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Driftless Wisconsin

Photo by Yomex Owo

Bicycling on Iowa’s Rivers: 4 Bike Trails Not to Miss!

Bicycling is a great way to get outside and explore. There is a ton of research showcasing the many health benefits of biking and it’s been a growing pastime for young and old. We’ve compiled a list of Iowa River trails that are beautiful to bike on and allow you to appreciate the rivers of Iowa at the same time. Perfect for the family, many of these trails are rails to trails and are easy to traverse with little incline.  So, pack the bikes and take a biking adventure on one of these trails.

Bicycling on the Iowa River: 4 Bike Trails Not to Miss!
Bear River Recreation Trail is six and a half miles long. This mostly shaded trail is made up of crushed stone and follows a part of the Maquoketa River just outside of Spragueville and Preston, Iowa. It also crosses Deep Creek and Copper Creek. A majority of the trail used to be part of an old Chicago-Milwaukee railroad. You’ll bike through a variety of woodlands, farms, and river lowlands. The Bear River Recreation Trails is also a hotspot for scenic overlooks to the river and limestone bluffs. If you keep an eye out, you might spot bald eagles, foxes, and the occasional deer.
Bicycling on the Iowa River: 4 Bike Trails Not to Miss!
Three Rivers Trail’s starting point is in Rolfe, Iowa, and as the name implies, it crosses three rivers. Biking will be able to enjoy the scenery of not just one, but three rivers. This trail is approximately 32 miles long and crosses the West and East Fork or the Des Moines River, and the Boone River. The paths are primarily crushed limestone surfaces that are well-maintained throughout the year and follow the former.
The Harry Cook Nature Trail is a two-mile trail that runs from Osage, Iowa, to the city’s Spring Park. The trail runs on crushed limestone surface and occupies the foundation of an abandoned railroad and winds through dense tree cover. For the most of its route, it runs adjacent to Cedar River which will allow you to relish in the riverside atmosphere as you bike the trail. The Harry Cook Nature Trail is a shorter trail, which makes it ideal for beginners or those just wanting to squeeze in a morning adventure.
If you feel like the Harry Cook Nature Trail is not enough to quench your thirst for biking, just a half mile gap away is the Cedar River Greenbelt Trail. This is a six-mile trail that is part of a bigger trail system of Cedar Valley Trails. The Cedar Valley Trails consist of over 110 miles of trails for you to explore, however the Cedar River Greenbelt Trail’s primary feature is that it parallels the west side of the Cedar River. Also, keep an eye out as you ride along the trail and you might spot some wildlife, such as bald eagles.
I love anything related to arts and culture like dance, music, and visual art.
Carissa Chin

Writer , River Travel Magazine