Known as the World Capital of Trails, Iowa's wheel-centric adventures offer the perfect way to spend a warm day. Explore the Trout Run Trail loop and the many attractions along it or create your own itinerary on other loop trails. Find more fast-paced fun at Iowa's mountain biking destinations, skateparks, go-kart tracks and Ferris wheels across the state.
Explore the Trout Run Trail
Head to Decorah and spend a relaxing afternoon exploring the community from the Trout Run Trail. This 11-mile route crosses beautiful trout streams and passes by some of the community’s best staples.
Start at Bowstring Bridge
Start the ride at the trailhead by Bowstring Bridge, just northeast of Trout Run Park, and head south through the beautiful Trout Run Access Area, which is the most handicapped accessible coldwater trout stream in the Midwest. So, get a license and bring your pole if you’re so inclined.
Explore the Decorah Fish Hatchery and More
After admiring the sights, stop by the Decorah Fish Hatchery to learn about the rearing process, see and feed fish of all sizes for just a quarter.
For nature enthusiasts, visit Siewer’s Springs located near the parking lot, walk mowed trails along the stream, learn about the hatchery in a self-guided interpretive tour or view Decorah’s famous eagle’s nest across the street.
Prepare for a Challenging Ride
Hop back on your bike and prepare for the most challenging trail section filled with switchbacks, underpasses, a unique bridge, a dramatic limestone cut and the oldest part of the trail, a beautiful stretch called “Dug Road” that overlooks the Upper Iowa River.
Refuel & Explore Downtown Decorah
At the end of Dug Road, exit the trail and bike a few blocks through city streets to Decorah’s historic downtown and its downtown restaurants to refuel at places like Mabe’s Pizza for a classic pie or Rubaiyat for refined seasonal American dishes. Venture a little farther (but still bikeable) to enjoy steak or seafood along a trout stream at Twin Springs Supper Club.
Then, take a break from biking and stroll through Vesterheim: The National Norwegian American Museum and Folk Art School. Explore the main building’s four floors to learn about the lives of the people who settled our nation through artifacts like elaborate costumes, colorful paintings, woven tapestries and even a boat that sailed the Atlantic Ocean. Visitors can also explore the Heritage Park campus, which includes 12 historic buildings that showcase life in Norway in the 1800s.
Power up for the remainder of the trail by stopping for a treat. According to locals, The Whippy Dip serves up some of the best ice cream around alongside all toppings imaginable. Or choose a delicious brew from Pulpit Rock Brewing Company’s rotating tap list featuring a wide range of beer styles while relaxing on their patio.
Continue the Adventure
When you’re ready to complete your adventure, hop on your bike and ride to see the waterfall at Dunning’s Spring Park before you get back on the Trout Run Trail loop to return to your starting point. Or spend time exploring nearly 700 acres of land in 23 Decorah Parks filled with 25 miles of single-track trails, stunning overlooks, trout streams, springs, playgrounds and natural areas. These parks have helpful trail signage and interpretation about everything from Native American culture to native plants.
Other Loop Trails
Iowa's Great Lakes Trail
Experience Iowa’s lakes with the 14-mile trail that winds throughout Milford, Okoboji and Spirit Lake, switching between multi-use trails to on-street bike lanes and sidewalks.
Fairfield Loop Trail
Featuring 16 miles of varied trail surfaces, this adventurous loop circles Fairfield and cuts through parks and wetlands, and also crosses the Louden Bridge.
Raccoon River Valley Trail
Tour Des Moines’ suburbs and the surrounding small towns along this 89-mile trail.
Traveling between Sioux City, Westfield and Akron, this 56-mile road route includes a cumulative climb of nearly 2,000 feet.
Cedar Valley Trails
No matter the route, this stretch of 100+ miles of trails connect to Cedar Falls and Waterloo attractions. Use the wayfinding signs to discover restaurants, hotels, museums and historic sites.
Mountain Biking Destinations
Sugar Bottom Recreation Area, Solon
Situated next to Lake Macbride State Park, Sugar Bottom offers some of the best mountain biking trails in the state. Home to 12 miles single tracks, the trails offer views of the area’s lake and luscious forests. Riders of all skill levels can enjoy the sights from flowy, fast intermediate loops to technically demanding downhill runs full of rock gardens, log bridges and sharp turns.
