Upcoming events

    • July 01, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • December 31, 2020
    • (CST)
    • Internet

    virtual theater Trips

    PLATO theater trips will return!  But during the COVID-19 era, we still have some options for you. Use the links to connect to more information or to the appropriate streaming service, which will vary. Check out these online performances before they disappear.

    Forward Theater Company of Madison


    by Jeremy Kareken & David Murrell and Gordon Farrell
    Streaming Online September 11-27

    Wisconsin Premiere, Directed by Joe Hanreddy

    Celebrated author John D’Agata has just written a sublime and shattering magazine essay. But is his story true? And how negotiable are the facts? When the world’s most neurotically precise fact-checker appears on the author’s Las Vegas doorstep and starts dissecting his work, the ultimate showdown between “truth” and “accuracy” begins. As the deadline looms, the high-stakes world of publishing becomes a battle royale in this brand new comedy of conflict. Timely and terrific, this brainy Broadway hit wrestles with truth, what constitutes it, and who gets to decide.

    "...a rib-bustingly funny farce in which things go

    from very bad to far worse in nothing flat.”
    – The Wall Street Journal

    New York’s hottest star-filled event goes WORLDWIDE for 2020. After a long wait, MisCast is FINALLY coming to your homes. The full event will be live-streamed for FREE and captioned on MCC’s YouTube channel. Be sure to subscribe!

    Online streaming of this event has been extended through THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 17 at 7:00pm CDT.  See some of your favorite Broadway stars perform like you’ve never seen them before. This event will be captioned.

    Founded in 1986 as MANHATTAN CLASS COMPANY, MCC began as a collective of young actors, writers, and directors determined to steer their own artistic development and redefine the NYC theater scene with the kind of stories they wanted to see on the stage. That work continues today in Hell’s Kitchen at THE ROBERT W. WILSON MCC THEATER SPACE, a creative hotbed where our ARTISTS, STAFF, and STUDENTS have the freedom to stir things up, all under one roof.

    The Noel Coward Foundation announces

    A Marvellous Party

    A unique celebration and star-studded collection of performances celebrating the continuing legacy of Noël Coward and coinciding with the 100th anniversary of his West End debut as a 19-year-old playwright.

    This transatlantic celebration featuring words and music of the playwright will see Kate Burton, Judi Dench, Stephen Fry,  Montego Glover, Derek Jacobi, Josh James, Cush Jumbo, Robert Lindsay, Kristine Nielsen, Bebe Neuwirth, Julian Ovenden, Patricia Routledge, Kate Royal, Emma Thompson, Giles Terera, Indira Varma and Lia Williams performing.

    All of the performers involved have either self-recorded at home or been filmed on location under COVID-19 regulations.

    A Marvellous Party will be the first of its kind to utilise Broadway on Demand’s new digital venue, which launches this month. Viewers in the U.S. can visit the web address www.broadwayondemand.com and register for free in advance to watch the show on Sunday 20th September at 1:30pm CDT.  It will then be available on demand for 14 days.

    Funds raised through the performance will provide support to theatre workers on both sides of the Atlantic affected by the pandemic and will benefit Acting For Others (UK) and The Actors Fund (USA).

    Court Theatre of Chicago

    Court’s Theatre & Thought series connects audiences to expert insights from University of Chicago faculty about the historical context, thematic relevance, and artistic possibilities surrounding classic works. Each Theatre & Thought topic will feature a different play and include virtual meetings with University scholars to discuss the ideas underpinning these classic texts.

    Skylight Music Theatre

    While PLATO is not currently planning any field trips at this point, for those of you who are hungry for live theater events and are willing to incur the possible health risks (despite extensive Covid-19 precautions taken by the Theatre), you may wish to mark your calendar with these upcoming shows in Milwaukee. This is FYI only! PLATO is not endorsing or taking any trips to these, or any other venues at this point.

    The Old Vic Theatre

    ‘Just a con, isn’t it? Just an illusion, isn’t it?’

