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Bike Directory : Self-Guided Mountain Bike Rides

Sugarbottom Recreation Area
Coralville, Iowa


Difficulty: Advanced
Elevation Gain:
Ride Distance:
Scenic Quality: B - Great

How to get there:

Yes, I know it is Iowa. More of hill biking that mountain biking, but this is one of the best trails in the Midwest. Sugar Bottom Recreation Area is approximately 7 mi. north of Coralville, Ia. It has been setup by professional mountain bikers and offers various levels of difficulty.


The ride:

I had the distinct pleasure of flying down one of the tight trail, having my front tire latch onto a rut from hell and toss my cookie right off the bike and into a bunch of pine trees. As the next biker came by, I acted as if I was taking a water break (when I was actually picking pine needles and pieces of wood out of my butt). On one of the black trails, the roots will jar some teeth loose if you don't have shocks. There is one spot where, unless you have very narrow handle bars, you have to wheelie it through and turn the bar to clear the trees (if you don't, you will have bruised knuckles from the trees). Most of these trails are single track, which makes those passes oh so fun.



Camping is abundant in the immediate area of the trails. There's a beach along the parking lot of the trail entrance, and another beach further into the campground. Camping fees are reasonable, but I haven't paid them in a while. There's also a frisbee golf course just off the parking lot for the bike trail



Coralville offers several choices in hotels/motels and good night-life activity can be found on the strip and in neighboring Iowa City (college town).


What to bring:

Lunch would be a good idea, although North Liberty (which is about 4 miles away) offers some good places to grab some grub. And bring a tire kit -- with all the roots, a lot of riders pop their tires.


Where to eat:

If you like Mexican food, La Casa in Iowa City (take Hwy 965 south out of North Liberty to Hwy 6 > take a left > in Coralville > left on Burlington > right on Gilbert > left on Kirkwood Blvd. > right on Gilbert Ct. La Casa is on the left halfway down) is a great place to eat! Mercy Nachos are an excellent appetizer.


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