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This planning-level project is a paved multi-use (bicycle / pedestrian) path that will extend the Capital City Trail from Interstate 39 on the southeast side of Madison to the Glacial Drumlin State Trail in the Village of Cottage Grove. It generally follows the corridor of the Union Pacific rail line, with some significant deviations. After Madison has completed the trail to I-39 this will be the final remaining gap in a continuous 140-mile path across the State. Completion of this gap is the goal of a 1996 Memorandum of Agreement between the City of Madison, City of Fitchburg, Dane County and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR). Dane County will manage the initial planning and design efforts in partnership with WDNR which is acquiring the needed properties and will direct earmarked federal planning funds to this effort. City of Madison and Village of Cottage Grove are also supporting and coordinating with this project.

The total length of the project is approximately 5 miles from Wagon Trail (just west of I-39) to Cottage Grove.

Construction is not currently scheduled, pending completion of land acquisition, planning studies and environmental investigation.

No cost estimate is available at this time. Most likely, federal funds under the Transportation Enhancements (TE) program will be sought for construction.

This project has been largely on hold for the last year. Federal transportation funds allocated for planning, environmental documentation and design of this project have not been made available pending agreement between WisDOT and WDNR on procedures for property acquisition.  We are optimistic that this will be resolved very soon.

Dane County Parks is the lead agency for this project, in partnership with WDNR, WisDOT and City of Madison.

For the most current information, please contact Mr. Chris James, Dane County Parks Planner at

Updated posted 2/28/14

Public Comments
Have a question or comment on this project? Use the Public Comment Form.
Posted: 07/24/2015
I found some information on the Glacial Drumlin trail expansion at the link below, but I could not find a map. I am wondering if you have a map of where the trail will be, specifically between I-39 and Cottage Grove. Any other information you could provide, such as timing of the expansion would also be appreciated.

City Staff Response:
Dane County is the lead agency for the path from I-39 to the Village of Cottage Grove. The environmental study has not yet been done for this section of path and the final location may not be set in all locations. Best to contact Dane County Parks directly for more information about location and timing.
Posted: 07/20/2015
A safe bicycle route route connecting Madison to Cottage Grove is valuable for Wisconsin's economy. Will the new State budget affect this project or have these dollars already been earmarked to see it through completion?

City Staff Response:
Madison has already budgeted most of the funds for the project from Buckeye to the Interstate and have commitment for federal funds for the section from Vondron to the Interstate. Howeer, much of this hinges on the WDNR and Dane County being able to complete the path from the Interstate to Village of Cottage Grove. The funding for that is probably not solid and may be impacted by state budget. Dane County Parks is taking the lead on that, and it is best to communicate directly with them for this information.
Posted: 06/09/2015
What is the status of this project? I think that it would be a huge marketing point for the state of Wisconsin as a biking state with a 140 miles of consecutive bike paths.

City Staff Response:
City of Madison is actively working on the path from Buckeye Road to I-39, with construction scheduled in 2016 and 2017. Dane County is the lead agency for the continuation from I-39 to the Village of Cottage Grove, in partnership with WDNR. This is a high priiority project for the County as well. For the latest status it is best to contact Dane County Parks directly.
Posted: 08/06/2014
Saw this article today:

Will this funding affect this project? What are segments 4 through 6 of the Cap City Trail? Thank you.

City Staff Response:
Yes. This project was the City's top priority  for the current round of federal Transportatin Alternatives (TA) grants. The award helps make the project a reality and adds some urgency to our schedule. Segments 4-6 comprise the path on the south side of the RR tracks from Vondron Rd to the Interstate, including a connection to the end of Wagon Trail.
Posted: 02/28/2014
The status above does not seem to be related to the Glacial Drumlin trail extension, as it references McDaniel Park in McFarland. Is there any update for the Glacial Drumlin/Cap City trail extension?

City Staff Response:
You are correct and thanks for bringing this to our attention. We mistakenly posted this status, which relates to the Lower Yahara Path, also being designed by Dane County, I will correct it ASAP
Posted: 01/23/2014

Wondering if there are any updates, thanks


City Staff Response:
Thanks for the request. An update was posted on 1/23/14.
Posted: 05/18/2011
I am sorry I had to miss the meeting on this project that was held at the East District Police Station on May 12, 2011. Would somebody give me a synopsis of what happened at the meeting? Also, is there any chance that the sections of path that were planned but did not get completed between Cottage Grove Road and Buckeye Road will get completed? Union Pacific would not allow right-of-way and the trail ended up following city streets in order to connect with the path section in Acewood Park. I have seen surveyors in the area that was supposed to be path but not build. May I get my hopes up?

City Staff Response:
We posted a summary of the meeting on this same Bike Madison site but under Capital City Trail, Buckeye to I-39.  It is listed under "Projects in Design".
If ownership of the rail corridor changes it would not only affect how we could build the Buckeye to I-39 segment but we would also try to complete the full project for the Cottage Grove Road to Buckeye segment.  So, get your hopes up and keep in touch!