Hiking and Biking Trails

UW-Whitewater Nature Preserve Information

About 15,000 years ago, a glacier covered what is now the northeast corner of the UW-Whitewater campus. It deposited two 60 foot tall glacial drumlins with a valley and wetland dividing them creating a unique setting for our nature preserve. Today, it is an area of approximately 110 acres.

The UW Board of Regents purchased the land in the 1960s to provide space for planned university housing. When the projected 20,000 enrollment did not materialize, excess state lands were put up for sale. It was even considered a possible state prison site. In 1970, 40 acres of woodland, Friars Woods, was purchased for $203,000 using half LAWCON (Land and Water Conservation Act ) funds and half state land acquisition funds.

The area includes various ecosystems such as woodlands, wetlands, prairie and others. It is an outdoor classroom and laboratory where students and faculty can learn and experiment. The area also includes recreational trails for running, hiking, cross-country skiing or biking.

Download the map below!

UW Biking Map

Check out local bike paths for you to get out and be active around Whitewater!



UW Walking Routes

Looking to get more daily steps in? Click below for various walking paths around campus 

John Muir Trail System

On County Highway H north of the Town of La Grange and US Highway 12 and south of the Town of Palmyra, you will find the popular John Muir biking and hiking trail system. The John Muir Bike Trails are single-track, mountain bike trails that are rough, natural surface trails. Five different loops ranging from 1.25 miles to 12 miles. Parking, water and vault toilets are available.  

  • Brown Loop, easy, 1.25 miles: Mostly flat trail with some small rolling hills; two moderate uphill climbs, one fast downhill and a little rocky ending. 

  • White Loop, moderate, 4.25 miles: Moderate hills, some rocky trail sections; one long downhill, one fast steep downhill and one moderate uphill before reconnecting with the brown loop.

  • Rainy Dew Bypass (purple), hard, 4.7 miles: Moderate trail with a hard rocky up and down hill before reconnecting with the Blue/Green Loops. 

  • Orange Loop, moderate/hard, 5.0 miles: The first half of the trail is the white loop. Includes moderate trail with a hard, long up-hill before reconnecting with the brown loop. 

  • Green Loop, hard/more difficult, 7.0 miles: Moderate trail with very rocky and sandy trail sections; many hard ups and downs, with many fast sections. 

  • Blue Loop, hard/most difficult, 12.0 miles: Hard trail with very rocky section, many hard up hills and several fast down hills. 

  • Skills Course: a very short course to practice trail skills.



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Whitewater, WI 53190

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