The Sugar River
The river is a dominant characteristic of Albany life, with the Little and Big Sugar Rivers joining just north of the village. The Sugar River begins it 100 mile run in southwest Dane county and finally empties into the Pecatonica River approximately 5 mi south of the state line. Wildlife in the area is plentiful and varied, and canoeing, tubing, fishing and hunting are just a few of the recreational opportunities that abound along the river. The picturesque dam, located in the heart of Albany, can be viewed from the adjacent village park. In the evening the lighted dam can also be leisurely observed from beneath the old fashioned streetlights along the bridge on Main Street.
Sugar River State Biking and Hiking Trail
This old Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul bed with only a 1% grade, is family friendly, and has been extensively manager with limestone screenings to provide a smoothed surface for comfortable travel. The trail stretches 23 miles between New Glarus and Brodhead. Albany, midway along the trail, offers a trail station with trailside restrooms, water and parking; all near to the village’s other attractions.
Traveling across planked trestle bridges and through the Clarence Covered Bridge, and through wildlife conservation areas, bicyclists might see deer, wild turkeys or sandhill cranes along the path. In winter, cross-country skiers and snowmobilers enjoy the journey along the trail.
Parks abound in Albany. Village Park can host any event, from a family picnic to a family reunion. A playground and public restrooms make it ideal for any occasion. The diamond across the street is the location for summer ball games. Adjoining is a wooded preserve with trails perfect for jogging, cross country skiing, or a leisurely stroll. Legion Park, on the river’s shore, offers a boat launch, and is ideal for canoers to rest with a picnic lunch.
Historic Downtown Albany
Located in the heart of Albany’s downtown district, the Historical Society Museum boasts memorabilia from the village’s past. Located in its own storefront building (which was once Albany’s first bank and post office), the Historical Society is near several spots offering food and beverages.
Relaxation and Recreation
Albany’s bed and breakfast inns offer unique lodging in restored historic homes, all inspected by the Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast Association.
A six lane bowling alley offers league and open bowling; and an eighteen hole golf course and a modern campground are nestled along the Sugar River just 5 minutes away.
Within a few minutes drive are tracts of virgin prairie. A nearby sugar maple, basswood and slippery elm forest provides a teaching laboratory for the University of Wisconsin.
Drive only a few minutes to the nearby Amish community and you might pass a carriage peacefully winding its way along the country roads, or see a young man cultivating fields with a team of Belgians.
Albany’s Yesteryear Celebration begins with a street dance on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, with a parade, tractor pulling and other events on Saturday, including a fireworks display at dusk at the main ballpark.
There is also a Fall Festival that is features local crafts being sold downtown in booths For more information about this, visit the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce.
Muralt Bluff Prairie
Muralt Bluff Prairie is a 62 acre site situated in the Southeastern Mesic Forest and Oak Savanna Glaciated Plain area of Wisconsin. It is just a short 4 mile drive from downtown Albany and contains a dry prairie with a large population of a threatened plant species. The site is also used by the University of Wisconsin for a outdoor ‘classroom.’ The site was designated a state natural area in June 1977.
It is a sandstone bluff, capped with a rocky layer of limestone on which the prairie developed. The long sweeping ridge lies atop an area of older glaciated drift. With its irregular shape, bird populations of cuckoos, house wren, catbird, brown thrasher, idigo bunting, rufous sided towhee, and vesper and field sparrows are common in the prairie. Due to controlled burning and brushing, increasing numbers of bobolink and grasshopper sparrow can be found.
Of course vegetation abounds, as with any prairie. At Muralt the dominant grasses are little bluestem, side-oats grama, Indian grass, and northern drop seed. Among the many flora are pasque flower, shooting star, wood betony, and bird’s foot violet occur in spring; asters, goldenrods, blazing stars, and gentians flower in the fall.
Muralt Bluff Prairie can be found easily from Albany, by going 2 miles south and west on Hwy. 59, then north and west on County Trunk ‘F’ for 1.8 miles to the parking lot at the north end of the area.