Bear River Recreation Trail


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Bear River Recreation Trail Facts

States: Iowa
Counties: Jackson
Length: 5.6 miles
Trail end points: CR Z34 (435th Ave.) and Copper Creek Trail nr. 418th Ave. (Preston)
Trail surfaces: Crushed Stone
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6015371
Trail activities: Bike, Fishing, Wheelchair Accessible, Mountain Biking, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Bear River Recreation Trail Description

The Bear River Recreation Trail follows part of the Maquoketa River outside of Spragueville and Preston, through bucolic countryside of woodlands, farms and river lowlands. You can start the trail in the burg of Preston by taking the Copper Creek Trail, which is found at the northwest end of town. At its end the Copper Creek Trail loops but continue heading northwest on the Bear River Recreation Trail, another 5.6 miles to its end near the Damon Bridge on County Road Z34.

Much of the trail follows an abandoned rail corridor of the old Milwaukee Road. The trail affords scenic overlooks of the river valley, along with limestone bluffs. You'll find picnic tables along the trail and interpretive signs. You can also drop a line in the water and see what you catch.

Parking and Trail Access

Park in Preston and access the Jackson County Recreation Trail from the Copper Creek Trail. You can also park at the north end near the Damon Bridge Fishing Access.

Bear River Recreation Trail Reviews

Since I graduated high school about 2 weeks ago I love to go here biking now. I saw a very pretty girl while getting onto my bike, lol. I just said hi. It is a very pretty little place. The woods, cliffs, and river are nice to look at. I like the little outlook to see the river. While looking I saw quite a few geese. The second day I biked all the way to to end of the trail. It might go farther now, I'm not sure. You do see some people walking or jogging at times. I park down by the bigger bridge, it's on your way to Preston. So definitely a nice little trail, I will continue to go here.

We did an out and back ride on the Copper Creek and Jackson County Trail for about 12 - 13 miles. The ride was in early April so the woods were still pretty bare so we could still see the cliffs and river. We parked at Two Good Park in Preston. The trail is just a couple blocks from the park. The trail itself was very well maintained, Some paved but mostly fine gravel. It follows Copper Creek and then the Maquoketa River so it is pretty flat except for a few short uphills. A good trip I will do it again.

I rode this trail in September 2009 and could not believe how quiet this trail is. It's a bit rougher than most of the trails I am used to, but my mountain bike and I could handle it. It's very scenic the whole length of the trail and it seems longer than it is, for some reason.

I have heard that it since has been lengthened and joins a trail on the north side of Preston, Ia. If so, this would be an improvement.


Took our 4 year old on this trail and had an enjoyable afternoon. Beautiful scenery along the Maquoketa River and an abundance of butterflies which followed us much of the time! Great trail for families. Two or three small shelters with picnic tables along the trail which is an easy almost-4 mile ride. We were the only people on the trail on a Friday afternoon. Very quiet and peaceful!

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