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The Flint River Trail, when complete, will run for approximately 20 miles between downtown Burlington, Iowa, and the Big Hollow Creek Recreation Area in the northern part of Des Moines County. The trail will also link together other popular sites, including Starr's Cave Park and Preserve—home to a substantial bat population—and Thye Woods Habitat Preserve, as well as the Zion Schoolhouse historic landmark.
Although the bulk of the trail is still in development, 1.5 miles of the Flint River Trail are paved and open for use. The open section runs from 113th Street (north of downtown Burlington) to the levee behind the Case New Holland factory. A converted railroad trestle there is ready for pedestrian and bicycle use. This portion of the Flint River Trail occupies the same former corridor that the Hoover Nature Trail is being built upon. The trail continues east from the levee to Mill Dam Road and west to open space directly behind Case New Holland.
In the near future, the trail will be extended from the point behind Case New Holland to the intersection of County Highway 99 and Cash Street along the Mississippi River.
Parking for the Flint River Trail can be found where it meets Tama Road, midway between the levee and 113th Street.
I am giving it 2 stars because i applaud DesMoines County for bringing a trail to SE Iowa.
But the trail is rough. We rode to Hickory Bend Recreation, which after miles of riding a washed out trail that routed you onto secondary gravel roads (BRING TIRE REPAIR KIT), we found an outhouse & 2 piles of gravel on a weeded lot. No shelter house. Water fountain or benches. Huh.
The trail has no shade. It is cut out of farmers' crop ground so you see absolutely nothing but corn & beans. There are no benches along this route. Nothing to look at. We saw a glimmer of water two ditches & a treeline over. We didn't even see a bird!
This part of the trail is crushed gravel. We did not ride the 4 mile paved route. We have had alot of rain & mother nature was not kind to it. That cannot be helped but I almost flew over my handlebars when I came down yet another hair pin curve and right into a washed out trail with deep fissures. And, these were everywhere.
Weeds growing up in the crushed rock. Lack of clear directional signage & the part of trail where you dismount & go thru a cattle farmer's 3 metal fence gates is quite odd.
This trail seems poorly thought out, like a swath of trail was simply cut out of farm ground & then rerouted down gravel roads when every few miles the trail didn't seem to work.
Oddly it is labor day weekend and we saw absolutely NO ONE on the trail but we did dodge several trucks on the gravel roads. Maybe that is a sign that there are better trails....
So, if you go. Bring sunscreen. A tire repair kit in case a rock slits your tire on the gravel roads. Wear a hat, 100% in the sun. Bring alot of water. Be careful of the multiple wash outs & know this trail is hilly. Hairpin hilly.
I cannot recommend unless you really just need something to do & have a desire to ride thru miles and miles of corn and beans & don't care. Truthfully we were so busy looking down for washouts and fissures that we would not have appreciated pretty scenery.
Also, parking areas are weedy & after dismounting, walking bike back to put on the rack, I look down and I have burrs all over both shoes to pick off.
We rode the inverted T section shown in the map here as of July 2018. It has been extended to Cash and 8th streets, south of the Case factory. We saw a great blue heron in the Flint River. Surface is paved concrete. Travelers looking to ride in the Burlington area should also check out the northern section of this trail; a pdf map is available at the Des Moines County website. We have not been there. There are some sections further south that look like they will be connected up eventually; local riders appear to know how to use road links to do that.
This is a nice, well maintained, and mostly level concrete path starting from Pond Road until Tama Road, or if you choose to go to the riverfront.
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