    The Fantastic Francis Hardy (Michael Sheen) travels the most remote corners of Wales, Scotland and Ireland attempting to heal those who wish to be healed. His wife Grace (Indira Varma) and manager Teddy (David Threlfall) complete this nomadic triptych, each with their own telling of the loss, love and struggle of life on the road with a seemingly predestined Faith Healer.

    Brian Friel’s masterful and haunting Faith Healer is a kaleidoscopic, ever shifting exploration of the power of belief, as the contradicting recollections of these three characters seek to reconcile with the past.

    Faith Healer is the third in the Old Vic: In Camera live streamed performances, and will be streamed live directly from the iconic Old Vic stage with the empty auditorium as a backdrop for five performances only. Runs Wednesday, September 16 through Saturday, September 19. Most shows will be in the afternoon local (CDT) time, and their Saturday matinee will be in the morning here.


    Theater Shorts

    If you don't have time for an entire show, you may enjoy these clips.  These high energy musical numbers take 5 minutes or less.

    What I Did for Love – A Chorus Line, Stratford Festival 2016

    Pirate Island- Poor Wand'ring One - Madison Savoyards, 2020

    Rocky Horror Show - Time Warp - Stratford Festival 2018

    The Music Man - 76 Trombones - Stratford Festival 2018 

    Pirate Island - When the Foeman Bares His Steel - Madison Savoyards, 2020

    HMS Pinafore - When I Was a Lad - Stratford Festival 2017

    Pirates of Penzance - I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General! - Stratford Festival 1985

    The Mikado - A More Humane Mikado - Stratford Festival 1982

    Jermyn Street Theatre

    Samuel Beckett: No Country for Old Men

    Krapp’s Last Tape | The Old Tune

    Trevor Nunn staged Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape and the rarely performed The Old Tune at Jermyn Street shortly before the pandemic hit. Both plays are prophetic of what was to come; the old men inhabiting them underscore how fragile our lives are and how easily they can come undone, as we draw on unreliable memories to make sense of lives that we never live as fully or well as we might have.

    Krapp’s Last Tape is now rightly considered a major work in the Beckett canon, and James Hayes’ embodiment of a failed writer shows why: listening to diary-like tapes he’d made as a younger man, the 69-year-old Krapp winces at all his younger self left out and didn’t understand, overestimated about who he was and failed to appreciate in others. It’s a devastating performance that goes a long way toward explaining why Nunn’s production (which included a third Beckett one-act not made available here) was the hottest ticket in London this past winter.

    Gentler and funnier, The Old Tune is a minor variation on some of the themes sounded in Waiting for Godot. Two septuagenarians (Niall Buggy and David Threlfall) wait for death; lost in a world they never made, their failing memories leave them unable to return to the world they’ve left behind. As with Didi and Gogo in Godot, their lone respite from existential loneliness is each other – even if their efforts to communicate miss more often than they land.

    --Mike Fischer, dramaturg,

    former theater critic for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    and Forward Theater Company Advisory Member

    The Fire This Time Festival

    On the other side of the continent, the 11th annual edition of The Fire This Time Festival – a showcase for emerging Black playwrights which, in years past, has given early exposure to artists including Aziza Barnes, Jocelyn Bioh, Katori Hall, Dominque Morisseau, and Antoinette Nwandu – has made archival recordings available for on-demand streaming of all seven shorts from this year’s Festival.

    Many of these plays touch on a theme central to the Black experience in America: with one’s community constantly under siege, does one fight or take flight? And if one leaves one’s roots behind (literally, in Jay Mazyck’s If Men Were Flowers), how does one avoid becoming invisible, appropriated by a dominant culture’s continued campaign to whitewash Blackness? Can old alliances be saved (an express theme in both Tyler English-Beckwith’s Maya and Rivers and in Natyna Bean’s Assume Positions)? Might new ones arise (a topic explored in Deneen Reynolds-Knott’s Antepartum and Mario Wolfe’s Wish I Could P. (Pay it No Mind))?

