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
Featuring 16 miles of varied trail surfaces, this adventurous loop circles Fairfield and cuts through parks and wetlands, and also crosses the Louden Bridge.
Tour Des Moines’ suburbs and the surrounding small towns along this 89-mile trail.
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
Flora Skatepark, Dubuque
Iowa City Skatepark, Iowa City
Cook Park Skate Park, Sioux City
Riverside Skatepark, Cedar Rapids
Ray Rorick Skatepark, Mason City
Broadway Skatepark, Council Bluffs
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.