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Find the top rated atv trails in Iowa, whether you're looking for an easy short atv trail or a long atv trail, you'll find what you're looking for. Click on a atv trail below to find trail descriptions, trail maps, photos, and reviews.
I am giving it 2 stars because i applaud DesMoines County for bringing a trail to SE Iowa.
But the trail is rough. We rode to Hickory Bend Recreation, which after miles of riding a washed out trail that routed you onto secondary gravel roads (BRING TIRE REPAIR KIT), we found an outhouse & 2 piles of gravel on a weeded lot. No shelter house. Water fountain or benches. Huh.
The trail has no shade. It is cut out of farmers' crop ground so you see absolutely nothing but corn & beans. There are no benches along this route. Nothing to look at. We saw a glimmer of water two ditches & a treeline over. We didn't even see a bird!
This part of the trail is crushed gravel. We did not ride the 4 mile paved route. We have had alot of rain & mother nature was not kind to it. That cannot be helped but I almost flew over my handlebars when I came down yet another hair pin curve and right into a washed out trail with deep fissures. And, these were everywhere.
Weeds growing up in the crushed rock. Lack of clear directional signage & the part of trail where you dismount & go thru a cattle farmer's 3 metal fence gates is quite odd.
This trail seems poorly thought out, like a swath of trail was simply cut out of farm ground & then rerouted down gravel roads when every few miles the trail didn't seem to work.
Oddly it is labor day weekend and we saw absolutely NO ONE on the trail but we did dodge several trucks on the gravel roads. Maybe that is a sign that there are better trails....
So, if you go. Bring sunscreen. A tire repair kit in case a rock slits your tire on the gravel roads. Wear a hat, 100% in the sun. Bring alot of water. Be careful of the multiple wash outs & know this trail is hilly. Hairpin hilly.
I cannot recommend unless you really just need something to do & have a desire to ride thru miles and miles of corn and beans & don't care. Truthfully we were so busy looking down for washouts and fissures that we would not have appreciated pretty scenery.
Also, parking areas are weedy & after dismounting, walking bike back to put on the rack, I look down and I have burrs all over both shoes to pick off.
I rode the section from Humbolt to Rolfe and back on Friday August 31, 2018. As others have posted, this is a crushed limestone trail but it is very smooth and in great shape, especially considering all the rain this area has received this summer. There were some small branches and leaves on the trail and there was one spot just west of Bradgate that was a little soft but other than that it was firm. I rode my Kona Rove with 700c x 35 mm tires and had no problems at all. I felt that the entire route was very scenic as it follows the Des Moines River. There are a lot of wooded stretches and glimpses of water. I even saw a Beaver near Bradgate.
If you take this trip, there's not much in Rutland or Bradgate to stop for, but there are nice picnic areas alongside the trail near both towns. There may have been restaurants in Rolfe but I wasn't really paying attention. Humbolt looked like a fabulous little town with a very vibrant Main Street and several restaurants. This is about an hour from my home, and so I plan to come back and ride the other direction to Eagle Grove. All in all, a great day.
This is a local trail for us so we ride it frequently. We normally ride from Ely to check village in Cedar Rapids or from Hiawatha to Center point. When we ride in Cedar Rapids in Hiawatha there are quite a few streets to cross that are fairly busy. This can slow you down a little bit and you need to be extremely cautious. We have never ridden past Center point so I don’t know what the trail is like after that however the trail is in excellent condition and a joy to ride from Ely to Center Point
I have completed twice, once actually started in Sac City on County Blacktops to add miles but it also added some hills. Both times camped at Swan Lake State Park, there is huge amount of tent camper space available and lots of shade, I believe 100 rv sites. Two newer shower houses. The trail is well maintained and in great condition, wild flower, animal abundant. As others have mentioned, bring all the water you will need. There are about 4 port a pots but mostly southern half of trail, approx. 6 or 8 small shelters. Swan Lake Campground to Lake View my app showed 25.1 miles 370 ft gain. The $2 trail fee well worth it. 3 miles closest to South end are most challenging. The Swan Lake loop is also a challenge but beautiful.
