Richard Bong Offers Trails for Every Season.
Hiking, biking, walking, cross-country skiing, ATV & dirt biking, horseback riding or snowmobiling…whatever you’re into, the park offers trails for every season! The trails are set in a series of concentric circles which total almost 50 miles!
Hiking/Skiing/Mountain Biking Trails
The hiking, X-country skiing and mountain biking trails all start and end at the Trailhead parking lot. This lot is located just east of the Visitor Center parking lot and is marked with a “Trailhead Parking Lot” sign. Find the bulletin board in that lot and follow the colored arrow that corresponds to the color of the trail you want to hike or bike. Colored coded posts along the way make sure you are on the right trail. Below is a brief description of each trail. The trails are a series of concentric loops. “You are Here” signs should be posted at each junction. All mileage is measured from the Trailhead lot.
Trails North of Hwy. 142
You may hike, ski or bike (non-motorized bikes) on these northern trails. Bike riders 16 years of age and older need a trail pass. Dogs are allowed on a leash 8′ or less. When trails are snow covered, dogs are only allowed on the service roads and the portion of the Red Trail north of Hwy BB (ask for “A Guide for You and Your Dog” for rules). Ski trails are not groomed. When ski tracks are present, please do not walk on them.
Gray Trail (1.7 miles/one hour)
Relatively flat with no steep grades. Crossing Hwy 142, the trail passes a nice pond to the west before heading through a semi-wooded area. At the turnaround point, the trail turns south through a heavily wooded area then turns east again to complete the loop and re-join the initial trail section leading back to the parking lot.
Yellow Trail (4.4 miles/2 hours)
Generally level to moderately rolling trail traversing a nice mixture of grassland, woodland, and wetland. This is a good trail for birding. The trail crosses a paved road at the north and south ends of the loop. The raised ridge portion of the trail was built as the entrance road to the planned Bong Air Force Base. The trail exits on the west side of the ridge via stairs.
Orange Trail (6.4 miles/3 hours)
This trail crosses Hwy BB twice as well as a county road at its northern end. At the first crossing, a pit toilet, hand pump and picnic tables offer a shaded rest stop in a hardwood forest. This trail provides benches that overlook wetlands and it winds through grassland punctuated with scattered brush. There are wooded areas as well. This trail gets very wet in the spring.
Red Trail (8.3 miles/ 4 hours)
The park’s longest trail touches on many vegetative types. On its far north end, the trail gives a nice overview of what much of the park’s topography looked like before the landscape was altered by the Air Force. After the trail leaves the west junction of the Red/Orange loops, it passes through some nice wetland areas before turning east toward the parking lot. The northern-most portion is the best place in the park to spot bluebirds.
Trails South of Hwy. 142
You may only hike or ski on these southern trails, no bikes are allowed. Dogs are allowed on a leash 8′ or less. When trails are snow covered, dogs are only allowed on the service roads and the portion of the Red Trail north of Hwy BB (ask for “A Guide for You and Your Dog” for rules). Ski trails are not groomed. When ski tracks are present, please do not walk on them.
Green Trail (1.8 miles/one hour)
Entirely north of Wolf Lake. A boardwalk between two small ponds is at the start of the trail, a good place to look for waterfowl. This trail travels through a beautiful restored prairie and a small wood lot with good spring wildflowers. One of the finest overviews of Wolf Lake exists on the return part of the loop, just past the turnoff for the Blue Trail.
Blue Trail (4.2 miles/2 hours)
One of the nicest trails, it takes you through prairie and woodland, past wetlands and around Wolf Lake. The trail crosses the dam (near Hwy 75) that impounds Wolf Lake. Look here for recent beaver activity. The trail just south of the dam dips rather steeply towards the south shore of the lake. This is an incredible place for spring wildflowers. The trail enters grassland after leaving the shore, skirting several small ponds before crossing the paved access road to the beach. Restrooms, water and a playground are available at the beach.
