Iowa Biking: It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This
With more than 1,800 miles of bike trails, the great outdoors really doesn’t get any greater than in Iowa. Check out some of our famous routes – and don’t forget to add our popular biking events to your calendar!
CEDAR VALLEY TRAILS
Cedar Falls, Waterloo. This 110-mile system of trail loops in the Cedar Falls/Waterloo area connects to both downtown districts, museums, hotels, restaurants and bars. Need to est for a bit? Head to Cedar Falls’ Main Street for a sweet treat at Main Street Sweets, a tasty brew from SingleSpeed Brewing and an overnight stay at the Blackhawk Hotel.
FAIRFIELD LOOP TRAIL
Fairfield. Cycle 15.9 miles through parks and wetlands and over the Louden Bridge. After making the loop of town, bike your way to Fairfield’s square to dine at one of its adventurous restaurants like the Istanbul Grill. Or stop at The Cider House for a glass of hard cider, brewed in-house. Also try Café Paradiso that’s been voted Iowa’s place for the best coffee.
HIGH TRESTLE TRAIL
Ankeny, Sheldahl, Slater, Madrid, Woodward. Art and nature collide on this beautiful 25-mile trail. A tree canopy shades you from the sun as you cycle to the award-winning Trestle Bridge that’s 13 stories tall. Popular stops along the route include the Flat Tire Lounge in Madrid and the Whistlin’ Donkey in Woodward.
RACCOON RIVER VALLEY TRAIL
Waukee, Adel, Redfield, Linden, Panora, Yale, Herndon, Jamaica, Dawson, Perry, Minburn, Dallas Center. This 89-mile trail loops through several small Iowa towns and Des Moines suburbs – so you can start and end your ride from almost anywhere along the trail. Must-stops for refreshments include Dunkers by Matt in Jefferson, Just Ethel’s in Yale, PJ’s Drive-In in Panora. The bike-friendly Hotel Pattee in Perry makes a perfect overnight stop.
SAUK RAIL TRAIL
Lake View, Carnarvon, Breda, Maple River, Carroll. This trail takes you 33 miles from Lake View to Carroll, with the opportunity for stops every few miles at local watering holes like The Angry Beaver in Maple River, Red’s Place in Breda and The Bar in Lake View.
THREE RIVERS TRAIL
Rolfe, Bradgate, Rutland, Humboldt, Dakota City, Thor and Eagle Grove. Named for the fact that it crosses three area rivers, the Three Rivers Trail crosses or parallels the west branch of the Des Moines River, the east branch of the Des Moines River and the Boone River. The 33-mile trail is a lovely mix of woodlands, grasslands, marshy areas and open prairie – and seeing wildlife isn’t uncommon.
TROUT RUN TRAIL
Decorah. This 11-mile loop trail runs next to the Decorah Trout Hatchery (where you can feed the fish for just a quarter) and also passes by the world-famous Decorah eagle nest. When you want a break, head to the Whippy Dip for ice cream or Pilot Rock Brewing for an ice-cold beer.
WABASH TRACE NATURE TRAIL
Council Bluffs, Mineola, Silver City, Malvern, Imogene, Shenandoah, Coin, Blanchard. The 62-mile Wabash Trace Nature Trail is one of Iowa’s longest and most popular rail-trails, as it travels through the unique Loess Hills and connects with the city trails in Council Bluffs. Every Thursday night, riders can join the “Taco Ride” from Council Bluffs to Mineola’s Tobey Jack Steakhouse and back.
CAN'T MISS BIKING EVENTS
Every Thursday Bicycling magazine listed it as one of the 10 best weekly rides. Held on the Wabash Trace Nature Trail.
FREEZE YOUR FANNY
Late January Okoboji to Spirit Lake and back as part of the University of Okoboji Winter Games.
BRR (BIKE RIDE TO RIPPEY)
First Saturday of February Covers 24 miles round trip from Perry to Rippey.
TOUR OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER VALLEY (TOMRV)
June A scenic ride through the Mississippi River Valley.
June Biking + bacon = one delicious ride along the Raccoon River Valley Trail.
July A weeklong 450+ mile adventure that features a new route every year from border to border.
BIKE RIDE OF IOWA COUNTY (B.R.I.C.)
August This scenic 37-mile jaunt starts at Millstream Brewery in Amana.
BIKE VAN BUREN
August Weekend ride through the charming Villages of Van Buren.
August Western Iowa’s largest one-day bike ride through the Loess Hills.