There’s no kind of adventure like packing up your bags and setting out to a camping destination by bike. Thanks to the Gravel Scouts for curating this list of bikepacking adventures!

Palisades-Kepler Overnight

This route is a 60/40 split of gravel and pavement with a mile long B-road at mile 7 as well as mile 42.5, marked on the map in blue. In and out of the park are 3/4 mile sections on Hwy 30, use extreme caution. Bring everything you will need for this overnight there are no pass through towns on the way to Palisades. There is small town charm and plenty of refueling options 1/2 way back in Solon.

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Cedar Valley Park Overnight

Roughly 30 miles of gravel the rest consists of paved roads in and out of Iowa City and through West Branch. This is one of the hillier overnights with about 60 feet of elevation gain per mile.

The park is located along the Cedar River which is prone to flooding. This is one of the only parks in Cedar County, especially with camping available, so weekends/holidays can get busy and sometimes loud.

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Lake Macbride State Park Overnight

This is a mostly paved route on county roads and multi-use trails with 6 miles of gravel roads.

Lake Macbride State Park has two campgrounds. The non-modern campground in the southern park unit also has several campsites and a non-flush restroom. This campground is located in a beautiful shaded setting near the lake. One fourth of the campsites are still available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Multi-use trails wind for miles around the lake.

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Sugar Bottom Recreational Area Overnight

Even though this is a 95% paved route, you will want to bring your mountain bike. There is 12 miles of single track to be enjoyed, season and weather permitting. Check for any trail closures. The Sugar Bottom Campground lies among a heavily wooded forest of mixed hardwood species on the east side of Coralville Lake and offers 232 campsites, including 7 non-electric walk-to tent campsites. It provides many recreational opportunities, including boating, camping, hiking, mountain biking, lake and river fishing, swimming, picnicking, and hunting.

Amenities include modern restroom and shower facilities, vault toilets, dump station, drinking water supply, beach, and boat ramp.

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River Junction Overnight

River Junction is a 12-acre area. A boat ramp provides access to the Iowa River and anglers can fish from the shoreline. The area includes picnic tables, a pit toilet and camping.

This is the circuitous route to River Junction. The start of the route utilizes the portions of the Iowa River Trail as well as the Sycamore Trial. It if followed by 16 miles of gravel, before a 1/3 mi section of B road, indicated in blue on the map. The return trip starts with a 3 mile section of Highway 22 into the town of Riverside. The future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk, a fictional character from the television series Star Trek. There is another 11 miles of gravel back to Iowa City.

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Kent Park Overnight

This route includes paved multi-use trails in Iowa City, Tiffin and Coralville as well as 17 miles of gravel roads. This park is the home of the Johnson County Conservation Board Headquarters and the Conservation Education Center. The 1,052 acres provide numerous recreational opportunities and is a premier place to view native Iowa tall grass prairie.
More than nine miles of hiking trails wind through F.W. Kent Park’s many native communities. The crushed rock trail around the lake provides anglers with access to the entire shoreline.

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