Located in the charming town of Decorah, Iowa, this network of trails stretches for approximately 7 miles and is targeted at intermediate level cyclists. To get to the heart of the action, take College Drive to Quarry Street/Ice Cave Road from downtown Decorah. There are two primary parking options: the first lot is directly across the entrance to Dunning’s Springs; the second is about a mile further down the road at a four-way stop. From here, various trailheads beckon. Maps can be procured at Decorah Bicycles on College Drive. Highly recommended for newcomers, as the area's signage leaves much to be desired.
Be prepared: these trails are no walk in the park. What Decorah's mountain bike trails lack in length, they make up for in elevation and technical features. Expect a variety of climbs, whether short and steep or long and gradual. The recommended route is a sinuous trail comprising The Luge, Backside, Ice Cave/Dunning Springs, Wold's Peak, Boa, Captain's, and Mother's Day. The latter features Upper, Middle, and Lower variants. These trails culminate near the top of a hill, and riders can opt for Boa or Backside for a riveting descent.
While many seasoned riders extol the quality of these trails, first-time visitors are often frustrated by the lack of adequate signage. No one enjoys having to check their map every few hundred yards to ensure they're on the right track. Despite these grievances, the overall opinion leans positive, with particular praise for the trail system's diversity and challenge.
Decorah offers an enticing, albeit complex, network of trails that can satisfy a range of mountain biking appetites. With a more coordinated approach to signage, this could easily become the crown jewel of Iowa's mountain biking scene. Until then, first-timers should definitely pick up a map and perhaps even consider riding with a local who knows the trails well.In summary, Decorah's trails offer an exhilarating mountain biking experience that combines a kaleidoscope of climbs, scenic beauty, and technical challenges. So, saddle up and get ready for an unforgettable ride.