the old toboggan shed (on your right) keep going north to the tree line and you will see openings. The one on the right is the entrance and usually has a map of the trail. Currently the Alpha trail is completely clear of downed trees. The Rock complex portion of the trail is completely closed with no trespassing signs due to construction. The trail is still well maintained and one of my favorites for the area. It does take a while to dry out after a rain though.

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  • MoreTrife
    ****

    Nice short trail. Not very difficult but has pretty good flow and a few decent downhills. I couldn't figure out how to use The Rock portion...it may be closed now? I did sneak onto Crystal Ridge and ride down the ski hill trail that people seem to have established but probably shouldn't have done that both for trespassing purposes and riding my brakes too hard haha. But overall good trail and closer than John Muir.

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  • Bobzer68
    ****

    Trail is good. Snow covered but well packed. Careful of hidden rocks covered by snow.

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  • ewald.eric
    ****

    Good trail in Milwaukee area with some good climbs (even small portion of ski hill) and some very fast flowing downhill sections. It does get a little muddy in parts by the river, even when trial is open, I would go after a good few days of no rain.

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  • Amyfishgirl
    ****

    Extended blue loop has permanent muddy damage throughout, an impossible tree-gate, and a downed tree in the path. Other than that the rest of the trail was great.

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  • William Dussault
    ***

    Years ago this was the best trail around. Then someone bulldozed half of it and made baseball parks. the remaining sections are still good although it is really tough to find the trail entrance. There are sections

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  • Matthew Bonner
    ****

    There is a great mix of terrain here, from tight and twisty river bottom to flowy, meandering descents. The section near the Root River can be pretty muddy, so never use the trail head to gauge how muddy the river section is. This trail is fun for any rider, although a beginner may have to walk a few sections.

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  • maborchardt
    *****

    Trail is in great shape. All blown off, a little greasy down by the river, but not bad

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  • Collin Buth
    ****

    this is my favorite trail system in the area. it is easier but it has flow and you cant find some more technical lines. if you explore the trails you will find a very long, leg burning climb all the way to the top of the ski hill, along with the old ROCK complex downhill jump lines. in my opinion, this location could be the premier spot in Milwaukee but it does seem to get neglected more than Minooka. also, of all the trails around this is the only one where hikers do seem to get pissy. they will move logs into the way of the trail, so watch out.

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  • HaydMastaFlex
    ****

    A pretty good trail local to Milwaukee. The Alpha trail doesnt feature as many technical sections as Minooka Park but for sure has better flow for faster xc riding. When approaching the climb by the old Rock area, if you continue past the left turn trail sign, you can take advantage of the abandoned intermediate and advanced downhill sections left behind from The Rock. The downhill sections are a little overgrown but they give the Alpha Trail that spark that makes it totally worth it for more advanced riders. Just watch out for the creepy mannequins and what looks to be like a cult worship area. Super weird! All in all, a good trail for riders of all skill levels!

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  • maborchardt
    *****

    Great trail, really well groomed, gets a little sloppy down by the river, but majority of it is real tacky and flowy

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  • Steve Mehne
    ***

    Fun place to ride, mostly flat only a couple of small climbs. Forget about it if the river is up or it rained in the last 2/3 days, the swampy section turns into a giant mud run so pay attention to the weather. Lots of wild life to be seen on these trails.

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  • Bob Prohaska
    ***

    The Alpha trail is nice if you can't get out to any of the other trails in the area. There are some pretty sections amongst the hardwoods. The section by the river stays wet pretty long and isn't very interesting. There is a fast little downhill section that is fun. Overall it's nothing special, but it's still nice to have trails in the area so definitely no complaints.

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  • irepathletics
    ****

    Short on time today and from out of town but this was well groomed and hard packed trail in good shape today. Did not get to venture much or multiple loops as I started near dusk from the golf course lot. Used xc 29er and rolled over everything easy just tight single track made this slow and not much flow. Notice very technical bit good experience.

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  • rookiebiker7635
    ****

    This is a fun course that has good uphills and a fun down hill section. It is a little confusing to find the second half of the alpha trail, but just ask anyone who is on it and they will point you in the right direction. There are some wet sections that tend to always be wet. Quality for being so close to Milwaukee!

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  • hollyanne99
    ***

    I give this a rating of 3 because of how short it is and how wet it tends to stay after rain & the spring thaw. It is about a 3.5 mile loop with the added Rawson portion with a fun down-hill flow portion. It is a bit technical in some portions with tight turns. It is fantastic for those living in the area to get in a fast ride without driving far, but not somewhere you would want to ride day after day or to build up to do long rides.

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  • burnakey
    ***

    When you get to Whitnall Park, you should park in the golf parking lot at the top of the hill. The MTB trail begins across the road. A plethora of long forgotten picnic tables tossed in a pile will be a good marker that you are in the right area.
    The Alpha trail has a great entrance that drops you in through the woods. Once you make your way to the bottom of the hill you will cross a grass valley. This will bring you to the wooded entrance of what most would consider the main area of the Alpha Trail. You will have to climb consistently up numerous switchbacks once entering the woods. Not much for flow is involved in this trail. Once you reach the top of the hill after 10 minutes of climbing, the descent awaits. Some major speed can be picked up on the way down the hill. The trail has minimal obstacles and is well ridden. Near the bottom you will run into part of The Rock's trail. I suggest entering back into the Alpha loop and climb the switchbacks a second or third time. It's a quick trail if you don't make a few laps. Once you begin the exit out of the Alpha Loop prepare for plenty of mud. I went at the beginning of August without a week of rain. I couldn't see the treads of my tires, there was so much mud. It'll take another 10 to 20 minutes depending on conditions to make the trip back to the parking lot.
    This trail is pretty standard in terms of difficulty. The ride is a good workout with a few fun sections thrown in to make the trip worthwhile. - burnakey

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  • hollyanne99
    ***

    The Alpha Trail in its current state is a loop just over 3 miles if you select the longest route. It makes for a decent workout if you do multiple loops and there are some technical parts, though not as many as it once had prior to the Rock taking over some portions. There is a fun downhill portion with banked curves that has been added in the past couple years. The downside to this trail is it's often wet and unrideable much of the spring.

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  • *****

    One of the reviews mentioned the ski hill and tough climb up / switchbacks coming down. That was true until The Rock sports complex bought the hill and transformed it to a very fun pay per use downhill park. The Alpha trail is still free and very much fun. Summer of 2014 has been very wet here so the trail has been closed until we get some dry weather.

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