Levis Mounds: Long Loop

Maximize your singletrack distance at Levis with this recommended long loop.

Mountain Biking Difficult

Distance
23 km
Ascent
424 m
Descent
424 m
Duration
1-2 hrs
Low Point
302 m
High Point
374 m
Gradient
Levis Mounds: Long Loop 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.

If you want to maximize your singletrack mileage at Levis, follow this recommend long loop to the furthest reaches of the trail system and back. This mostly cross country-style singletrack route offers moderate climbing and descending, but it will feel like more. Despite not having any massive technical features, the constant barrage of roots and small rocks on the Yellow Jacket trail can feel punishing—especially when you’re trying to pedal fast.

The most remote mounds on the other side of Gorman Avenue offer the most sustained climbing and descending in the trail system. Some of the newer trails on the far mounds even offer low berms and moderate jumps—Levis’s rendition of a handbuilt flow trail.

The Sidewinder trail is the true highlight of this route, and arguably of the entire trail network. With significant exposure on the upper trails, and wide wooden bridges crossing yawning chasms, you’ll ask yourself: “Am I really mountain biking in Central Wisconsin?”

The return journey on Upper Hermosa is much more technical than the journey out on Yellow Jacket. For beginners, opting to return on Wolf Run instead could be a good option.

Lower Hermosa provides a fun flowy finish to the far mounds, returning the rider back to the front half of the system.

Still haven’t had enough pedaling? Add in some loops on the Front Mounds for more elevation gain and more tech. See separate description for more info.

If you trend more toward the beginner end of the spectrum but still want to keep pedaling, opt for an easier route around the base of the mounds on Select Cut -> Warm Up -> Snodgrass.

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

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

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

Features

  • Flow
  • Technical
  • Roots
  • Tabletops
  • Rock Slabs
  • Rock Gardens
  • Wooden Feature

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area