FATMAP difficulty grade
While to an outsider Milwaukee might not spring to mind as a city with any outdoor activities, as soon as you start exploring this small metropolis you’ll realize that the city planners have placed a premium on green space and outdoor access despite the area’s industrial past.
In fact, the Milwaukee County Parks system—through which most of this route runs—received a 2009 NRPA Gold Medal Award for the best-managed park system in the nation.
Milwaukee has also been recognized as a Tree City USA for 30 years running, as of 2009 (the latest year [their website](https://city.milwaukee.gov/mpw/general/Awards.htm#2009)provides information for), along with a bronze-level Bicycle Family Community designation. The Tosa Trails form the best in-town mountain bike ride in the city of Milwaukee.
Accessible from many different areas of the city, these trails are located in Wauwatosa specifically—hence the common nickname.
Technically, the route mapped here runs through two different parks—Hoyt Park and Oak Hill—and connects the two of them together with singletrack along the banks of the Menomonee River.
It’s pretty incredible to look at the mileage and realize you can easily connect over 13 miles of singletrack together—and even more, if you are willing to poke around and explore. In the grand spectrum of mountain bike trails, the Tosa Trails are all nontechnical and mellow.
The only technical features you’ll encounter are the occasional tree root or downed tree, but a few small jumps and stunts have been built along these trails in places.
Despite the lack of technical challenge, the quality of the singletrack is superb! The trail bobs and weaves along the river banks, with short, punchy climbs and bench cut trail.
In some places, the trail runs flat through meadows and lowlands, which leads to slow-drying trails when the weather is wet.
This is an unfortunate, but seemingly necessary, blight on the otherwise enjoyable singletrack. Oak Hill is home to the most bike-optimized trails along this route, with improved flow, some banked corners, and bridges designed for mountain bikes.
If you want to clock additional miles really quickly, hanging out at the Oak Hill end of this route is a great choice, as you can easily lap the park, do variants on your laps, and wrack up your mileage without leaving the city. The beauty of the Menomonee River, running through an idyllic green space seemingly in the heart of Milwaukee, provides a delightful relief from the press of traffic, the honking of horns, and the stress of milling around with a million other people.
Listen to the rush of the water, watch the sun filter through the trees overhead, and breath deep of the sweet smell of nature.
This is exactly what you need to maintain your sanity, and the Tosa Trails provide the perfect access to this sweet escape. Sources: https://www.nrpa.org/contentassets/9cb90fb29e0c4220a05e9c92afa2f770/winning-the-gold.pdf