Thursday, June 20, 2013

Bike Iowa: Trout Run Trail, Decorah

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to stay overnight in Decorah for work.  I woke up early the next day so I could check out the new Trout Run Trail, an 11-mile bike trail that circles Decorah.  I took the photo above at the unofficial entrance to the trail.  This gorgeous work of public art is one of many along the trail route.

I read this terrific review of the Trout Run Trail on the Bike Iowa website a few days after I visited there.  It does a great job of summing up what it's like to ride the trail.  Like the reviewer, I was surprised by how scenic, and hilly, the trail is.  (And I can say that the hills aren't any better going clockwise!)  I usually do pretty good going up steep hills, but I had to get off my bike and walk a couple of them, because I didn't know they were coming and didn't have enough "steam" to get up them.  But don't let the hills discourage you.  I met a group of kids, who looked like they were part of a summer camp group, along the trail. So it's very family-friendly.

There are several scenic outlooks and trout fishing spots along the trail.  Check out these gorgeous views!

Along the trail, you'll also pass by the DNR's fish hatchery and the former home of the Decorah eagles, which gained worldwide fame a couple years ago when their nest was filmed by web cam.

It was also neat to see that the trail cut through farmland.  At one point, the trail bumped right up next to a dairy farm.  I just had to take photos of the cows!

Another highlight of the trail is the $2 million bridge that spans over Highway 9.  The bridge is lit up in colorful LED lights at night.

 Once I crossed the bridge, I rode past the Decorah bluffs. Such a beautiful part of the state.

I'm already making plans to come back to Decorah again in the fall -- for fun, not for work!  This trail is worth the four-hour drive to northeast Iowa.


  1. Thank you for sharing this "review" of the Trout Run Trail. My husband and I are planning a little getaway next month to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. Nothing extravagant: we're heading up to Lanesboro, MN, for a few days and plan to ride the Root River Trail (and stop for pie at the Aroma Pie Shoppe in Whalan!), then we're heading over to Decorah for a few days as well. We're going to check out Seed Savers Heritage Farm as well as Trout Run Trail. So I'm glad to read about the hills (or to be warned of them, I should say!), and I'll be sure to bring along my camera. Looks like there will be plenty of reasons to stop and take a break often.

    Have you visited Seed Savers yet?

    1. So we hit the Trout Run Trail, and it was awesome! You were right, those hills were tough, and I'm glad to know I wasn't the only one walking her bike up some of the steep ones! My husband would ride on up and take a break at the top while he watched me push my bike up, every time. And it didn't help that a bearing went out on my bike about 3 miles in -- it made riding rather difficult for about 8 miles, but fortunately we started at the bridge and went counter-clockwise, and did most of the hard work early on. I'm getting a new bike now, so I guess it was worth it!

      Loved the scenery, I think it's one of the most beautiful trails I've been on!

    2. Thanks for the update! Those hills are hard but so worth it! I'm already planning a trip back in the fall. Maybe I'll stop by Seedsavers Exchange while I'm there.


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