This trail is bi-directional, multi-use, wide open, with some fall line sections that provide opportunities for variations in speed between users; this can manufacture conflict.
While there are two off-leash dog areas near the trails, it is common for dogs to be off leash on the trails as well; be prepared for this and equestrians. Bikes should yield to all other users, how you treat other trail users affects how we are perceived. Don't understand? Here's a video - vimeo.com/23089489
These trails are fairly wide, similar to the repurposed carriage/service roads and doubletrack you may find in other county and state parks. There are fall line sections that make for arduous climbs or fast descents. Over half of the trail is flat and lower in elevation near waterways and drainages, while other portions traverse upland woods.
Yielding to Equestrians: In Iowa, a huge part of our heritage is connected to riding horses. Bikers often scare horses. We are less familiar to them than hikers, so use caution. We recommend that as you approach an equestrian you call out a friendly greeting from far away. Slow down! You want to start talking from about 50-75 ft away if you can. Horses spook easily, so try asking how the person on the horse would like you to get by. Would they like you to get off and walk (this is great for horses that are really skittish) or should you pass slowly at the next safe spot?
Yielding to Hikers: This isn't a race, so yelling "On your left!" probably isn't the best thing. In years of practice, we've found that the best thing to do is to SLOW DOWN; good interactions mean more open trails. Then just say something like, "Hi there! Great day." People usually wake up to your presence without alarm. If you have a bell on your bike, you might dingle it nicely as a way to get attention. Hikers have the right of way, so if they don't feel safe moving to the side of (or off) the trail for you, please wait it out. Ask if they mind finding a place for you to pass.
Yielding to other Bikes: Uphill traffic gets the right of way. If you're bombing down a hill, stop and let them by. It's much worse losing all momentum on a difficult grind up a hill than losing speed on a downhill by having to stop for uphill traffic.
Shared By: Ken Barker