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Level: Intermediate
Length: 8 mi (12.9 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Loop
Elevation: +674/ -351 ft
Total: 145 riders

Mountain Biking Emma Carlin

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#20 of 387 mountain bike trails in Wisconsin
#841 in the world

Three loops of varying length with the longest, green loop, measuring 7.5 miles. There is a connector trail that connects to the John Muir Trails in LaGrange, WI that is about 6 miles one way that must be reached by riding one of the loop trails. These trails are technical, all singletrack, & challenging.

First added by hollyanne99 on Sep 4, 2013. Last updated Aug 10, 2021. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: yes
  • Lift service: no
  • Night riding: yes
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: yes
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: yes
  • Fee required: yes
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
Off Hwy 59 between Eagle & Palmyra. Follow the marked signs and turn south onto County Rd Z. Trailhead is on your right about 1/2 mile.
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Emma Carlin Trail map

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Local Info

Trail checkins

Sjumpr1 (on Oct 1, 2022)
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Trail conditions

Good (on Apr 15, 2022)
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Mountain Bike Trails Near Eagle, Wisconsin

Intermediate | 28 mi

Rider questions

Q: do you have to pay for this trail?

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  • Dtarp

    Good trails but not as much flow as the John Muir portion. A bit rocky but still very fun trail system.

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  • Bucky

    Diss is awesome

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  • Eric Stoll

    Excellent and challenging ride. One of the more difficult trails I have ridden but that's what makes it fun! Parking and trail fees are steep, but worth it. Wish I'd had time to ride Connector to John Muir trail....maybe next time.

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  • [email protected]

    A fun trail but the $11 parking $5 trail fee huge turnoff. Wausau, River Falls (free), and many others better but rated lower????. Spoiled cause from Minnesota where all trails are free. Also no jumps anywhere and currently a jungle, face slappers everywhere. Not to nitpick, but the "green" trail's are the harder ones.(nothing was hard) Isn't green universal color for easy?

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  • Collin Buth

    what keeps me from giving the Carlin trails a 5 star rating is it seems to me that the last few years the trails have been getting easier. the trails use to be more technical and more flowy. still fun. still a good workout though

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  • JohnnyD22

    A lot of leaves hiding a lot of rocks. Dicey in some spots but safe as long as you don't try to over power it.

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  • Chris Chambers   ✓ supporter

    I love Emma ! Technical because of rocks and tough steep switchback climbs . It's nice getting to lookout point for the views and then sending it down the last part of the trail back to the parking lot ! There were lots of hikers here on a fall Sunday afternoon . More obstacles to ride!

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  • Brendan Hobart

    It's the Muir system's slightly more technical brother. Tighter turns and more rocks but still nothing much to stop you from riding it straight through. Starting at the lot and taking green to the connector, the connector to Muir and back, then finishing Emma is a great way to spend a few hours

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  • Matthew Bonner

    Very technical, very awesome. I enjoy this trail much more than any other trail in Wisconsin. The climbs are tough but worthwhile because the descents are awesome. To add to that, sweet, flowy sections are commonplace after the lookout, so prepare to have a giant grin. The last descent is awesome, technical, switchbacky, and fast. It's overall a very good trail that's worthwhile going to if you're in the area.

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  • Steve Mehne

    Very Technical with a few very tough climbs. Well laid out and great to ride any time of day swing by backyard bikes for a pint or sandwich afterwards.

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  • brennanperuginiMTB

    I went to Emma Carlin when it was super wet, and leaves were all around. It was an amazing loop, all three are super challenging for intermediate to advanced, lots of rocks and ruts, that are great practice for line choice and bike handling skills. Pretty hard up hills, that pay off with pretty steep, rocky,rutty, and technical features on the whole course.

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  • Bob Prohaska

    This is probably my favorite place to ride in southeastern Wisconsin. Parking at Emma and then riding all the way through the connector trail and back gets you BEAUTIFUL scenery, technical climbs, fast rocky downhills, fun obstacles and an amazing workout. Emma is a hardwood forest with a lot of nice trail. The connector will take you through pine forests and fields as well. The connector has some really fun sandy areas, especially on a fat bike. I can't understand why Muir gets all the attention. I prefer Emma and the connector trails. Well with the trip!

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  • mattbmartin

    You just can't ask for a better set of trails! Pretty technical, killer uphills, and the scenery is fantastic. Can't wait to go back!

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  • Patrick Schmitt

    Imba left, imba right, imba left, imba right... Go to Muir instead unless you like trails with little flow that spend a lot of time in tight turns in thick woods. It has gotten better with the newer additions but still not as good as Muir. Good for beginners looking to get a small taste for a little more technical spots.

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  • Charlie29

    I grew up riding this and the John Mir trail system. Love them both! Ride the connecter trail and you're in for a treat! Emma Carlin has come a long way over the years and I'd say it's the best trail in the area! A must ride for me when ever I am home.

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  • hollyanne99

    This is the more technical trail of the Southern Moraine with plenty of tight curves, rocks, and roots to gain skills. It's a bit frustrating as a beginner, but a confidence booster as a skilled rider to ride it clean. It's one of those trails that a shorter mileage ride feels like the effort of something longer (15 miles here feels like 20-25 on an easier trail). It's also not too rocky that you feel it's no fun - it has just enough that it's more about skill than battering your body!

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  • Carl Chambers

    Very hard uphills, lots of roots and small downed trees to hop. Definitely harder than John Muir. I would say intermediate to Advanced only.

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  • jonmrtn

    I rode John Muir trails a few times and they are great and finally rode Emma Carlin trail last night. I was very happy that even after all the rain the 6 mile orange loop was quite dry. Lots of good up and downs with switchbacks. I agree with other reviewer this would be intermediate not beginner based on singleotracks definition. It would probably be a green trail at Copper Harbor. Been riding Milwaukee paved trails with all the rain so it felt great to be back in the dirt!

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  • *****

    This has always been one of my favorite trails. I say that being more of a technical trailer rider with a 5" dual suspension bike. I have ridden most of the good trails in Wisconsin and I still think that the Emma and John Muir are among the best maintained trails that I have been to. The trail is mostly hard packed dirt with some loose sandy and rocky sections. I use Maxxis Ardent tires and they are perfect for all of the features of this trail. These trails can be as long or short as you want. With some of the short trails being 1-3 miles and the longest being 20 . The longest trail would be starting at the Emma and taking the connector to the John Muir blue loop and then taking the connector back to finish the green loop on the Emma. I do not think that this is really a beginners trail. It has many obstacles that would trip up a beginner rider. I sometimes get kicked off the bike on some of the uphill switchbacks and loose rocky climbs. This trail does have its fair share of hills, but what goes up must come down. This trail has plenty of very fast and somewhat technical downhills as well. Much of the beginning of this trail is new in the past couple of years too. If your in the neighborhood I would recommend stopping by the Emma for some fun.

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  • mikeygb

    what can i say been to this place several times alrwady and i tell you its an epic ride! i guarantee you guys gonna have a good time riding!!!

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