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by Justin Engebregtsen

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  About the Trail

 

Connecting the past, present and future of Ozaukee County’s Communities

Quick Links

Ozaukee Trailside Birding Guide
History of the Trail
The Trail Today
Tomorrow’s Trail
Trail Map - Community Miles
Public Parking
Advisory Council
Group Reservation Form

Just 15 minutes north of downtown Milwaukee
Less than 2 hours from Chicago, Madison and Green Bay

Print a copy of this page as a brochure - PDF

History of the Trail

Historic Interurban Bridge in Cedarburg

The route of the Ozaukee Interurban Trail is based on the Interurban railway that connected Ozaukee County to the City of Milwaukee and Sheboygan.

In 1922, the right-of-way was acquired by The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company for development of an improved rapid transit service from Milwaukee to Sheboygan. The Northern Route, the interurban electric railway from Milwaukee to Sheboygan since 1908, had stops in the mostly rural communities of Brown Deer, Thiensville, Cedarburg, Grafton, Port Washington, Belgium, Cedar Grove, Oostburg and Sheboygan.

This rapid transit was an electric railway system linking Milwaukee and many of the surrounding communities from its inception in 1905 to the end of all operations in 1951.

During its operation, the Northern Route of the interurban line was also made famous for transporting African-American blues musicians to the main recording studio for Paramount Records recording label in Port Washington and ultimately in Grafton, Wisconsin. The idea of African-American artists from the rural South traveling to Grafton, Wisconsin in the late 1920s and early 1930s by taking the "electric train" seems fantastic.


 

Historic Interurban Rail Car

The Trail Today

Today, the Ozaukee Interurban Trail is a 30-mile paved trail that spans the entire length of Ozaukee County. The majority of the Trail is off-road and perfect for family enjoyment.

The Trail connects the Ozaukee communities of Mequon, Thiensville, Cedarburg, Grafton, Port Washington and Belgium by using the existing right-of-way owned by We Energies. The Trail can be used as a commuter route for employment, businesses, industry, and commerce.

Family friendly!

Trail bridge over the Milwaukee River in Grafton

Unlike many recreational trails in the State of Wisconsin, use of the Ozaukee Interurban Trail is free for everyone.

The trail is intended for year round uses, such as biking, in-line skating, walking, running and cross-country skiing. Motorized vehicles including snowmobiles, and horses are not allowed on the trail.

The Trail route connects historic downtowns with natural landscapes. Views along the Trail include hardwood woodlands, wetlands, farmlands, Cedar Creek, the Milwaukee River, Lake Michigan and it is designated as a “Great Wisconsin Birding Trail.”

 

Enjoy wildlife along the Trail!

Tomorrow’s Trail

The Ozaukee Interurban Trail Advisory Council was formed to assist in the planning and implementation of the Trail.

The Advisory Council’s mission is to promote the safe public use of the Ozaukee Interurban Trail for transportation, recreation, health, education, economic development, and enjoyment of Ozaukee County’s unique cultural, historical and natural resources. The Advisory Council is a diverse representation of all areas of the community in Ozaukee County.

Trail kiosk in Mequon

Mile Markers are located along the entire trail!

Improvement projects along the Ozaukee Interurban Trail include the construction of informational kiosks, benches, directional signage and mile markers.  Future projects    include parking lots, additional restroom facilities, trail overlooks and historical markers. 

Currently, the Ozaukee Interurban Trail Advisory Council is fundraising for a project to make a significant safety, transportation, and aesthetic improvement along a section of the Ozaukee Interurban Trail.

 

The Trail Improvement Project.  Bike bridge spanning CTY W and STH 43 was completed in 2009!

Trail Map

Trail Maps and Rules

For a free Ozaukee County Visitor Guide and Trail Map, contact:

Ozaukee County Tourism Council

or click here for online request

or call 1-877-875-7795

Developed by:
Paul Roback
Community Development Educator
UW-Extension, Ozaukee County

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