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General Information and Frequently Asked Questions about the Hank Aaron State Trail

The Hank Aaron State Trail is a continuous trail from Lake Michigan to the Milwaukee/Waukesha county line. The overall length is approximately 14 miles, which includes several sections where there are parallel segments.

The section furthest east is on city streets, but the trail transitions to an off-street asphalt paved trail just east of 3rd and Pittsburgh Avenue (now known as Freshwater Way - map), with a ramp and stairway going up to the Sixth Street Bridge. It continues as a paved path all the way out to 123rd Street.

 
 The Sixth Street ramp and stairs were recognized by the American Council of Engineering Companies for its innovative use of space, aesthetics, attention to safety and accessibility. There are stairs on the east side of the bridge - with a ramps to wheel your bike up and down - and a ramp on the west side of the bridge to connect to the trail below.

The Sixth Street ramp and stairs were recognized by the American Council of Engineering Companies for its innovative use of space, aesthetics, attention to safety and accessibility. There are stairs on the east side of the bridge - with a ramps to wheel your bike up and down - and a ramp on the west side of the bridge to connect to the trail below.

 

Where is the newest section of Trail and the new Park just east of the bridge at 37th Street?

The Urban Ecology Center - Menomonee Valley is the third branch and opened in 2012. It is located on the south end of the Valley Passage that is near the bridge over the Menomonee River at 37th and Canal Street. UEC's address is 3700 W. Pierce Street. They offer science based education to nearby schools and offer a myriad of programs to kids and adults throughout the year. They use Three Bridges Park as an outdoor science classroom, as well as areas along the Trail and on the north bank of the river.

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Are there any other new sections of Trail?

  • A ramp and stairway off of the Sixth Street Bridge opened in the summer of 2014. This allows users to go from the bridge to the street level avoiding the round-about. A new short section of trail along the river connects the ramp to Pittsburgh Street/Freshwater Way and the on-street sections of the trail taking you down to the Lake.

  • The west end of the trail from 94th Place to 123rd Street was paved as part of the Zoo Interchange reconstruction and was reopened in November 2018.

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What are those really interesting old buildings just west of Miller Park?

The buildings are part of the Historic Soldiers Home and some date back to 1868. Originally founded to provide a home for returning Civil War Soldiers, the complex greatly expanded over time and includes a cemetery honoring our nations fallen. The building closest to the Trail is the Ward Memorial Theater where performances were held to entertain Veterans. It was built in 1883. The entire grounds are part of the Bureau of Veterans Affairs. You can take a narrated walking tour by downloading an app for your Smartphone. Just visit the store on your mobile device and search Milwaukee Soldiers Home.

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is the trail maintained during winter?

Currently, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources does not have funding to plow the Hank Aaron State Trail; however, our partners at the City of Milwaukee generally plow from Selig Drive east to 25th Street, and adjacent property owners generally take care of the path in front of their buildings east from 25th up to about 11th Street.

Why are there so few garbage cans along the Trail?

The Trail is managed by Wisconsin State Parks, a division of the Department of Natural Resources. They have a comprehensive "carry-in, carry-out" policy that assists in dealing with funding and staffing shortages. The garbage cans that do exist along the Trail are tended by adjacent businesses and volunteer Stewardship Crews.

 

What are those interesting green shelters along the Trail?

Shelters in Catalano Square, 25th and Canal Street, and at the Trail's western terminus near Underwood Creek were formerly used as streetcar shelters on the Sixteenth Street Viaduct. They were built in 1929 and pulled from use in the late 1980s. They were in a very dilapitated state, but were refurbished by the Friends of Hank Aaron State Trail. They've been placed along the Trail to provide shelter for Trail users and to serve as information stations for Trail maps and upcoming events.

 
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I'd like to help out with the Trail. Who do I call?

You can contact the Trail Manager, Melissa Cook at 414-263-8559 or melissa.cook@wisconsin.gov if you would like to volunteer to help with work along the Trail, such as weeding, litter pickup, or planting. If you have other skills, you may want to participate in committees with the Friends of Hank Aaron State Trail that work on developing enhancements for the Trail, promoting public awareness or use of the Trail, or sustaining different elements of the Trail long term. For more information, contact Jill Maertz at fohast@gmail.com.

Also, consider supporting the Friends of Hank Aaron State Trail. It is a non-profit organization whose main objective is to create a lasting legacy for present and future generations. 

Annual Events - view events here

  • Urban Candlelight Hike: February

  • Steelhead Run in the Menomonee River: April

  • Earth Day Clean Up: April

  • Three Bridges Park Community Planting Day: June

  • Walk the Hank guided tours: throughout summer

  • Shakespeare in the Park: July

  • Hank Aaron State Trail 5K Run/Walk: August

  • Doors Open Milwaukee Bike Tour: September

  • Salmon Run in the Menomonee River: Late September - Early October

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