An Epic Deviation To The Military Ridge State Trail

If you are ever in Madison (Wisconsin) and looking for a scenic place to hike or run, check out the Military Ridge State Trail which runs for 40 miles connecting Madison and Dodgeville,by utilizing the 1855 military route beginning in Verona. It runs along the borders of Governor Dodge and Blue Mound state parks and passes agricultural lands, woods, wetlands and prairies. Along the route in Verona specifically, you’ll find “Epic Intergalactic Headquarters”… home to the #1 brand of electronic medical records system used by hospitals and clinics throughout the country… an absolutely amazing facility filled with enormous, themed buildings. I personally run between 3-6 miles on average so I could never possibly cover the entire trails length, but I found it to be a smooth and picturesque… I’d love to revisit one day.

To add a little history…

In 1880, the Chicago and Tomah Railway Company constructed a railroad line along Military Ridge, a natural ridge that is the divide between the watersheds of the Wisconsin River to the north and the Pecatonica and Rock Rivers to the south. It became a natural means of transportation for Native Americans, European explorers, lead miners, soldiers, and early settlers due to it’s gentle grade and visibility.

After receiving investments from the communities along the Military Ridge in exchange for promises to build and maintain depots in the communities, the Chicago and North Western Railroad acquired the Chicago and Tomah Railway Company.

The first train travelled the line in the fall of 1881 with many more to follow, helping the local communities and farms to grow and prosper. The advent of personal automobiles and subsequently the modern highway system greatly reduced the number of passengers and freight travelling by rail.

On July 1, 1954, passenger service was discontinued from Madison westward followed by various other sections over the next quarter century.

On August 24, 1983 the master plan was approved for development of a recreational trails along the abandoned railway lines. The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board approved this purchase and soon after the public trail was development for bicycling, hiking, snowmobiling, and cross country skiing.

Along the route, Epic’s Judith R Faulkner chose in 2005 to move its headquarters from Madison, Wisconsin to a new campus in Verona where it employs more than 9,500 people.

The Military Ridge Trail begins in Madison and extends to Dodgeville

On reaching Verona there is an exit from the trail where you can deviate to see the Epic campus for a total of 1-1.5 additional miles.

Example deviation path

On approach you’ll find the “Epic Intergalactic Headquarters” sign and know that you are in the right place.

Epic Intergalactic Headquarters Sign

The Farm campus in particular is scenic, with breathtaking views especially around sunset.

Sunset view from the Farm Campus
Farm Campus

Farm Campus

You’ll notice as you job down it’s roads that there are hardly any vehicles visible which is due to the facilities underground parking garages.

Hilltop view of the main training center
Castle with drawbridge and serpent in moat
Humpty Dumpty

Jogging through the facility you’ll notice a great many perks that the employees enjoying including a treehouse and campfire meeting locations.

Campfire meeting sites
Treehouse Meeting Room
Hogwarts anyone?
The castle!
The wizard!
Area behind the castle
Main training center at night
Bridge to the farm


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