I was out in Sun Prairie yesterday finishing the bottling of my Amber Ale, and decided as long as I’m out there, I should explore some new running routes. Ye ol’ lakeshore/arb loop can only be run so many times before you feel like you’re losing your mind.
The closest option of any significant size looked to be Token Creek County Park, located a few miles from the airport, right off of 39/94 on your way to the Dells in the Towne of Burke and Deforest.
The park itself is kind of great. Your can Access the Virtual Map here. In it’s 427 acres, there are shelters for cookouts, a baseball field, a disc-golf course, a massive pet exercise area, miles of hiking/skiing/running trails, and a campground. It was even home to a grissly murder!!
I’m obviously concerned with the running trails, and they were fine. Some of the park is a marshland, so the trails felt too sloppy at times. I’m sure they dry up a bit in summer, but it wasn’t a blissed out trail run on this occasion. Most of the trails are trampled grass, although there are patches of forest floor dirt. The terrain is pancake-flat for the most part. I hopped into the pet exercise area, where I was also able to complete a 3/4 mile loop on cedar chips(I dont know why the dogs get the good stuff…)
Without significantly retracing your steps, I’d guess you could reasonably do about a 4-5 miles within the park. I eventually left the park for an out and back run on one of the amazing country roads to get in 10 (slow) miles for the day.
All things considered, It was a quiet, peaceful change of scenery, and I’ll probably return if only to veg in the country grass with my lady.
Pros: Beautiful place to spend a day with your family. Lots of activities. Only a few minutes outside of Madison but with how quiet it is, it feels much farther away. No traffic. If you wanted to hop in for a quick trail run, you’ll have several of miles at your disposal, and the roads sorrounding the park(except 51 obviously) aren’t too busy. This is farm territory.
Cons: Terrain isn’t that interesting. The amount of trail running/hiking is limited. It felt like I was running in a bog at times due to how wet it was. Also, in the pet excerise area, a dog tried almost tried to bite me…although I dont think that’s the park’s fault.
Overall: Go check it out, it’s literally 15 minutes from downtown, and you’ll be glad you did.