Where to Mountain Bike in Central Iowa Parks

Iowa’s parks have many miles of multi-use trails. In most cases, these trails allow access to mountain bikes. As a biker, you’re sure to run across someone on foot or horseback so the rule of thumb is bicyclists yield to hikers and horses.
Photo: Iowa Parklands.

Writer: Matthew Scott

While none of Iowa’s state park trails have trails exclusively for mountain bikers, Banner Lakes at Summerset State Park in Warren County is a park that was designed with mountain biking in mind and one of the best places to ride in Central Iowa.

A favorite equestrian trail system for riding is Brushy Creek Recreation Area near Lehigh. The area has 40 miles of trails and all of them are multiuse. Specifically, try the remote southern trails along the Des Moines River.

If you want something remote with the potential to get lost, try Shimek State Forest, Lick Creek Unit in Lee County. This place will test your mettle your bike. You will encounter deadfall trees, marshy areas, steep ravines pocked with hoof prints, and sometimes dense lush vegetation.

Get more tips—plus Iowa-themed outdoor accessories such as bandanas, maps and stickers—from Iowa Parklands blogger Matthew Scott at IowaParklands.com.

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