HPT LaCrosse

County: LA CROSSE

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Nearest City: LaCrosse
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Annual Fee: Donation
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La Crosse has some of the coolest scenery in the state. Bluffs surround the city, plush with green foliage and enormous sandstone structures elbowing their way to the forefront-a visual treat. Our drive into La Crosse took us into those visual morsels, and based on conversations with the locals, we realized we'd be riding those steep slopes-- WORK, Damn. HPT (Human Powered Trails) has approximately 10 miles of trails that are woven into a hill side over looking the city below. Easy to difficult trails are available for many levels of riders.

Riders looking for a somewhat pedestrian roll should try the Prairie Loop and the La Crosse Ridge Loop. These grass covered trails are about 8' wide and for the most part are flat and run along the inside of trail system. The north section of the Prairie Loop has a few steeper descents with ruts that make it more challenging than the majority of this easy loop. All of the intermediate and difficult trails are accessible from the easy loops.

Intermediate technical riders will enjoy the blue trails. These intermediate trails are fast with some technical challenges. Start with Imberm, a fast singletrack that winds through a grove of pines leading into the heart of the woods. About two hundred yards into the ride are some strategically placed logs that add a great challenge. Keep to the left and continue along the same trail and you'll find bridges, small rocky sections as well other obstacles that require attention. If you're moving fast, don't blink, you won't realize that you've entered Stinkys. This trail is fast and well balanced; climbing is necessary but will not drain your energy levels. These, as well as Buck Thorn, Hill Pig, Twister and Deadwood are the most technical of the blues. Moon Shine, Lost Loop and Still Hill are on the verge of double track. What makes them intermediate are the fast descents-fast and fun.

Riders looking for a great technical challenge will love the black trails. The technical challenges are unrelenting with constant switchbacks, logs, log piles, rocks, and roots, all on off camber ascents and descents. Skeeter is a short fast downhill that takes you into The French Connection. This winding trail moves up and around the landscape in a relatively small area but covers a lot of distance. Bridges and rock crossings are scattered along the trail. Logs in multiple spots along the single track are in place to prevent out-of-control descents. These can be a bummer when trying to accelerate, but do add a technical element to the ride. At the lowest part of this trail is a nice rock garden to test your riding abilities. After that, climbing begins. Finish off the French Connection then turn left onto Bob, a slow and winding ascent that seems as though it never ends. This is a tough climb if you're a flat lander, but can be an extremely great work out. The tight switchbacks and logs on this uphill climb are a great technical challenge. OB-1 and the Dark Side have similar terrain, obstacles and out-of-this world climbs--When riding, remember, use the force!

This is a great trail system and it's obvious that the team of volunteers and trail designers take great pride in what they have created. It can be a workout at times, but the backdrop is worth the pain. Thanks again to our sherpa and guide, Bob, who was kind enough to lead us for most of our expedition.


  • Overall Trail Difficulty: 4
  • Overall Aerobic Difficulty: 5
  • Overall Trail Rating: 4

Ratings based on a scale of 1-5 • 5 Being the highest •