|Mural showing rail to trail by Rozalia Singh|
It probably comes as no surprise to anyone who knows the history of Milwaukee that we have a trail called 'The Beerline." It's not a direct path to anywhere, really. And it is only bikeable by those with a degree of curiosity and a great desire to find it. Type it into your Google map application and you're bound to find a segment. It's less than 4 miles and runs on both trail and city streets, along the west side of the Milwaukee River.
I began at Estabrook Park Beer Garden, and found the Capitol Drive end of the trail, but I had to get on from an opening at 1st and Abert (look for Central Bark) because of fencing around some of the businesses. From here, I just followed signs or checked again on my map application. This is a scenic route for late summer/early fall with lots of opportunities for food and drink on the way. If you follow my circular route, the total mileage is about 9 miles and you will see 7 parks with an option to add a few more without much effort. Though this can be done in about an hour, it's more fun to stop on the way, especially if you like art.
|Fred Kaems and John Kowalczyk painted this in 2016|
|John Kowalczyk just finished this hummingbird shelter last week|
There are some signs to help you find your way. When you arrive at the old railroad depot shelter behind Cafe Corazon, you can get a bite to eat, if you like. This is a great farm to table option in the area. I recommend continuing to Snails Crossing Park to see the artwork of artist Marina Lee, who has her studio on the corner adjacent. This park was a community built effort and includes sidewalk poetry, painted logs, sculptures, along with a few playground pieces. Every time I visit, I notice something new.
|The old train depot at Cafe Corazon|
|One of the snails by Marina Lee|
Continue down Bremen to Locust or any other cross street that will take you to Gordon Park, an old swimming hole in years past. During summer, this park has a splash pad. Kids love the sandbox and play area. With large shade trees at the fringes, you can have a nice picnic here. Near the river's edge, you'll find the paved path. Follow this through the shade of the trees. You'll know you're on the beerline by the turtle a bit further on. I followed this to the street and visited Lakefront Brewery and the Swing Park, then returned to Beerline Cafe for a Chai latte smoothie. Beerline is a vegetarian cafe with outdoor seating. If you're feeling energetic, hike or bike to the top of Kadish Park, or even further up to Kilbourn Reservoir Park. The views of Milwaukee are pretty good all year round, but the best when the trees have lost their leaves. You might notice the outdoor pavilion at Kadish Park, which is the venue for the Skyline Music Series during summer on Tuesday nights.
|The trail markers used along the river trails look like turtles|
|Lakefront Brewery does a fun tour if you have the time.|
|Swing Park under Holton Street|
|Beer line Cafe has outdoor seating, and is just below Kadish and Kilbourn Parks.|
Heading back to Estabrook will be on the east side of the river. Just backtrack to Kiwanis Landing Park. This project was once an eyesore but volunteers with Milwaukee River Revitalization have cleared the area, put in a boat launch, and planted flowers. There are picnic tables for anyone needing a break here. A sign at the bridge to the east side shows details about all the parks and trails in the area along the river. Once you cross, the trail is crushed limestone for a while but it is bikeable.
|Tower at Urban Ecology Center at Riverside Park|
|Read about the railroad in Milwaukee|