Wednesday, May 18, 2011
I was looking for some new trails to ride. This week I got the opportunity to ride in the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids, Iowa area. For a couple years I have wanted to check out the dirt trails at Sugar Bottom Recreation Area. A trip to Iowa City was planned (pending trails being open).
Print a couple copies of the Sugar Bottom trail map to take with you.
The weather was perfect as I checked into my motel. Dropped the hybrid in the room and changed into my riding kit.
First stop was Sugar Bottom Bikes. The battery in the computer on the Fuel EX7 was dead. Visited with the guys at the bike shop as the battery was changed and set the computer. Gave them one of my THOR cards. They gave me directions to the trails - fair trade.
The mountain bike trails, beach, and disc golf share a parking lot. At the bike wash rack, head down the gravel road. Trails in the 100 series are North (left) side of the road. At the first short hill is the shelter and the Novice Loop (on the right).
I rode that trail to get the feel of the trail. Stopped many times to take photos. Novice Loop is trail #305. Trail 305 is on the South (right) side of the gravel rode. The photo above is on Trail 305 with Coralville Lake in the background.
From there, on up the second hill (had to walk section of that one). At the fire road, turn right.
Here, you will find the 200 and 300 series trails. 200 Trails are on your left from the fire road. 300 trails are on the right. I headed down trail 201. This trail was more difficult than the Novice Loop.
Trail 201 has switchback down to the lake and back up. Some climbs and descents. This trail was just at my riding ability. Some climbs I had to walk. Half way down this trail it is back at the fire road. I decided to head back to the 100s to see that those trails look like. The lower photos was taken on Trail 201.
Back on the gravel road, I found the entrance to Trail 105 - a Blue trail. Trail was 105 was a enjoyable trail, except for the steep drops and climbs. One section that dropped down to a wet spot, I was able to ride. The next section included a very steep decline ending with a turn onto a bridge. then climb back up. That section I walked.
Ended up with a second ride (non-stop) of the Novice Loop. Railed that lap. Felt great! Perfect end to a awesome ride.
I did not check out any of the Black trails. What I road, I would classify Sugar Bottom as a large version of the Swanson trails. Roots, climbs, descents, log crossings, bridges, etc.
If you are looking for a trail system that provides a little of everything - head out for Sugar Bottom. From Sugar Bottom Bikes, head North on Front St. After you cross the bridge, turn right into Sugar Bottom Recreation area. Turn left down towards the beach (if you get to the campground, you went too far). Park at the far section of the lot. Enjoy your ride!