    All of these questions are on the table in the night’s longest and best piece: Niccolo Aeed’s One Morning Soon. Aeed’s play invokes and then bends Paul’s early Christian writings to explore how, in moving past the old order to create a better one, a culture might preserve all that’s best about where and what it’s been – while simultaneously ensuring that hate and oppression aren’t replicated, but rather vanquished by love.

    --Mike Fischer

    Know Theatre of Cincinnati


    (The Woman Behind the Mask)

    In Beowulf, Grendel’s monstrous mother doesn’t even get a name. Megan Gogerty’s Feast, the poetic solo show opening Know Theatre of Cincinnati’s 23rd season, sets that and a great deal more straight. While upending Beowulf, Feast also riffs on the plight of native peoples, climate change, and what we’re going to do about the strong men and their billionaire allies who claim to speak for the rest of us while stifling our voices.

    If we know all about the murdering Beowulf while knowing almost nothing about Agathe – for that’s Grendel’s mother’s name – it’s because the plundering winners write the histories. But as actor Jennifer Joplin drives home in her uncanny and charismatic performance – during which Agathe gradually grows into a new body and a new idea of who she is – we can still change the story and recover our true selves.

    Even if Gogerty’s script and Joplin’s acting didn’t offer reason enough to watch this show (tickets are $20; performances run through September 20), Know Theatre’s production values would. The lighting (Andrew Hungerford) and sound (Douglas Borntrager) designs are particularly strong, augmenting a performance in which Joplin plays to the camera as though it were an actual audience rather than a recording device (kudos to director Tamara Winters). For one of the first times in my experience of the past six months, watching newly created material actually felt like watching a live play.

    --Mike Fischer

    The Public Theater

    Richard II  by William Shakespeare.  Conceived for the Radio and Directed by Saheem Ali

    Without a venue for their free Shakespeare in the Park series, The Public Theater is instead producing a radio version of Richard II.  Listen as the last of the divinely anointed monarchs descends and loses it all. One of the Bard’s only dramas entirely in verse, this epic and intimate play presents the rise of the house of Lancaster through a riveting tale of lost sovereignty, political intrigue, and psychological complexity.  The all-star cast includes Andre Holland as Richard. Read a "behind the scenes" account of the production in the New York Times.   It is now available for download on the Public Theater website and wherever you get your podcasts.

    Live from Lincoln Center 


    The New York Philharmonic presents a stunning production (staged but without sets, in front of the orchestra) of this iconic Rogers & Hammerstein work about a young woman in New England and the carnival barker who steals her heart. Featuring a star-studded cast including Kelli O’Hara, Nathan Gunn, Jason Danieley, Jessie Mueller, and New York City Ballet dancers Robert Fairchild and Tiler Peck. Available through Tuesday, September 8 at 7:00 p.m. CDT.


    The show you have been waiting for, with the original Broadway cast! Winner of the Tony Award for best new musical and Pulitzer Prize in drama, this sensational show chronicles the life of the first U.S. Treasurer Alexander Hamilton and his compatriots through a variety of musical styles.  Filmed live at The Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway in June of 2016. Local critic Rob Thomas says "in some ways it’s better than the best seats in the house." Watch it on Disney Plus; there is no end date. A one-month subscription is $6.99, and you can cancel at any time. More details on this unique viewing experience.

    Bush Theatre (London)

    The Protest

    A series of short online works, collectively titled The Protest in response to the death of George Floyd. Associate director Daniel Bailey, who curated the series, said: "The Bush kneels with the black community at home and aboard as we fight the ongoing pandemic – racism and the oppression of Black People. We asked some of our Bush family to lift their voices in a myriad of ways that mirrors the diversity within the Black community." Originally distributed through Twitter, but available as a collection on this site.

    streaming link


    First performed in December of 2016, in a country hurting from racism and oppression, the Broadway cast of Hamilton used the words of Langston Hughes, Bob Marley and Lin-Manuel Miranda to call for peace and equality in this short song with dance.

    "Now, as we reel yet again in anger and despair, the impassioned pleas for justice continue to resonate. We stand with those who walk in fear simply for being black. We will continue to listen and educate ourselves, and call out others, on how we can best lift up our colleagues, artists, community members and supporters. Lives depend on it."