Whiterock Conservancy, Coon Rapids
Host to some of the best mountain biking in western Iowa, Whiterock Conservancy is home to a collection of 16-miles of single track and a 12-mile multi-use trail. Centered around the scenic Middle Raccoon River in Coon Rapids, the trails follow the flow of the hills and offer a great riding experience for all skill levels.
Memorial Park, Ottumwa
Though this Ottumwa park only includes four miles of single tracks, the park’s intricate details makes it a great place to ride. Flowy and fast, this trail offers the perfect introduction to mountain biking or a quick ride after work.
Banner Lakes, Carlisle
Home to some of the most challenging, fast and flowy single tracks near Des Moines, Carlisle’s 5.5 miles of mountain biking trails near Banner Lakes wind through the woods and old strip-mine locations, offering changing views of the lake, tight turns and challenging uphill moments.
Ingawanis Woodland, Waverly
This scenic section of land features wooded hills and unspoiled scenery, making it an excellent mountain biking destination in Waverly. With seven miles of single track to explore, it welcomes riders of all skill levels and is home to the annual Ingawanis Woodland Shredfest event.
Lewis and Clark Monument Park, Council Bluffs
Recognized as one of the first mountain biking trails in the area, this challenging four-mile trail features a fast flow, quick drops and leg-burning climbs. Though an intermediate ride, it offers stunning views of the river bluffs surrounding Council Bluffs.
Iowa's Skate Parks
Lauridsen Skate Park, Des Moines
This 88,000-square-foot skatepark in Des Moines is the largest in the country, and features courses for all skill levels.
Flora Skatepark, Dubuque
Featuring 16,000 square feet of bowls, rails, spines and grind rails, this park offers a safe and exciting skating experience in Dubuque.
Iowa City Skatepark, Iowa City
This space offers over 11,000 square feet in Iowa City that's complete with bowls and grinding rails.
Cook Park Skate Park, Sioux City
This park in Sioux City includes an eight-food capsule alongside rails, ramps and bowls, one of which has a six-foot island.
Riverside Skatepark, Cedar Rapids
This unique skatepark in Cedar Rapids features nine steel obstacles and ramps. It also includes a unique ramp grouping called “the works,” one of only two installed by the manufacturer in the U.S.
Ray Rorick Skatepark, Mason City
Mason City skaters can test their skills on this park's seven- and nine-foot quarter pipers, a five-foot fly box, ramps, rails and a pyramid.
Broadway Skatepark, Council Bluffs
Though bikes aren’t allowed, this park in Council Bluffs welcomes skateboarders and inline skates on its snake run, four-foot bowl, fun box, rails, stairs and quarter pipers.
Shop for intricately designed skateboards at Des Moines’ Street Plant, owned by former professional skateboarder Mike Vallely. Or head to Volition Skate in Fairfield to shop a colorful variety of roller skates along with a small collection of skateboards and rollerblades.
Thrilling Go Kart Tracks
Pole Position Raceway, Grimes
This raceway’s high speed electric racing karts paired with a challenging road course create a thrilling family destination in Grimes.
Speeddeezz Indoor Karting, Cedar Rapids
Visitors of all skill levels can learn and master the art of racing at this indoor track in Cedar Rapids. They offer single and double seat karts so the whole family can join in on the fun.
Joe's Indoor Karting, Council Bluffs
Council Bluffs’ first and only indoor karting facility, Joe’s offers European indoor karts that can speed up to 45 mph around a winding track. Racers must be 14 or older.
Experience the Sprint Car Capital of the World by getting behind the wheel of a mini sprint car and sliding around the dirt track.
Michael's Fun World, Davenport
This attraction's two tracks provide options for families (two-seater carts available) or adrenaline chasers in Davenport.
Fort Frenzy, Fort Dodge
Race along a more than 850-foot-long banked track. The Fort Dodge track also offers two-seats karts to allow for all ages to join to the fun.