Levis Mounds: Front Mounds

An assortment of the most technical trails at Levis Mounds.

Mountain Biking Difficult

Distance
14 km
Ascent
371 m
Descent
371 m
Duration
1-2 hrs
Low Point
307 m
High Point
375 m
Gradient
Levis Mounds: Front Mounds Map

Levis and Trow Mounds (referred to as “Levis Mounds” or simply “Levis” by locals) could quite possibly be one of the first trail systems in the world built by mountain bikers, for mountain bikers. While most other historic trail networks began life as hiking trails that cyclists began to explore on improvised offroad bicycles, the first singletrack at Levis Mounds was constructed by mountain bikers in the mid ‘80s shortly after the Specialized Rockhopper was released.

Description

Since those early beginnings, the singletrack network at Levis has continued to grow and change, developing into a roughly 25-mile trail system that not only functions as a local hotspot, but also as one of the premiere mountain biking destinations in the Midwestern USA. Perusing the Levis parking lot will reveal license plates from all over the nation. Whether it’s mountain bikers making the pilgrimage from the nearby population centers of the Twin Cities in Minnesota or Chicago in Illinois, or riders from far-flung corners of the nation stopping through in the middle of a road trip, the name “Levis” is well-established in the mountain biking lexicon.

Levis is renowned for its tight, technical, old school singletrack. Even the newest trails at Levis have been built by volunteers laboring with hand tools, providing a tight, twisty, techy vibe that permeates all of the trails—from beginner to expert.

The Front Mounds at Levis are home to the tightest, steepest, most technical trails. While you’ll only find a few hundred feet of climbing before reaching the top of the mounds, after a few climbs and descents of the steep, densely-wooded hillsides you’ll quickly rack up some significant elevation gain… for central Wisconsin.

The trails here climb up and over chunky sandstone rocks, exposed roots, and hug the tops of low sandstone cliffs. The views from the top of the mound are camera-worthy, and the tight bench cut descents—while distinctly pedally—will entertain even advanced-level riders.

Due to the tightly-wound trails on the Front Mounds, it can be difficult to discern the best route combination. I recommend this route: Upper Glen -> Porky Point -> Dump ST -> North Face -> Corkscrew -> Toad Road -> Top of Mounds -> Cliffhanger -> Switchback -> Toad Road -> North Face -> Dump ST.

If even a few laps of the Front Mounds in this recommended combination aren’t enough to satisfy, add in the Long Loop route for some more mileage.

Difficulty

Difficult

Mostly stable trail tread with some variability featuring larger and more unavoidable obstacles that may include, but not be limited to: bigger stones, roots, steps, and narrow curves. Compared to lower intermediate, technical difficulty is more advanced and grades of slopes are steeper. Ideal for upper intermediate riders.

Extreme Exposure

4 out of 4

Some trail sections are extremely exposed where falling will almost certainly result in serious injury or death.

Remoteness

1 out of 4

Close to help in case of emergency.

Best time to visit

May, June, July, August, September, October, November

Features

  • Technical
  • Drops
  • Roots
  • Rock Slabs
  • Rock Gardens
  • Wooden Feature

Equipment required

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area