    PBS Wisconsin - Great Performances

    PBS Great Performances has several free full-length musical and dramatic theater performances for your enjoyment.  Additional performances may require the Passport membership. Beginning and ending dates may not apply for those with Passport membership. 

    Porgy and Bess

    This 2019 Metropolitan Opera production takes a fresh approach to Gershwin's complicated 1935 masterpiece, which has been criticized for its African American stereotypes since its debut. The setting — Catfish Row, a Charleston, South Carolina neighborhood – is now a close-knit, aspirational working-class community in which everyone is doing his or her best to get by, instead of an abandoned slum. David Robertson conducts a dynamic cast, featuring the sympathetic duo of Eric Owens and Angel Blue in the title roles. Streaming for free on PBS Great Performances beginning July 17.

    Streaming link

    Gloria: A Life

    Experience a unique interpretation of feminist icon Gloria Steinem’s life told by an all-female cast, starring Emmy Award winner Christine Lahti and directed by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus.  Streaming now through July 24.

    Streaming link


    Enjoy a powerful and revealing look at legendary, larger-than-life Texas governor Ann Richards who enriched the lives of her followers, friends and family in this critically acclaimed play written by and starring Emmy Award-winner Holland Taylor. Streaming now through July 17.

    Streaming link

    Twilight: Los Angeles 

    Anna Deavere Smith's play is about race relations in Los Angeles at the time of the infamous police beating of Rodney King, and the ensuing jury acquittal of the perpetrators. She notes that “few people speak a language about race that is not their own. If more of us could actually speak from another point of view, like speaking another language, we could accelerate the flow of ideas.” “After all,” Smith says later, “identity is in some ways a process toward character. It is not character itself. It is not fixed. Our race dialogue desperately needs this more complex language.”

    Smith channels the voices of forty among the hundreds of people she interviewed: white and Black, Korean and Latinx, men and women, cops and activists, store owners and looters. Playing them all, Smith physically embodies the truth that each of us contains multitudes.

    Director Marc Levin blends Smith’s stage performance with news footage and interviews to capture a community’s rage and loss, but also its grit and hope and love. This encore streaming will run from June 8 through August 7.

    Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration

    Take Me to the World - Free - A starry line-up of Broadway favorites are toasting Stephen Sondheim with a once-in-a-lifetime concert event live on Broadway.com    Mr. Sondheim is an American composer and lyricist known for his work in musical theater like:  A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962); Company (1970); Follies (1971); A Little Night Music (1973), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1979); Merrily We Roll Along (1981); Sunday in the Park with George (1984); and Into the Woods (1987). He is also known for writing the lyrics for West Side Story (1957) and Gypsy (1959).

    Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre

    After Pass Over's 2017 world premiere at Steppenwolf, Academy Award nominee and Honorary Oscar winner Spike Lee brought a camera crew and filmed the entire performance. The filmed play premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, and now Lee's filmed play is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

    Enjoy this complete production of Pass Over by Antoinette Nwandu featuring ensemble member Jon Michael Hill. A provocative riff on Waiting for GodotPass Over is a rare piece of politically-charged theater about two young black men who stand around on the corner dreaming of their promised land when a stranger wanders into their space with his own agenda and derails their plans.

    L.A. Theatre Works

    Over 500 plays audio-recorded live in performance, everything from Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde to Arthur Miller and recent Tony winners, all with top-name actors,  so you can listen to great theatre anywhere.

    Listen free to the Relativity Series of Science Themed Plays which present science as a thoroughly human endeavor, bringing to life the people and stories behind the research and invention which shapes and changes our world.

    Among the many included titles are:

    Copenhagen, by Michael Frayn

    Arcadia, by Tom Stoppard

    An Enemy of the People, by Henrik Ibsen

    Proof, by David Auburn

    The Doctor's Dilemma, by George Bernard Shaw

    Also, in the 1990s, LA Theatre Works came to Chicago and recorded plays with many of the Chicago theatres, including Victory Gardens. Two of those play recordings are FREE FOR ALL to enjoy through July 15, 2020. (Note: Audio recordings still available as of Aug. 10.)

