Ahnapee State Trail County Park
Ahnapee State Trail spans from the city limits of Sturgeon Bay to the Door/Kewaunee county lines, Continues into Kewaunee County towards Algoma, Kewaunee and the Luxemburg and Casco area.
The route follows the retired railroad line of Ahnapee and Western. The railroad line moved freight and passengers in and out of Door County between 1894 and 1968 and was a vital link during World War II with Algoma’s plywood industry and Sturgeon Bay’s shipyards. Powered by either steam or diesel, the trains hauled lumber, dairy products, cherry crops and passengers in and out of Door County.
The State of Wisconsin obtained the stretch of railroad grade when it was retired from service as a rail line and added it to the state trail system. A lack of funding to maintain the trail prompted the state to forge a partnership with the County of Door. In mid-1994, Door County signed a 15-year renewable lease with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for the operation and maintenance of the Ahnapee State Trail, an abandoned railroad track. The lease designated that the trail become a part of the County Parks System. In 1995, funding in excess of $175,000 was provided through state and federal funds to upgrade and improve the trail under the supervision of the Door County Parks Department.
Since then, the trail has been rehabilitated. It was resurfaced with quarry wash, narrow culverts were replaced—creating a wide and open trail—and a low area west of County Road S was raised four feet. Stories have been told about how the trains would go through that low area in the spring and be pushing water. In winter, ice would form there and the train would not be able to run.
The trail is a level and hard surface ideal for family biking, hiking and horseback riding. Starting in Sturgeon Bay the trail travels through the countryside, several swamps, farm fields, through the Town of Maplewood and the Village of Forestville passing by the dam and millpond, and along the Ahnapee River before turning (heading) towards Algoma and a fairly large, scenic bridge.
A variety of wildlife can be seen on the trail including deer, turkey, and many other species of birds.
In winter, it is a snowmobile trail that is groomed by the Door Drifters Snowmobile Club. When the trail is not open to snowmobile travel, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing can be enjoyed.
Access to trail:
- The Forestville Dam County Park is a wayside stop and access point along the trail with restrooms, playground and pavilion.
- Maplewood Wayside at 1613 Highway 42 with restrooms and parking..
- Sturgeon Bay Trailhead at 1820 Neenah Street with restrooms and parking.
- As well as in Kewaunee County at Algoma, Kewaunee, Luxemburg and Casco.