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Plenty of trail to please beginner through advanced riders.

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854' 260 m


696' 212 m


1,560' 475 m


1,558' 475 m



Avg Grade (3°)


Max Grade (12°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Unknown

Trails closed when soft or muddy. Call Sugar Bottom Hotline 319-626-1160 or go to for status.

Dogs must be leashed. Closed the month of December for deer hunting.


Primarily a wooded trail network with very few flat sections. There are a few rocks, but roots are the most notable obstacles. This ride includes all but a few portions of the Sugar Bottom network.

The trailhead has restrooms, beach access, playground equipment and frisbee golf. All trails are one-way and are clearly signed. The trails are numbered in clusters of 100's, 200's & 300's. The gravel road divides the system into north and south sides. 100's are on the north, 200's & 300's are on the south.

As a general rule, the intermediate and difficult trails are spurs off the green/beginner trail. It's very simple to skip segments as time, skill, or desire requires.

Need to Know

During high water the gravel road used to reach the trails from the parking lot is under water. In these instances, trails are accessed off the paved parking lot road near the top of the hill. This is the only time some of the trails will be marked as two-way.


Ride through the entry point and on the gravel until 101 which is the first trail on the left. Stick on 101 into the trees. It includes some comfortable twists and turns and an ascending switchback that takes some muscle.

Upon entering a pine tree area, go left onto 102. Shortly you are back into the deciduous trees and trail that has a similar feel to 101 except for tougher climbs and switchbacks. 102 loops back to the pine tree area where it joins 101 again.

101 has a nice descent and then begins a steady series of switchbacks climbing back out.

Soon after reaching the top is the start of 103 to the right. 103 earns its black diamond status due to its very challenging descending and ascending root sections. 103 loops on around to 101 again.

104 comes up shortly off to the left. 104 flows into 104x. 104/104x combine flowing descents with sustained climbing. One climb is made particularly challenging by its assortment of loose rocks. 104 makes its way back to 101 via a switchback that looks and feels like it is straight up and down.

Once back onto 101 you might find yourself testing your speed limits as you descend through the turns. Eventually comes the decision point to stay on 101 or take 101(x) Cyclocross Hill. I mapped 101 around Cyclocross Hill because I was feeling timid. Those who love speed and using momentum as a key to making a climb will want to tackle Cyclocross Hill's steep down and up ravine crossing. Following assorted twists, turns, brief ascents and descents, 101 exits onto the gravel road.

Turn left on the gravel road and start climbing. At the top of the hill on the right is a fire road that divides the 200's and 300's. Take the fire road and then a quick left onto 201. 201, 202, & 203 create a wonderful winding series ascending and descending in and out of the pines. Exposed roots through here keeps it lively.

203 spills back into 201 and then shortly comes the junction for 204 Hell Trail. Too often to count, Hell Trail seems like it is going to make its final climb and reconnect with 201, but then "Aw h---!" it heads back down again. It's pretty grueling, but worth the effort.

Once back on 201 there is a downhill breather before the return to the pines and initial ascent of 205. After some more winding adventure through the pine trees the trail rejoins 201 and comes to the far end of the fire road.

Go left on 301 and continue with the pines and scattered roots. 302 spins off for more pine tree climbing and loops back to join 301 again. As 301 continues it tears downhill leaving the pine trees behind for a while. 303 will go off to the right and climb back up into some pines. Beware of a couple rooty drops near the end of this section. Soon after this piece the trail rejoins 301, climbs, and works its way to near the gravel road. If you feel like you need to bail, stick to 301 and exit to the gravel. If not, take a left onto 304 and continue your romp.

304 starts out very mild mannered. It gets its black rating for some steep and rooty descents in the far tip of the loop. It is a very narrow loop such that at one point the inbound and outbound trails are only about 1 yard apart. 304 then pops out onto the gravel road.

Take a right on the gravel and climb a bit until you reach 105 on the left. Although 105 is a green trail, it has a few steeper, but not technical, descents and ascents worked in compared to the rest of the greens. 105 will exit the trees and make its way through an open area ending with a picnic shelter at the gravel road.

Go left on the gravel and soon 305 Novice Loop is on the right. This loop is basically flat with both tight and open turns. It is friendly to the most beginner of beginners. Often through here you'll get a nice breeze from the lake as well. 305 Novice Loop returns to the gravel.

Go left on the gravel to return to the parking area.


Shared By:

Karmen Woelber

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 28 votes


  4.6 from 28 votes
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in Iowa


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Sugar Bottom Trail
Sep 26, 2020 near North L…, IA
Descending 104
Jan 31, 2014 near North L…, IA
Some skinnies on 204-Hell Trail.
Jan 31, 2014 near North L…, IA
In the belly of 104/104x.
Jan 31, 2014 near North L…, IA
Lake view on 301.
Jan 31, 2014 near North L…, IA


Current Trail Conditions

Add Your Check-In


Apr 6, 2023
Derek Blashaw
Jul 19, 2021
Aaron T Lovell
Gorgeous trail and plenty of it. Grippy dirt. "The Black Hole" was the hardest loop—#103. Rest of the trail is a good mix of technical and flow.
Apr 26, 2021
Andrew White
Apr 23, 2020
Ewarinho Allendes
Aug 1, 2019
Cole Gerard
Jun 2, 2019
Beau Smitb
Apr 25, 2019
Tim W
Aug 10, 2018

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