    Still Waters and Drowning Sorrows


    Contact PLATO Theater Team members at:

    Sue Josheff  sooziej@sbcglobal.net
    Nancy McClements   nancymcclements@gmail.com 
    Stuart Utley  stuart.utley@gmail.com
    • July 23, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • March 24, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • Madison

    Below are five guides to popular bicycling routes in Madison.   Each guide is broken up into distinct sections with maps providing detailed instructions.

    The guides are meant for your enjoyment during our time of dealing with the COVID-19 virus.  Please adhere to all municipal and state requirements for social distancing and healthy behavior on public paths and streets. 


    Bicycling Around Lake Monona

    The 12.5 mile route around Lake Monona is one of the most popular bicycle trips in Madison.  It goes through a mixture of bicycle paths and lightly traveled streets and takes about 75 minutes for the average cyclist.

    Click on A Guide to Bicycling Around Lake Monona


    Bicycling the Cannonball Path/Arboretum Loop

    The route (8.2 miles) traverses a mixture of bicycle paths, city streets with bike lanes, and a quiet road through the U.W. Arboretum.  It takes about 50 minutes for the average cyclist.

    Click on A Guide to Bicycling the Cannonball Path/Arboretum Loop


    Bicycling the Southwest Commuter Path/Capital City State Trail Loop

    The route (18.1 miles) is entirely on dedicated bicycle paths with the exception of a short 1/2 mile section on a quiet road.  It takes a little less than two hours for the average cyclist.

    Click on A Guide to Bicycling the Southwest Commuter Path/Capital City State Trail Loop


    Bicycling the McFarland Loop

    The highlight of this route (18 miles) is a mile-long bridge spanning Lake Waubesa.  It is the longest inland boardwalk bridge constructed solely for non-motorized transportation in North America.  It takes a little less than two hours for the average cyclist.

    Click on A Guide to Bicycling the McFarland Loop


    Bicycling the Blackhawk Path/Lake Mendota Drive/Lakeshore Nature Preserve Loop

    This 7.8 mile loop begins at Allen Centennial Garden and parallels University Avenue on bike paths before heading over to Lake Mendota Drive, a quiet, tree-lined residential neighborhood.   It then follows the Lakeshore Nature Preserve back to the starting point.   It takes less than one hour for the average cyclist.

    Click on A Guide to Bicycling the Blackhawk Path, Lake Mendota Drive, Lakeshore Nature Preserve Loop


    BCycle Stations along the Route

    Madison BCycle has a number of stations along the routes where you can rent an electric bicycle.


    Other Resources

    Dane County Bicycle Map

    Madison BCycle

    Madison Bikes Community (Facebook)

    Madison Bikes

    Bicycle Benefits

    Top 10 Trails to Try in Madison

    Madison Road Bike Routes

    Biking in Fitchburg

    Riding in Sun Prairie


    Compiled by Bob Shaw - robert.e.shaw@gmail.com

    August 2020

    • July 28, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • April 29, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • Madison

    This 3.7 mile walk through the Tenney-Lapham neighborhood in Madison's isthmus highlights some of the important features and buildings in the neighborhood.  The descriptions come from two brochures published by the Madison Landmarks Commission and the neighborhood:   The Tenney-Lapham Neighborhood: A Walking Tour (1997),  and The Old Market Place Neighborhood: A Walking Tour (1991).   Both brochures have many more landmarks not described in the walk listed below.

    This guide is meant for your enjoyment during our time of dealing with the COVID-19 virus.  Please adhere to all municipal and state requirements for social distancing and healthy behavior on public paths and streets. 


    Tenney Park and Sherman Avenue

    The walk starts at the Tenney Park locks located at 1500 Sherman Avenue.   Parking is available on N. Thornton Avenue across from the locks.   To start, walk past the locks onto the breakwater where you have wonderful views of the lake.  Then take the pedestrian path west along Lake Mendota until you come to the first stop, 1250 Sherman Avenue. 

