Nestled in the woods of Marion, Iowa, this remarkable trail system offers an array of experiences, from flowy to technical. With a cumulative distance of approximately 3 miles, the trail, designed as a loop, accommodates both beginners and intermediate cyclists. Labeled clearly, accessible, and ever-expanding, it provides an excellent outdoor opportunity for local and visiting riders.
Located a short distance from I-380 and 32nd St NE, the trailhead is quite easy to find. Head east on 32nd St NE and shortly after take a south turn onto Center Point Rd. Your next left will be 29th St NE. Follow this as it morphs into Lakeside Rd and then Squaw Ridge Rd. After about 5 miles, look for the trailhead on the left after a sharp right curve. Alternatively, if entering from the north side, follow Big Bluebell Ave, and the trailhead will be signposted, usually surrounded by cars with bike hitches.
The main path to the singletrack is beginner-friendly, easing you into what the singletrack trail has to offer: a combination of narrow paths, log piles, and rollers that weave through the trees. Once on the trail, expect a fairly flat terrain with some tight turns and a few switchbacks. The width and occasional rocks or roots on the path make it more suited for intermediate riders.The two current loops offer variety; the original singletrack is tight and twisty, while the new additions are more open and flowy. The overall trail system has grown to include 9 miles of varied trails as of September 2017, with future expansions in the pipeline. For those seeking a longer ride, an additional 5 miles can be covered on the outer loops and connectors.
Local organizations such as LAMBA and Linn Co. are continuously working on expanding and maintaining the trails. For those interested in contributing or learning more, you can visit LAMBAonline.org.
Marion's trail system encapsulates a little of everything: from jumps and narrows to beautifully crafted rollers. Whether you're local or just passing through, this evolving trail system is well worth your time. Come ride, and experience it for yourself!