Wisconsin’s Most Unique Tunnel Has a Truly Fascinating History

Wisconsin has been a leader in rails-to-trails conversions (learn more about the first-ever rails-to-trails conversion, the Elroy Sparta trail, here), but there’s a super interesting trail and tunnel about 20 miles southwest of Madison that many Wisconsinites know nothing about. The Badger State Trail runs along a path that used to be used by the Illinois Central Railroad Company, built a rail line from Freeport, IL to Madison, WI in 1886. The company’s trains used this corridor to haul grain, livestock, freight and passengers. Passenger trains ran daily up until the 1960s and freight trains continued to operate until 1976, according to the DNR.

Along this path is the Stewart Tunnel, between Belleville and Monticello, and it’s one of the most unique tunnels you’ll ever get the chance to use.

We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now: https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/nominate/

Check out the DNR’s site for more Badger State Trail information.