FDR Park offers a dichotomy that leaves the cycling community divided. With heavily wooded terrain, significant climbs, long downhills, log-made obstacles, and stream crossings, this 12-mile network should be a local paradise. However, maintenance issues and lack of clear directions have led to varying experiences for riders.
Starting from Highway 20, take Cedar Cross Road south, passing the Olive Garden. Turn right onto North Cascade Road. The turn-off is a nondescript gravel road located by the Story Book Hill Children’s Petting Zoo. Follow the gravel around the zoo until a gate comes into view. Park there, but be wary of driving through even if the gate is open.
The main trail runs through the middle of the park, with all other trails branching off. Mind the orange-fenced sinkholes and potential abandoned mine shafts. If you're keen on starting with a specific trail, "Hoots Trail" has been recommended.
Reviews are mixed, ranging from "Simply put, awesome trails," to strong disapproval focusing on poor maintenance and a perceived lack of true mountain biking features. Overgrown trails and the presence of fallen trees have forced some riders to dismount repeatedly. However, there’s a consensus on the trail's potential. "I've had fun here, would be awesome to see locals get organized and take better care of the property," one rider commented.The lack of clear trail directions is another concern. If you’re unfamiliar with the area, securing a guided tour can make all the difference. The trails near the creek need extra caution due to damage from last year's flood.
For all its challenges, FDR Park has its share of devoted fans who insist that it's one of the best trails under 15 miles in the Midwest. With a dedicated crew for maintenance, this park could very well live up to its raw potential. Until then, it serves as a controversial figure in the biking community—worthy of a visit but demanding of vigilance.