Mountain biker riding down rough terrain at Sugar Bottom Trails

Sugar Bottom

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One of the premier mountain biking destinations in Iowa is located in the midst of hardwood forest along the Coralville Lake, just north of Iowa City and between North Liberty and Solon. The Sugar Bottom mountain bike trail system, in the Sugar Bottom Recreation Area, includes roughly 12 miles and 1,400 climbing feet of outstanding hand-built trails. The one-way trails range from beginner to expert and are configured in a stacked loop system. You can enjoy a green ride on a continuous loop through the whole system, or check out the blues and blacks that loop off of the main trail. Along the way, you might hear the calls of barred owls, startle a group of deer or turkeys, or see an osprey working on its nest.

Races are held at the trail system several times a year and draw riders from across the Midwest.

Trail status is updated here and via signage at the trails; fines are imposed for riding closed trails.

Camping is available at the Sugar Bottom Recreation Area, along with disc golf, a beach area, playground, barrier-free asphalt trail, nearby boat access, and more. There is plenty to do between mountain bike rides!

Mountain biker riding through Woodpecker Singletrack Coralville

Woodpecker Single Track

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This urban single track is a newer addition to the cycling amenities in Johnson County. Starting at the Tom Harken Trailhead, the trails meander and flow through a wooded area along Clear Creek; the east and west trail sections are split by Camp Cardinal Boulevard with a connector passing under the street. Featuring mostly green/beginner difficulty level trails and some pump track-like sections, these are fun trails for riders of all types, from kids starting out to the expert looking to squeeze in some convenient training miles. You’ll find lots of solid wooden bridges over water features and wetlands, sandy soil that tends to drain well after rain, and many urban deer that call these woods home.

In the winter, local riders chip in with snowshoeing to groom snowy trails for fat biking.

Creekside Flow Trail

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One of the newest additions to our off road adventures is the Coralville Flow Trail, a gravity-fed smooth textured dirt roller coaster. Starting at the Coralville Creekside Cross Trailhead, you’ll venture your way along a tree-lined climbing path, emerging at a clearing where you can Choose Your Own Adventure: the fun and flowy Flow Trail #1 or the fast and furious Flow Trail #2. Further along — if you’re up for the challenge — take a lap on the Sand Crane Trail which features sloping berms on the corners and a wood frame that drops riders over the remains of an old car.

Courage Ride

A Multi-Route Bike Ride through Southern Johnson and Washington Counties. Supports the Sarcoma Cancer Research Program at the University of Iowa Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center

Date: August 14, 2021

Courage Ride, an annual charity bike ride benefiting the University of Iowa’s sarcoma cancer research program. It will resume as both an in-person and virtual event. It also has added a second start/finish location at the Washington County Fairgrounds that will take riders along the Kewash Trail to Keota. The 17th Annual Courage will also return to Big Grove Brewery and Taproom in Iowa City.

The Washington location will offer two routes along the beautiful Kewash Trail, a limestone surfaced trail along a former railway.

Big Grove will offer six routes that will continue to take riders through the scenic Amish countryside near Hills and Kalona and out as far as Washington and Keota, Iowa for the longer routes. A 5 mile Family Fun ride to the Terry Trueblood Recreational Area is also being offered.

Courage Ride is following federal, state and local pandemic guidelines, as of May 2021, to ensure a safe ride experience in 2021. COVID measures are subject to change as regulations, restrictions and recommendations change prior to our August 14th event.

“We feel so blessed to be able to return to in-person riding for those who can. Last year was definitely a challenge and we really missed seeing everyone who has come out and supported us over the past 16 years,” said Courage Ride Director Leora Houghton. “And we are so excited to add Washington, Iowa as a second location. This location is a great opportunity to grow our event and offer a different trail ride experience for those who like to get closer to nature. Growing the event means more dollars going into sarcoma cancer research at the university where they are making great progress on this rare form of cancer.”

