This 32 mile state trail was formerly the mainline of the Chicago and North Western Railway. The conversion from "rail to trail" represented a new concept in recreational development. Utilizing the abandoned railbed, it was the first trail of its kind in the United States to be designated a National Recreational Trail by the United States Department of Interior. The trail is primarily used for bicycling, hiking and snowmobiling. Passing through scenic areas, it links the communities of Elroy, Kendall, Wilton, Norwalk and Sparta. Added attractions are its three tunnels, the longest being 3,833 feet. Train service began in 1873 as steam locomotives hauled grain, livestock and passengers. Rail service ended in 1964. The trail was established by the Department of Natural Resources in 1965 and opened to the public in 1967.