    This guide is designed to be used with a smartphone.   When you click on the underlined links for each address, you will get a fuller description of each of the houses.

    1250 Sherman Avenue - 1929, Tudor Revival Style

    1228 Sherman Avenue - 1895, Queen Anne Style

    1127 Sherman Avenue - 1916, Prairie School Style

    1047 Sherman Avenue - 1916, Prairie School Style

    1040 Sherman - 1916, Georgian Revival

    1031 Sherman - 1938, Wrightian Style

    1010 Sherman Avenue - 1913, Prairie School Style


    East Gorham Street and Prospect Place

    At the end of Sherman avenue, turn left on N. Brearly street for a half block until you reach E. Gorham street.   Turn right on E. Gorham street.

    On the south side of the 900 block of E. Gorham you will see a number of brick apartment buildings, the Norris Court Apartments.

    At the beginning of the 900 block of E. Gorham, turn right on N. Paterson street for one block until you reach Prospect Place.

    818, 822, 831, 844 Prospect Place -  Claude & Starck Houses

    At the intersection of Prospect Place/Washburn Place, walk down Washburn Place one block until you reach E. Gorham and turn right.

    802 E. Gorham - 1901, Claude & Starck

    803 E. Gorham - 1870, Vernacular 19th Century

    752 E. Gorham - 1857, Gothic Revival Style

    720 E. Gorham - 1915-1916, Lincoln School

    703 E. Gorham - 1868, Italianate Style

    640, 646, 704 E. Gorham - 1908-1920

    Note the wonderful garden at 704 E. Gorham, home of Mendota Lake House Bed & Breakfast.

    637 E. Gorham - 1925, Late Georgian

    Now you will be walking west on E. Gorham along  James Madison Park.

    622 1/2 E. Gorham - 1915, Bernard-Hoover Boat House

    Just before the Gates of Heaven Synagogue note the monument to the 45,000 International Volunteers who fought for the Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939).

    302 E. Gorham - 1863, Gates of Heaven Synagogue

    Now backtrack to the corner of E. Gorham/N. Blount and walk south on N. Blount for two blocks to E. Dayton street.


    East Dayton Street to Lapham School

    202 N. Blount  - 1910-1914, City Horse Barn

    At the corner of N. Blount/E. Dayton, note the sign denoting Madison's first African-American neighborhood.

    647 E. Dayton - 1853, Miller house

    649 E. Dayton - 1901 and 1912, Hill house & grocery

    123 N. Blount - 1909-1910, Badger State Shoe Factory

    917, 919, 921, 923, 925 E. Dayton - 1915-1916, John Blake bungalows

    939, 941 E. Dayton - 1915, Michael Olbrich bungalows


    Lapham School to Tenney Park

    1045 E. Dayton - 1939-1940, Lapham School

    124 N. Baldwin - 1873, Second Empire Style

    Continue east on E. Dayton Street where you will reach the Yahara River.  Follow the bike/pedestrian path under E. Johnson where you can explore Tenney Park before returning to the starting point.


    Compiled by Bob Shaw - robert.e.shaw@gmail.com

    August 2020

    • August 01, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • March 20, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • Madison

    This guide for bicycling the Southwest Commuter Path/Capital City State Trail Loop is  meant for your enjoyment during our time of dealing with the COVID-19 virus.  Please adhere to all municipal and state requirements for social distancing and healthy behavior on public paths and streets. 

    The route (18.1 miles) outlined below is almost entirely on dedicated bicycle paths.   It takes a little less than two hours for the average cyclist.   Enjoy


    Camp Randall to Velo UnderRound - 4.5 miles

    The ride starts across from Camp Randall Stadium at the intersection of Regent, Monroe and Breese streets.  There is a BCycle station, 92 S. Breese Terrace,  where you can rent an electric bike.  You will begin traveling west on the  Southwest Commuter Path,  a paved path that follows the route of the Illinois Central Railroad branch built in 1887 between Freeport, Illinois, and Madison.  For the first three miles there is a slight incline until you reach the bicycle/pedestrian overpass at the beltline.  Continue until you reach the Velo UnderRound.

