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Level: Intermediate
Length: 28 mi (45.1 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Figure 8
Elevation: +661/ -593 ft
Total: 228 riders

Mountain Biking Kettle Moraine John Muir + Emma Carlin

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#18 of 387 mountain bike trails in Wisconsin
#804 in the world

There are many different loops with many different options for rides. Ranging from a 4 mile ride, to this 28 mile ride which took
3.75hrs. The terrain ranges from rolling singletrack, to very technical rocky sections. Very tough climbs and some screaming
downhills. From meadows, dense forest, to pine stands with sandy soil. Its a great 'all-mountain' feel from the Midwest. definitely
a gem for the area. There is the southwester section called the John Muir trails which runs only clockwise for mountain bikers. It
has a few cheater lines so this section can be as short as 4 miles, or up to 8 or so. Great facilities in the lot. From the northern
corner, there is an offshoot which can guide you to the connector trail. This trail itself is a 6 mile ride over to the Emma Carlin trail
loop. This connector and the Emma Carlin trail system are a bit more wild and feel more detached- which make it much more
demanding. One could also park at the Emma Carlin TH parking lot which is up further north.

Link here: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?

First added by mikeserafin_ on Jan 17, 2012. Last updated May 11, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: unknown
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: unknown
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
Take rt 12 to County HWY H north for a mile to reach the parking lots.

TH link: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?
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Kettle Moraine John Muir + 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 Dec 19, 2021)
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Camping & Lodging

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Kettle Moraine John Muir + Emma Carlin videos

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Mountain Bike Trails Near Palmyra, Wisconsin

Intermediate | 8 mi
Intermediate | 10 mi

Rider questions

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  • JohnnyD22

    Always a treat, the blue trail offers some great technical combined with some great hills, especially the last "hill b4 the lot"!!
    Remember.....safety first! I've seen people bloody, walking their Yeti bikes out too.
    And yes, they were crying.

    There are many trail options for different skill levels. Overall excellent experience.

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  • Grunsy152

    I've gone to his trail my whole life an even know it has changed throughout the years i still love it! I've ridden on here with a hardtail and a full and have had great experiences. Make sure to bring bug spray there because you'll encounter a lo of mosquitoes and gnats.

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  • flindman

    These trails are great in regards to challenge, elevation and overall fun in the woods for all ages. The Emma Carlin is my favorite with it's single track, sweet log obstacles and banked turns. John Muir is also great with some easier options for the whole family to enjoy.

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  • Adam Ingersoll

    Near-perfect winter conditions at Muir today. There were five downed trees on the blue loop. Two were hoppable and two had ad-hoc detours. Only one required a dismount.

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  • Brian Sachse

    I thought the trails this weekend were on point. Had a blast and would recommend this trail to anyone. It lives up to it's reputation.

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  • Randall Swanson

    Trails are in exceptional shape. Thank you for such wonderful trail conditions!!!!

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  • Knobbycheese

    Emma Carlin used to be an amazing trail. Most of this trail system has become tight switchbacks and useless turns designed to zap any momentum. You'll need to hit the brakes every few seconds, so it really takes away from the fitness value. The Muir trail is headed this way as well. Dissapointing.

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  • the_salaminzer

    All XC. There is a few somewhat fun sections, but it's mostly lost of pedaling. Over the past few years, they have been making it less technical. It closes due to rain quite easily. Good place to work on endurance, not so much to work on bike skills.

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  • DharmaScout

    While the Orange is listed as a shorter, intermediate, it's steep, narrow and rocky, without much downhill and flow to justify the effort. Lots of work, not much reward. Though when we were there, they had trail maintenance and a detour, so perhaps we didn't ride the full Orange experience. A couple loops of the Brown was fun, though not much of a challenge.

    The ride atmosphere on a Summer Weekend is festive. Families. Kids. Riders of all stripes. Big picnic area and shelters. Water. Restrooms. Bike wash setup repair station. Great place to make new friends! Bring a cooler and some lawn chairs for after ride schmoozing.

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  • Brendan Hobart

    One of my favorite trail systems in Wisconsin. Not as technical as Levis or as many miles as CAMBA, but definitely worth a day or two to explore

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  • Jesse Mattson

    The weather was 80 and sunny at the time of the ride. Best ride of the year!!

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  • Steve Mehne

    This is a trail system with something for everyone. Tons of mileage and plenty of technical aspects, avoid the crowds by parking at emma carlin riding the longest loop at emma to the connector then the blue loop at muir. take a mid ride stop at backyard bikes. That will get you around a 30 mile loop without seeing the same thing twice! Great for training for endurance rides. rolling terrain keeps it interesting. John muir is much wider and smoother than emma so if you're looking for more technical elements head to emma.

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  • yanks

    These trails have just about everything, easy to very hard. Worth the trip.

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  • Matthew Bonner

    Awesome trail, pretty hilly for Wisconsin. every thing from fast flowy sections to super rocky uphill. There are even some awesome technical parts including the "Manogator." Must do trail system if your any where near southern Wisconsin.

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  • JBX

    lots of tough trails

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  • mtn417

    Awesome EPIC if you do Blue(Muir) - Connecter - Green (Emma). One of the best marked/maintained trails I have ever been on. John Muir stuff is fun and fast. Connecter is fun but a tad over grown in spots. Emma is definitely harder of the two, and wouldn't she be. Best riding near MKE and CHI hands down.

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  • stazera

    All the trails are well maintained and have good markings. I strongly believe that these are the best MTB trails around northern chicago area. Its worth the drive and money spent for annual parking permit and annual trail pass.

    The John muir trails are move groomed and well maintained. This is where even the beginner can start MTB as the brown loop is a good beginner level loop.

    Also you will find lot of kids and family riders in John muir trails.

    This trail also has a bike stand clamp and water cleaning station at the John Muir trail head.

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  • burtman44

    Rode early in the morning. Great ride and the colors are spectacular this time of yr. Had the trail to myself being it was early on a Monday morning. Love these trails.

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  • abegold

    Plenty of shade and few people were seen riding in these glacial morain formed hills. Didn't find tech trails here

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  • *****

    Kettle Moraine south is a neat loop within a loop type trail system. It has some nice challenges for riders of all skill levels.

    Trails are well maintained.

    The ratings in the posted maps are misleading. The orange loop is the hardest technically of all the loops. The blue loop is the longest and somewhat challenging. Because of its length you get to experience various levels of terrain.

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