Self-Guided Nature Trails
Dogs and bicycles are prohibited on these trails. The interpretive signs offer good introductory information before hiking other park trails.
Visitor Center Nature Trail (0.7 mile/30 minutes)
Limestone-surfaced trail. The trail is almost completely in the open except for a small woodlot near Wolf Lake. A boardwalk overlooks beautiful Wolf Lake.
Vista Nature Trail (1 mile/one hour)
Closed in winter. This trail is not heavily used due to its isolation from the rest of the park. Enjoy its peacefulness. To access the trail, park at the Vista parking lot off Hwy B. The trail enters a beautiful hardwood forest, and dips slightly to the west past a small pond. This is an excellent birding area for woodland species, especially in May. The trail ends at a shelter, where pit toilets and a hand pump are located.
ATV/Dirt Bike Trails
Want to be the adventurous type? Head out to the ATV and dirt bike trails. The ATV must be registered prior to arrival. You will also need a State Park admission sticker on the vehicle that tows in the ATV(s).
Fees and Registration
- All ATVs (not dirt bikes) must be registered with the Wisconsin DNR (or another state displaying decals) before arrival and riding.
- Dirt bike riders age 16 and over must possess a valid trail pass. Daily or annual trail passes may be purchased at the park office or at the self-registration station.
- Any vehicle bringing ATVs or dirt bikes into Richard Bong State Recreation Area must have a valid daily or annual state park admission sticker. You can buy stickers at the park office or at the self-registration station.
- Failure to self-register may result in a citation.
- Dirt bikes and ATVs up to 48″ wide, weighing up to 900 pounds, with 3 or 4 low pressure tires, and a seat that can be straddled, are allowed on the trails. Dune buggies, go carts, or other off-road vehicles including trucks are not permitted.
- ATV (not dirt bike) operators at least 12 years of age and born on or after January 1, 1988 must have a DNR ATV safety certificate. Persons 11 and under may only operate ATVs with egines 90ccs or less, and MUST be accompanied by a parent.
- Helmets are required for all ATV operators/passengers under age 18. Helmets are required to be worn with chin strap fastened by ALL Dirt Bike operators. It is suggested all other wear helmets and safety gear and drive responsibly.
- A functioning muffler approved by the US Forest Service is required.
- Call 262-878-5600 before you come to hear the daily message about trail availability.
- Trail availability is determined on a daily basis. Trails may be closed due to weather or poor trail conditions or reserved for other activities. Hours of operation are 9AM to sunset.
- All trails are closed each day until 2PM during the pheasant hunting season.
- Unloading is permitted only within the fenced area of the ATV/Dirt Bike parking lot.
- The trail is generally flat with many sharp turns. The trail has 2 one way loops, totaling 4.3 miles. ATVs and Dirt Bikes MUST remain on the trail at all times, regardless of trail conditions.
- Speed limit on the beginner’s loop is 10mph. Speed Limit on the other loops is 25mph.
- As a responsible Off-Road operator, it is your responsibility to learn and respect all rules and laws.
- Operation on gravel service roads, the runway, or in parking lots is prohibited and may result in a citation.
NOTE: All other DNR rules apply.
Horseback Riding Trails
To ride horses:
1. Anyone 16 years of age or older will need a Trail Pass, cost is $4/day or $20/year.
2. If you trailer your horses in, the vehicle pulling the trailer will need a State Park admission sticker. You may purchase that when you arrive. Cost for cars with Wisconsin plates is $7/day or $25/year; for cars without Wisconsin plates the cost is $10/day or $35/year. If you arrive when the office is closed you must self-register for an admission sticker or be subject to a fine.
3. Unloading for the west end trails is at Parking Lot J. Unloading for the east end trails is at the Trailhead parking lot.
4. There is no facility that rents horses to bring into the park to ride though there are places to rent and ride horses off-property.
5. Please pick up and remove your horse waste from parking lots.