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Cedar Falls, Iowa serves as the endpoint of one of Iowa’s favorite regional trails, the Cedar Valley Lakes Trail, but also features an extensive network of multi-use paths and on-street bike infrastructure, which earned the city a Bronze rating on the American League of Bicyclists “Bike Friendly City” designation.
The Big Woods Trail is one of these local gems. Residents are drawn to it for quiet walks or relaxing rides in a tranquil natural setting. The trail starts at Gateway Park, branching off where the Cedar Valley Lakes Trail crosses the Cedar River, and goes north along Main Street, then diverges into the woods and into the Big Woods Lake Recreation Area. There the trail loops around the 65-acre lake (at this point the trail is also called the Big Woods Lake Trail). Activities within the park include fishing, kayaking, birdwatching and picnicking.
At the northern tip of the loop, an offshoot of the trail continues north along Big Woods Lake Road before terminating on Lone Tree Road, where the Lone Tree Road Trail provides a sidepath trail that connects to the northwestern end of the Cedar Valley Lakes Trail, creating a looping network of trails on the north side of the river.
You can park at the Big Woods Lake Recreation Area. There’s one parking area off Lake Road, at the top of the trail loop. The southern parking lot that can be accessed by taking Main Street north to Big Woods Road. The lot is at the end of the road.
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