Hoover Nature Trail (Oasis to West Branch)

Iowa

Hoover Nature Trail (Oasis to West Branch) Facts

States: Iowa
Counties: Cedar, Johnson
Length: 3.5 miles
Trail end points: Oasis Rd. NE just north of Fairview Cemetery Rd. NE (Oasis) and E. College St. just east of N. 2nd St. (West Branch)
Trail surfaces: Crushed Stone, Grass
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6015626
Trail activities: Mountain Biking, Walking

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Hoover Nature Trail (Oasis to West Branch) Description

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) page.

Parking and Trail Access

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.

Hoover Nature Trail (Oasis to West Branch) Reviews

This is an absolutely wonderful trail. The path itself, the trees and the bits of old railroad memorabilia make this a trip through time as well as beautiful rolling hills (although the trail itself is flat). It lends itself wonderfully to the fall season and I look forward to concocting spooky stories about the trail to entertain my nieces on future bike rides.

I have not ridden this trail in nearly ten years. It is pretty much as it was back then. A nice canopy of trees for nearly a half mile and another mile of trees on the south side of the trail give shade and a wind break. The first half of the trail out of West Branch is crushed limestone, then after crossing the Cedar and Johnson County line road the trail becomes grassy in the middle with stone and packed dirt tracks from maintenance vehicles tire tracks. I rode a mountain bike but a trail or road bike would be just fine. It is too bad someone absconded with trail development funds back in the 80's. It will be a while before this potential gem to be completed. Once it reaches Burlington to the southeast and extends north to Ely, riders will be able to ride between Burlington and Cedar Rapids or Waterloo. The farmsteads alone the trail are neat and picturesque. The Hoover Library is a must see. Ever 4-6 months there is a new feature to enjoy. Dresses of the first ladies are currently on display.

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 wouldn't work for high speed biking, but the trail is only three miles long, so that would be a bit silly. Lots of shady spots for breaks from the heat, but lots of spots without cover to get a breeze through. We were geocaching as we rode and there are lots of good family friendly geocaches hidden along the trail. It took us about three hours to ride from one end to the other and back stopping for geocaches every quarter mile or so.

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