Nestled in the serene landscapes of Decorah, Iowa, the Van Peenen trail system offers a mix of singletrack wonder with rocky, root-filled terrains. Clocking in at 6 miles, the trail caters to intermediate riders eager to take on its web of ascents, descents, and technical marvels. From gnarly log bridges on North 40 to adrenaline-pumping jumps on Little Big Horn, it's a trail system worth the trek.
If you find yourself in downtown Decorah, the trailhead is not far off. Simply take College Drive to Quarry Street/Ice Cave Road and continue until you reach a four-way stop. There lies your gateway to Van Peenen's wonders. An additional tip: nab a trail map from Decorah Bicycles on College Drive to avoid losing your bearings amidst the multiple routes.
The initial climb may be brutal, but it gives way to a fluid ride at the summit. The trail features a healthy mix of dirt singletracks with bursts of rocky terrains, notably in sections like Rocky Road. Technical sections abound on North 40, which features a challenging log bridge. Little Big Horn offers switchbacks, jumps, and log bridges to satiate your technical desires.
Van Peenen is a crowd-pleaser among local MTB enthusiasts. Its multiple looping trails provide hours of exhilarating cycling. Many laud the trail for its alternating segments of climbs and fast descents. Some even hint at the possibility of black diamond status if elevation were a determining factor—Fred, they claim, stands for "Freaking Ridiculously Epic Descent."
Van Peenen stands out as an MTB oasis in Decorah, offering a diversity of experiences and technical challenges. With well-maintained trails and a route network that allows riders to tailor their adventure, it's a go-to destination for any intermediate mountain biker. Whether it's for the climbs, the rapid descents, or the chance to tackle a Freaking Ridiculously Epic Descent, Van Peenen awaits your tires and your tenacity.