Skated this trail from the trestle bridge to the oasis after Sheldahl. The pavement is like a big, wide sidewalk until Slater and beyond to the south, where it is more like asphalt. Trail was fairly busy, even away from the bridge. The bridge was well worth the trip, especially if you see it at night. The rest of the trail is standard Iowa scenery with pretty much no slopes and very long straight stretches.
We rode the inverted T section shown in the map here as of July 2018. It has been extended to Cash and 8th streets, south of the Case factory. We saw a great blue heron in the Flint River. Surface is paved concrete. Travelers looking to ride in the Burlington area should also check out the northern section of this trail; a pdf map is available at the Des Moines County website. We have not been there. There are some sections further south that look like they will be connected up eventually; local riders appear to know how to use road links to do that.
This summer I’ve ridden (1) Flint Hills which I didn’t like at all due to large chunks of tire popping flint rock and poor overall condition, (2) Katy Trail twice which I liked a lot, then (3) Wabash Trace from Council Bluffs to Malvern and back. This was my favorite for trail condition, canopy, and the towns of Mineola, Silver City, and Malvern. I’ll repeat this ride several times this summer getting ready for RAGBRAI.
I rode this trail right after some heavy June rains so sections of the trail were either closed or muddy even though I navigated around or through. I went by the Eagle cam and fish hatchery. Also, rode a paved trail northeast of town--called Freeport trail to get in some extra miles. The hills were steep so my legs got a good workout.
Would like to have spent some time in the town itself . . . maybe next time. Well worth doing if you're in the area riding other nearby trails such as Prairie Farmer from Cresco to Calamar. There is a nice campground a little SW of Cresco with a connecting trail into town.
This was an awesome ride. It was well groomed and you can tell that the people that maintain this trail care about it. We had a picnic at Ridgeway and rode to Calmar for ice cream. But it was closed. Thankfully the restroom was open.
Steepest grade (according to our Garmin GPSMap64) was 8% on the trail; on the detour (crossing the dam to accomplish the detour) was 15%. No signs to direct you around the detour ¿¿, but there is a foot bridge crossing the river that connects Hoewell Station Rec Area with North Overlook Rec Area. But it requires riding across the dam. While crossing the dam you will see that the trail could be reopened ¿¿.
Rode this trail 32 miles on 6/23/18. The trailhead parking lot across the highway from Melbourne is not well marked or mowed, branches and weeds were high, so we elected to park in the town. The trail was nice but beware of the cracks in the concrete surface. The gravel trail crossings were not problem on my gravel bike but a roadie made want to slow down. Another rider informed us that all the crossings are supposed to updated to concrete by next year. Nice trail that gets nicer on closer to the Linn Creek trail near Marshalltown. All in all, a nice ride that was worth the trip to try this trailride
I've ridden this entire trail and have really come to love it. It has a personality all its own and is completely different than the other trails I've ridden in the region.
From my perspective, it can be broken into four sections, each of which has a different feel. From the south, the first section starts at Swan Lake State Park and skirts Carroll to the south and west before reaching Maple River. This section is about 8.5 miles long and surprisingly hilly. After leaving the state park, you will pass through some subdivisions before crossing underneath US 71 and US 30. The pavement here is a mixed bag but in reasonably good shape. There are some tight spots but they're well marked. Use caution when crossing the Union Pacific mainline at Iris and Jade. There are a lot of trains on this route and they're typically moving pretty quickly.
The 7.2 mile stretch from Maple River to Breda is my favorite part of the trail. It's a gentle rise almost the whole way but you're surrounded by bigger hills that give it more of a mountain feel without the steep climb. It was a really pleasant surprise. There's also a wind farm here. The pavement is nice wide poured concrete. Breda's a nice little town with a general store on the main street.
The third section runs from Breda to the railroad underpass on Quincy. It's about 6.4 miles and pleasant. The pavement is poured concrete like the second section and as smooth as it gets. The jog to get under the railroad overpass is gravel, so use caution.
The last section is what I call the water section. It runs by Black Hawk Marsh on its way to Lake View and Black Hawk Lake State Park. It's heavily forested and runs through wetlands before ending just a few blocks from the heart of one of the prettiest little towns in the Upper Midwest.
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