Flint River Trail (IA)


3 Reviews

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Flint River Trail (IA) Facts

States: Iowa
Counties: Des Moines
Length: 9.6 miles
Trail end points: 180th St. (Big Hollow Creek Recreation Center) to Flint Bottom Rd. and 113th St. to Port of Burlington Welcome Center
Trail surfaces: Crushed Stone
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6015368

Flint River Trail (IA) Description

The Flint River Trail, when complete, will run for about 18 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 about half of the trail is still in development, approximately 9 miles of the Flint River Trail are paved and open for use. The longer northern section runs from Big Hollow Creek Recreation in the north to Flint Bottom Rd. just northwest of Burlington with small gaps in the trail near 145th and 155th street. 

The southern 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.

Parking and Trail Access

There are numerous parking options along the trailhead including the northernmost endpoint at 180th St, along N Prairie Grove Rd. where it meets flint bottom Rd., and at the southern endpoint at the Port of Burlington Welcome Center, 400 N Front St.

See TrailLink Map for more detailed directions.

Flint River Trail (IA) Reviews

Needs some TLC

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.

Enjoyable 2 miles (4 with return)

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.

Very nice but still in development

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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