Courage Ride honors the life of Seth Bailey, a courageous young man who died at age 25 from sarcoma cancer in 2003. His parents, Jackie and Tom Bailey partnered with Bicyclists of Iowa City (BIC) in 2005 to create a ride that all levels of bicyclists can enjoy.

Courge Ride organizers anticipate between 600 to 700 bicyclists to register for the event. Beginning at 7:00 a.m., bicyclists will travel on 8 different routes. Routes from Big Grove include lengths of 5, 18, 37 (Seth Bailey Courage Loop), 58, 72 or 107 (The Tom Bailey Century) miles. Routes from the Washington County Fairgrounds include lengths of 17 and 35 miles.

Bicyclists at Big Grove can also participate in a silent auction featuring items from a variety of area businesses, organizations and craftsmen along with free skin cancer screenings by University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics dermatologists. The local community is also welcome to participate in the free skin cancer screenings.
A Live Facebook Fundraising event will be held Thursday, August 12th at
Proceeds Support Sarcoma Cancer Research
All proceeds from Courage Ride go to the University of Iowa Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center Sarcoma Research Program. Over the past 16 years, Courage Ride has raised over $660,000 for sarcoma cancer research.

To date, Courage Ride proceeds have seeded numerous sarcoma cancer research grants. Many of those grants have evolved into promising, larger scale research studies. This newfound momentum in the Sarcoma Research Program has created a lot of enthusiasm among researchers, investigators, doctors and cancer care providers at the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center. The results are leading to new advancements, new partnerships and attracting some of the best research talent in the nation. Patient lives are improved as a result of these research studies and the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center is gaining worldwide recognition for its expertise in advancing sarcoma research.

Courage Ride’s mission is more crucial than ever considering that funding for cancer research has been shrinking over the past 10 years, according to the American Association for Cancer Research. Yet cancer remains one of the nation’s costliest diseases. The American Cancer Society’s 2020 estimates for soft tissue sarcomas in the United States (these statistics include both adults and children) project that 13,130 new soft tissue sarcomas will be diagnosed (7,470 cases in males and 5,660 cases in females) and 5,270 Americans (2,840 males and 2,430 females) are expected to die of soft tissue sarcomas. Over 100 adults and children in Iowa are diagnosed with sarcoma each year. Sarcoma receives one to two percent of all cancer research funding.

Discount For Early Registration
Registration is now open. Early adult registration is $75 (through Friday, August 6). Beginning August 7, adult registration is $85. On-site registration Friday, August 13 and 14 is $90. Youth registration (13-17) is $15. Registration includes breakfast and lunch, entertaining rest stops and SAG support. A victory party with live music will be held throughout the afternoon.

Visit for more information about the event including registration, route maps, parking, or to make a donation.

Two start/finish locations: Big Grove Brewery and Taproom in Iowa City and The Washington County Fairgrounds in Washington, Iowa
Over 600 riders are expected to register
8 total routes, ranging from a 5 mile family fun ride to a century ride (5, 17, 18, 35, 37, 58, 72, 107 miles).
Registration at Big Grove opens at 6 a.m. Registration at Washington opens at 7:30 a.m.
Includes breakfast and lunch
Rest stops with food, drinks and live music
Cyclists receive detailed maps, SAG support, bike mechanics and free tent camping.
Courage Ride jerseys available to order
A silent auction at Big Grove featuring items from area businesses, organizations and craftsmen
Free skin cancer screenings performed at Big Grove by University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics dermatologists
Adult-Early Registration (through Friday, August 6th) $75
Adult-Week of Registration (starting Saturday, August 7) $85
On-site registration Friday, August 13 and 14 is $90.
Youth (13-17) $15
Children 12 & under are free.
Visit for route maps, registration information or to make a donation.

Also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

Join us for this fun event and help us “Fight Sarcoma Cancer. Together.”

Creekside Connection

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Coralville is back at it again with the Creekside Connection trail.
Are those island boardwalks and stream crossings? Yes, yes they are. The new singletrack — which is largely complete as of June 2022 — is being built by Pathfinder Trails and will include the Deer Creek, Dogwoods, Farm Junk, and Flowstyle segments.