One of the many highlights of the Hoover Nature Trail is the completed section stretching from the tiny town of Oasis to the small city of West Branch. West Branch's main claim to fame is its status as the birthplace of the only American president born in Iowa: The trail's namesake, Herbert Hoover. In fact, the trail ends in West Branch at E. College Street, just a couple blocks north of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum. The section of the Hoover Nature Trail from Oasis to West Branch is surfaced with crushed stone and grass, so a hybrid bike or any bike with wider tires is recommended.
When completed, the Hoover Nature Trail will run through 6 counties and 16 towns between Cedar Rapids and Burlington on an abandoned Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad right-of-way. Along its journey, the trail will pass through a variety of landscapes, including woodlands, farmland, prairie and urban areas. Part of the trail will follow a bluff above the Iowa River.
The trail currently includes 6 open sections, as well as the Flint River Trail
, which occupies the southern portion of the corridor in Burlington for part of its route. For a complete overview of the trail, see the Hoover Nature Trail (Overview)
West Branch is located just north of I-80, making for easy travel from the east or west. There are no dedicated parking lots for the trail, so consider parking on city streets in West Branch. As always, be mindful of any parking restrictions and respectful of the property of local landowners.
Took the kids out for a bike ride along the trail. The trail is in pretty good shape for biking. There are crushed limestone tracks where the rail lines used to be and grass most everywhere else. It's a hard packed surface good for riding bikes on. Probably ...