12 Best Bike Trails in Iowa [Update 2024]

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bike trails in Iowa

A bike trail is a type of motorbike that is typically small and features specialized tires and suspension components in order to facilitate travel on uneven roads and through rugged terrain. The ride through the biking trails is packed with exciting and interesting experiences. Additionally, if you are interested in going on a trip through these trails, then you should make sure that you are properly equipped with a helmet, gloves, and safety pads.

The state of Iowa is home to the best biking trails in the country. As a result of Iowa’s long history of leadership in trail development—including the fact that it was the first state in the country to implement the Railban King Statute of 1983—the state now has more than 900 miles of trail built along former railroad corridors. These trails are accessible to people of all ages and abilities. Here is a list of the top bike trails in Iowa.

1. Wabash Trace Nature Trail

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Wabash Trace Nature Trail is one of the best bike trails in Iowa

The Wabash Trace Nature Path is a rail trail in the state of Iowa that is 63 miles long and spans from the city of Council Bluffs to the city of Blanchard, which is located to the southeast. It is one of the longest rail trails in Iowa and also one of the most popular ones, due to the fact that it passes through the distinctive Loess Hills and links up with the city trails in Council Bluffs.

2. Ewing Park Flow Trails Trailhead

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Trails known as Flow Trails and single-track trails may be found in Ewing Park, both of which snake through the park’s dense woodland. The westernmost parking spot, which is also closest to the BMX track, is where the Flow Trail begins (accessible off McKinley). One of the routes is a jump line, while the other two are flow lines, all of which begin at the very top of the hill, among the woods.

Take the entry flow route up to the tree line to reach your destination. On the southern side of the park there is a hillside that has many single-track routes that go around and up it. They meet at the summit, giving you the option to take any of the routes back down.

3. Sycamore Trails

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Sycamore Trails

The Sycamore Trails are a network of single-track that runs parallel to the western bank of the Des Moines River and feature a number of challenging climbs and descents. The routes are typically flat and simple to ride on, and many people and children use them frequently. It is open to people walking, jogging, running, and bringing their dogs on leashes.

Thus, you should be courteous to the other people who use the route. Interstate 80 cuts across the middle of the route, dividing it into its two primary halves, Sycamore North and Sycamore South. If someone merely says “”Sycamore”, they almost always mean the north side of the street, while they will refer to the south as “Sycamore South”.

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4. Sugar Bottom Mountain Bike Trailhead

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Just to the north of Iowa City and in-between North Liberty and Solon is where you’ll find one of the most popular areas in the state for mountain biking. This area is known as the Hardwood Coast, and it runs along the shore of Coralville Lake.

Within the Sugar Bottom Recreation Area can be found an exceptional mountain biking trail network that spans close to 12 miles and features 1,400 vertical feet of ascent. These trails were all developed by hand. The stacking loop structure of the one-way trails includes difficulty levels ranging from novice to expert, and the trails may only be ridden in one direction.

You have the option of taking the green route, which is a circle that goes around the entire system, or you may explore the blue and black trails that branch off of the main trail.

5. Woodpecker Trail

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Woodpecker Trail

The Johnson County cycling amenities have recently been bolstered by the construction of this urban single track. The trails begin at the Tom Harken Trailhead and wind and flow through a wooded region along Clear Creek.

Camp Cardinal Boulevard divides the trails into east and west portions and there is a connection trail that goes under the road. These trails are excellent for riders of all skill levels, from kids just starting out on bikes to seasoned veterans trying to cram in some handy training miles.

The majority of the trails have a green or beginner difficulty rating and some parts are similar to pump tracks. The sandy soil in these woods has a tendency to drain well after it rains, and there are many urban deer who make their home in these woods. You will discover several robust wooden bridges that cross across water features and marshes.

6. Kewash Nature Trail

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The communities of Washington and Keota are connected by the 14-mile-long Kewash Nature Trail, which was a railroad right of way in its previous life.

It travels through a wide diversity of scenery, from densely wooded sections to dazzling native grassland spaces that provide a picturesque view of the undulating countryside in the vicinity. Along this stretch of natural corridor, there is a rich diversity of flora and fauna.

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7. Denman’s Woods Trail

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There are two ways into Denman’s Woods, which is located off the levee. There are a few minor impediments here and there, such as roots and logs. Younger riders and those with less expertise will find it easier to learn how to ride single-track on this trail.

It is not particularly hilly and one can simply walk around or climb over any barriers that may be there. There are b-lines in several of them. There are a few sandy sections, particularly in areas that have been flooded in the recent past, but the most of the route is made up of single-track that is made of dirt and can be ridden in either way.

8. High Trestle Trail

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The High Trestle Trail is a location that is suitable for cyclists of all interests and abilities, since it is 25 miles long, passes through five towns in four counties, and has a variety of entry and access points. This makes the trail a great destination for cyclists.

As a “rail path”, often known as a disused railroad line that has been turned into a multi-use trail, the High Trestle Trail features terrain that is reasonably smooth and flat. The High Trestle Trail Bridge is the trail’s primary point of interest and will be of interest to the vast majority of visitors.

The bridge has six different vantage points, each of which has an interpretative panel that describes the natural and cultural history of the area. The 41 steel “frames” that are suspended above the bridge are meant to imitate support cribs found in an old coal mine.

9. Great Western Trail head

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The beginning of the Great Western Trail may be found in Des Moines, just across the street from the Izaak Walton League Clubhouse on Valley Drive, and in Martensdale, at the intersection of Inwood Street. Your travels along the Great Western Trail will take you on an adventure through time.

10. Center Trails Access

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The total length of the trail segments at Center Trails is approximately 13 miles. They range from very simple to a considerable amount of difficulty. The majority of the trails are narrow, winding single tracks through the forest, while Hillside offers a variety of challenging ascents and descents as it winds its way around multiple ridges.

Take care not to disrupt the paths in places with low elevation. Most of the time, the trails are blocked because of the spring thaw and the severe rains. The Trail Steward will frequently update the information that is shown on the signs that are located at the trail heads to indicate whether a trail is open or closed.

11. Beverly Park Mountain Bike Trail Head

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The paths in general are separated into two distinct regions by a clearing that is bounded by power lines. There is a kid’s loop in addition to the beginner terrain on the Front side. On the other side of the power lines there is roughly three times as much path spanning from easy to challenging difficulty levels.

There are many trail segments, and all of them may be traveled in either way. If you have a rough sense of direction and are aware that you need to go back to the Front side in order to return to the parking area, touring the park on your own should not be a problem, because the size of the park is not too big, while its borders are pretty apparent.

If you are not someone who enjoys learning by trial and error, it is recommended that you go on your first hike with someone who is familiar with the trail system.

12. Wabash Trace Nature Trail

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The Wabash Trace Nature Trail, which may be found tucked away in the southwestern portion of the state, was the very first Iowa pathway to be inducted into the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame. The crushed-stone walkway is well-known for its natural grasslands, isolated forests and unusual mounds of windblown silt known as the Loess Hills.

It stretches for 62 miles, beginning in Council Bluffs and ending at the border between Iowa and Missouri. Be on the lookout for foxes, pheasants, red-tailed hawks and other types of wildlife as you go through these ecosystems.

In the future, many of these lines will be employed for the Great American Rail-TrailTM, which will be a path spanning the whole country and will eventually be 3,700 miles long. However, for now, you can ride through these stunning bike trails while taking in their scenic views.

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