Sparta is well known in Wisconsin for it's amazing biking. It's located at the junction of the Elroy-Sparta and La Crosse River bike trails, and it's also home to the first rail-bed to be converted into a bike trail. Hop off the trails, however, and you'll quickly see that there is so much more to learn and explore in Sparta. From concrete art to handmade bridges to giant fiberglass sculptures, Sparta has more than a few surprises in store. In some ways it’s classic small-town Wisconsin and in other ways it will totally surprise you. Here are some of our favorite things to do in Sparta...
Check out the Deke Slayton Space and Bike Museum. Here you can learn about Sparta’s ties to one of America’s first astronauts, look at hundreds of bikes on display, and see a real moon rock – the only one in Wisconsin!
Walk or bike across all five bridges in Sparta built by the Five Shovelmen, a local team of volunteers.
Explore the beautiful concrete sculptures of the Wegner Grotto, known locally as the Glass Church. And during the summer, head to the Grotto during the annual Art Outdoors event. It’s a great opportunity for kids and families to create their own art with supplies and materials provided by the county.
No matter the season, go fishing on the many rivers, lakes and streams in the Sparta area. Our crew had a blast fly fishing on the La Crosse River, just steps away from downtown Sparta.
Wander through the strange, yet fascinating Mold Yard at FAST Corporation. If you’ve ever driven by a giant fiberglass dinosaur, elephant, or musky, it was probably made here. See if you can spot the molds from some of your favorite Wisconsin roadside attractions!
Make your way to Fort McCoy during its annual Armed Forces Day Open House. On this day the military installation opens its doors to the public and offers tons of free exhibits, tours and kids’ activities.
Canoe or kayak on a beautiful, peaceful stretch of the Upper La Crosse River. Rentals are available at Ellistone Canoe and Kayak!
Attend Sparta’s main event – Butterfest! It’s held every summer and it’s a great, family-friendly event that brings the community together. One of the biggest draws at the festival is the cow milking competition!
Make your way to Sparta during the holiday season. With its Kriskindlmarkt, holiday light parade and park lights, you will feel like you’ve wandered into a Hallmark Christmas movie!
Snowmobile on more than 300 miles of trails in Monroe County that run through forests, farm fields, valleys and hills. It’s arguably one of the most beautiful places to ride in the state.
Jessica Murphy is a producer of Discover Wisconsin. Watch the show on Fox Sports Wisconsin every Saturday at 10am or on Roku, Chromecast, Smart TV, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, or on DiscoverWisconsin.com.