    The Velo UnderRound marks the junction of five trails: the Capital City State Trail, the Southwest Commuter Path, the Military Ridge State Trail, the Badger State Trail, and the Cannonball Path.  There is also access to the Seminole Mountain Bike Trails.


    Velo UnderRound to Lake Farm Campground - 7.8 miles

    To continue on the Capital City State Trail, you will need a State Trail Pass.

    Continuing on the Capital City State Trail, just before reaching Seminole Highway, you will see the Dawley Bike Hub on your right.   It has a bike repair station, parking, restrooms, and water (might be closed during the Covid-19 pandemic).   After crossing Seminole Highway the trail is uphill for a short distance.  On the portion of the trail between Seminole Highway and Fish Hatchery Road, you will see Ashbourne Pond where there is a spur to the Cannonball Trail.

    At Fish Hatchery Road there is a bicycle/pedestrian overpass.  After the overpass you will turn right on Glacier Valley Road for a mile (the only portion of the loop that is not on a bicycle path).  At the junction of Glacier Valley Road/Gunflint Trail, turn left to continue on the Capital City Trail. 

    This portion of the trail parallels the Capital Springs State Recreation Area  for nine miles.  Points of interest along the Capital Springs State Recreation Area include:  Lake Farm County Park and Campground,  Lussier Family Heritage Center,  Lewis Nine Springs E-Way,  Capital Springs Disc Golf & Dog Park,  Jenni and Kyle Preserve,  Nevin Springs Fish & Wildlife Area,  Monona Wetland Conservancy,  Upper Mud Lake,  Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District Wildlife Observation Unit,  Capital Springs Centennial State Park, and the Gilman Native American Mounds.


    Lake Farm Campground to Waunona Way - 2 miles

    At Lake Farm Campground there is a kiosk marking the junction of the Capital City Trail and the Lower Yahara River Trail.   At this intersection you can also see  the Lussier Family Heritage Center which connects the community to natural resources through education, recreation, and experiences. 

    Turn left at the junction to continue on the Capital City State Trail.  On the right is a boardwalk providing access to the Nine Springs E-way Observation Deck.  Further on you  will be biking by the Madison Metropolitan Area Sewerage District wildlife observation area with good birding opportunities.  Madison's sewer plant will be on your left.   Where the trail meets Waunona Way, if you turn right you will be doing the Lake Monona Bike Loop.  However turn left on the Capital City Trail.


    Waunona Way to John Nolen Drive/North Shore Drive - 2.1 miles

    This stretch of the Capital City Trail goes past the Coliseum and the Alliant Center.  At Olin Park, there is a  junction to the Wingra Creek Bike Path.  Continuing on the Capital City Trail the path parallels the John Nolen Drive Causeway.  At the intersection of John Nolen Drive and North Shore Drive, there is a left  junction to the Brittingham Park Bike Path which you will take.


    John Nolen Drive/North Shore Drive to Camp Randall - 1.8 miles

    After 500 yards on the Brittingham Park Bike Path  turn right on the Southwest Path/Greenbush Link which will take you back to your starting point, Camp Randall.


    BCycle Station along the Route

    Madison BCycle has a number of stations along the route where you can rent an electric bicycle. The following map lists some stations within a block of the route.


    Other Resources

    Dane County Bicycle Map

    Madison BCycle

    Madison Bikes Community (Facebook)

    Madison Bikes

    Bicycle Benefits

    Top 10 Trails to Try in Madison

    Madison Road Bike Routes

    Biking in Fitchburg

    Riding in Sun Prairie


    Compiled by Bob Shaw - robert.e.shaw@gmail.com

    July 2020

    • August 06, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • April 07, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • Madison

    This guide for bicycling the Blackhawk Path/Lake Mendota Drive/Lakeshore Nature Preserve Loop is  meant for your enjoyment during our time of dealing with the COVID-19 virus.  Please adhere to all municipal and state requirements for social distancing and healthy behavior on public paths and streets. 

