The Explorer Program- Frequently Asked Questions

Bike, Explore and Earn an Award!


What is the surface of the trails?

The Badger State Trail is paved from Madison to Purcell Road, about 7 miles. The remainder of the Badger State Trail, the Sugar River and Jane Addams are packed, crushed limestone providing a hard, smooth surface for comfortable travel. Trestle bridges have planked floors and safety railings. The trails follow abandoned railroad beds and have only a 3-5% grade.

When do I need to finish the entire trail?

Explore the Badger State Trail, Sugar River, and Jane Addams Trails in one day or over a year's time, from Dec. 1 to Nov. 7 the following year. We will celebrate and recognize all who achieved either Badger Explorer or Trail Explorer status at the Annual Meeting of the Friends of the Badger State Trail in November.

What ages are eligible for an Explorer Award?

If you can ride a bike, you can become a Badger Explorer or Trail Explorer. We especially encourage children and youth to take up the challenge and experience the beauty of these trails.

Can I count the miles I rode last year?

No. You must ride the entire trail in the current year to receive one of this year's Explorer awards.

If I pull a child in a trailer, can the child earn an Explorer Award?

Yes, both you and the child are eligible for an award.

When did the Trail Explorers program start?

The Badger State Trail had its official grand opening in 2007 and the Trail Explorers program was launched in 2008. That first year 18 people, ranging in age from 6-77 years old, earned Trail Explorer status. They completed the program requirements in one to eight trips. Read about their experiences under, Explorer Stories and be inspired to join them. In 2015 the program was expanded to include a second award, the Badger Explorer Award.

Can I earn an Explorer Award by hiking instead of biking?

Yes, any non-motorized form of transportation may be used to complete the program requirements.

Explorers on the trail

Bikers exploring the trail!