bike ride

With more than 1,800 miles of bike trails, the great outdoors really doesn’t get any greater than in Iowa.

1. CEDAR VALLEY TRAILSCedar 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.

2. FAIRFIELD LOOP TRAILFairfield. 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.

3. HIGH TRESTLE TRAILAnkeny, 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.

4. RACCOON RIVER VALLEY TRAILWaukee, 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.

5. SAUK RAIL TRAILLake 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, The Bar in Lake View and B&S’s in Carroll. Check out Thursday nights on the trail for the weekly “T.H.I.R.S.T.” ride.

6. THREE RIVERS TRAILRolfe, 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.

7. TROUT RUN TRAILDecorah. 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.

8. WABASH TRACE NATURE TRAILCouncil 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.

Source: Iowa Tourism Office

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