    The route (7.8 miles) outlined below, starting at Allen Centennial Garden, is along dedicated bicycle paths and quiet residential streets.   It takes a little less one hour for the average cyclist.   Enjoy


    Allen Garden to Spring Harbor Drive - 3.6 miles

    The ride starts at UW-Madison's Allen Centennial Garden, 620 Babcock Drive.  During Covid-19 the Garden is open by reservation only at selected times.

    From the garden go south for 1/2 block to Observatory Drive and turn right.  Take the first left (Elm Drive) for one block where you will see the bicycle/pedestrian University Avenue overpass.  Before the overpass turn right and bike past the Dairy Cattle Center and the greenhouses until you reach the stop sign.  At the stop sign, turn left.  There is construction fencing but after 50 feet you will see the Campus Bike Path intersection.   That is the start of the Campus Drive Bike Path that parallels Campus Drive.

    Continuing on the Campus Drive Bike Path you will cross Highland Avenue (VA and University Hospitals to the right) and University Bay Drive (Frank LLoyd Wright's Unitarian Meeting House a block to the right).  At University Bay Drive the bike path changes to the  Blackhawk Path which goes through Shorewood Hills. 

    Continue on the Blackhawk Path until you reach Shorewood Blvd.  Turn left on Shorewood Blvd for 50 feet until you reach Locust Drive where you turn right.  At the stop sign at Locust Drive/Rose Place, turn right and continue on Locust Drive where after a block you will see on the right the Indian Hills Bike Path which you will take to Spring Harbor Drive.


    Lake Mendota Drive - 1.6 miles

    Turn right on Spring Harbor Drive for one block to Lake Mendota Drive.  If you turn left on Lake Mendota Drive, after two blocks you will be at Spring Harbor Beach Park which has a small swimming area.  But if you are on the Loop Trail, turn right on Lake Mendota Drive.

    After one block on Lake Mendota Drive,  Spring Court will be on your left.  If you take Spring Court for three blocks you will be at Merrill Springs Park which features three stone picnic benches and a spring cistern built by the Wisconsin Emergency Relief Administration in 1934.

    Continuing on Lake Mendota Drive, you will be biking past the Blackhawk Country Club on your right.  Lake Mendota Drive is a quiet tree lined residential street where you can occasionally view Lake Mendota over the houses.   At 3650 Lake Mendota Drive is the Frank Lloyd Wright designed privately owned John Pew House.  At 3400 Lake Mendota Drive is another public park, McKenna Park, also known as Shorewood Hills Beach, where you have access to the Lake Mendota waterfront along with a boat dock and pier.  Continue on Lake Mendota Drive until you reach Eagle Heights and the Lakeshore Nature Preserve.


    Lakeshore Nature Preserve - 2.6 miles

    This portion stays on Lake Mendota Drive and follows the Lakeshore Nature Preserve which has a myriad of hiking trails to explore.  Bicycles are not allowed on the trails but bicycle parking is available at Raymer's Cove, Frautschi Point, Eagle Heights Gardens, and Picnic Point.

    At the entrance to the Eagle Heights Gardens you will see a paved path that is the start of the Howard Temin  Path that you can take or you can continue on Lake Mendota Drive until you reach University Bay Drive which turns left onto the Howard Temin Path .  Follow the bike path until you reach the Porter Boat House where you will turn right for one block to return to the Allen Centennial Garden.

    Then you can treat yourself by biking a block south to Babcock Hall, 1605 Linden Drive,  for some ice cream.  Check for its hours during the pandemic.


    BCycle Station along the Route

    Madison BCycle has a number of stations along the route where you can rent an electric bicycle. The following map lists some stations within a few blocks of the route.


    Other Resources

    Dane County Bicycle Map

    Madison BCycle

    Madison Bikes Community (Facebook)

    Madison Bikes

    Bicycle Benefits

    Top 10 Trails to Try in Madison

    Madison Road Bike Routes

    Biking in Fitchburg

    Riding in Sun Prairie


    Compiled by Bob Shaw - robert.e.shaw@gmail.com

    August 2020

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