Bugline Then and Now  LbNA # 12909 (ARCHIVED)

OwnerWisconsin Hiker      
Placed DateJan 2 2005
LocationLannon, WI
Found By Sunny Side Up
Last Found Nov 15 2008
Hike Distance3-5 mi
Last EditedMay 26 2016

BOTH ARE MISSING - confirmed on 23-MAY-16

Last found/checked: 12-JUL-08

Time: 1- 1.5 hours if walking (about 4 miles roundtrip)
Terrain: Fairly level 8-foot wide crushed limestone trail

The entire Bugline Recreation Trail is 12.2 miles one way, but this adventure only includes a small section in the middle of the trail. You can park your car at Joecks Memorial Park in Lannon. The park is on the east side of Lannon Road (Hwy Y), a bit north of Hwy 74.

You can bike, hike, or cross-country ski to find these boxes depending on the season and your preference. If you bike, you may want to travel all the way to the Merton end of the trail after finding the boxes. In Merton you can indulge in a treat at a custard stand only 1-2 blocks south of the trail. If you choose this option, your round trip biking will be approximately 18 miles.


The Bugline trail owes its existence to the quarries near Lannon. Trains once hauled famed Lannon Stone from the deep limestone pits which still operate today. A look down into the quarries from the trail is an impressive sight. Further along, you'll be able to spot homes built from the Lannon Stone.

The first "dinky" train line to the quarries was built from Lannon to Butler in 1885. A few years later, the Bug Line was a small branch of the Milwaukee Road that ran from Granville to North Lake Wisconsin on the old "Northern division". The original line was built by the Milwaukee, Menomonee Falls & Western Railroad in 1890 from Granville to Sussex to serve a number of Lannon (limestone) quarries in the area. It was eventually extended to North Lake in 1897. It was acquired by the Chicago Milwaukee and St. Paul in 1900.

Your journey to the quarries begins in the parking lot. Travel over the bridge in the southwest corner of the park, then cross the road and continue south until you reach the Bugline Trail sign. At this point set your switching gear to head west and chug along past the turnoff to Menomonee Park and past the Mile 4 post. Approximately 15 minutes into your trip you will spot a quarry on your right. Admire the Lannon Stone and watch for some drainage pipes extending from the trail towards the quarry. From the pipes, count 98 paces and notice an old barrel on the right. Keep your steam up and count another 70 paces to a 9-trunk tree. You’ll see a small stone shelter west of the tree, a perfect stopping point for the old Bug Line engine.


Trucks eventually replaced the train as a method for transporting the stone, so the railroad stopped operating in this area. In 1983 the abandoned railroad right-of-way was developed as a recreational trail. It extends from Appleton Avenue in Menomonee Falls to Main Street in the Village of Merton. It is a popular local bike trail, but is also used by hikers and skiers.

Now that you’re rolling along under your own power, continue down the trail and pass another quarry on you left. Eventually you’ll reach the Mile 5 post. From here it will be approximately 5 minutes (walking) to your next landmark. Along the way, you’ll pass some old rail from the days of the train on the right side of the trail. As the path curves and inclines slightly, keep a lookout for an old rusted gate in the woods on the right. From the gate, take 80 paces further down the trail. At this point, take a bearing of 174 degrees and follow it for 45 paces to a large tree. The popular current mode of transport is parked in the base.

You can now retrace your steps to return to your car, or bike onward to Merton.

Status updates on these boxes would be appreciated!

Are you interested in getting together with some other letterboxers? If so, you may want to attend the Great Lakes Regional Gathering planned for June 3, 2006 at Lapham Peak State Park in Delafield, WI. You can visit this website for more info:


Hope you can make it!