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Sugar Bottom

Average Rating:    (4.59 of 5)

No. of Reviews: 29

The trail is considered by many to be the best in eastern Iowa. Trail difficulty is marked and the start of each trail. The tougher trails are all side loops of the easier trails. The trail is taken very good care of by ICORR. Please check out the web page, it has excellent information about the trail, including whether the trial is open or not.
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Latitude
41.759051950957364
Longitude
-91.55598163604736
Trail Directions
Take I380 and exit at the North Liberty exit (#4). Turn Rt off exit and drive into North Liberty. Continue straight until you see signs for Sugar Bottom Recreational area and follow the signs.
Trail Length
10-11 miles
Trail Level
Trails for all skill levels
Trail Type
Singletrack
City/County
North Liberty
Web Address
   


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Reviews 1 - 5 (29 Reviews Total) View All | Next 5

Review Date
May 6, 2007

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 5 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 5 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Once a week

Visitors rate this review
5.00 of 5, 1.00 votes

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Reviewed by: Wick ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
Great stuff! There is some tough stuff and some easy stuff. I love it!

Recommended Route:
All of them!



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Review Date
March 28, 2006

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 4 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 4 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Once a week

Visitors rate this review
5.00 of 5, 1.00 votes

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Reviewed by: mtb05grl ,  Racer

Summary:
This trail system is awesome for Iowa. It has everything from very technical uphills to steep, adrenaline rushing downhills. There's trails for everyone out there. Green = easy/flatter sections/non-technical Blue = not as flat/a little more technical/clean cut Black = steep inclines/technical/uncut/rocky You can make a day out of riding these trails. If you're in the area, check them out. You won't regret it!

Recommended Route:
Follow all the blue/black trails. Not all crossings will have the option of black, but choose blue over green, and black over blue.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
Geode State Park near Burlington, IA. Also, Dehn's behind the YMCA in Burlington. Stop in at the bike shop in West Burlington to find out mroe about the trails.



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Review Date
June 8, 2005

Overall Rating
 4 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 3 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 3 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Once a week

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Reviewed by: merlinB4car ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
The pluses:
+Close enough to IC/CR to get there after work on any given summer evening
+Single speed and night ride friendly
+Trail rating system, a la ski slopes, with all blacks looping back into the main green means you can ride out here with anyone and still have a fun time
+Great scenery with the trail reaching the edge of the "res"
+Usually quiet and empty during the business day
+Roads to the trails are paved and fairly empty so a nice ~30 mile
ride loop can be done quite easily
+Solid maintenance by ICORR (http://www.icorrmtb.org) including regular trail status updates

Minuses
-Technical sections are limited to a half dozen winding rooted, occasionally rocky ups and downs
-No real climbs or descents due to local geography
-As this is the only game in town, people tend to get out too soon after the rain so the really technical stuff gets pretty heavy abuse

Recommended Route:
Things are getting better for options on "circulation" and if you ride at night a reverse route isn't out of the question. There are two parking lots and both offer climbs right out of the box to get warmed up. The main gravel, closed to all motor vehicle traffic, provides a handy reference when using the metal signpost maps.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
Head north to Decorah, find Oneota River Cycles or Decorah Bicycles, shops on either end of Water street, park, and ride half a mile to the best trails in Iowa. Don't be fooled by the reviews here, Sugar Bottom is a giant winding snake around a tree lot in comparison to northeast Iowa. Big climbs, big descents, rocks rocks rocks and tons of options. Yellow River State Forest, with full use of the 500 foot vertical drop that comes with being on the Mississippi, is also just 45 minutes east from Decorah meaning a full weekend of riding and fun is barely 2 hours from Sugar Bottom, the Twin Cities or 3.5 from Chicago. Add in the trails as you head north along the Mississippi in Wisconsin and Minnesota and a week of riding and cheap livin' aren't out of the question.



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Review Date
August 25, 2004

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 5 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 5 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Every few months

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Reviewed by: BruceBrown ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
As a new resident of the state of Iowa and visiting Sugar Bottom for the first time with my family, I was more than pleasantly surprised by the mountain bike trail system that ICORR and the US Army Corp of Engineers had been able to build and maintain since the early 1990's. It really should be viewed as a model of IMBA excellence for the group involvement, use of the land and proper trail building technique. Hats off to all those that have been involved in this "project" over the years from beginning to its current status.

Although I am not a SS rider, I can imagine this set of trails would be a haven for single speeders as there really are no long and difficult climbs due to the topography of the land and the proper trail building of avoiding going straight up the fall line. Not to worry though, as a geared rider I found myself using granny gearing when appropriate due to the short and steep climb sections that you do face and when you are reaching your end of the rope after 2 or 3 hours of sustained riding.

Very nice system of marking the trails using a difficulty rating similar to that of a ski area. Regardless, one should try all levels of difficulty throughout various loops to see the differences of why each loop is rated as it is and to develop your skills on various types of techical challenges. Another added benefit is that these trails are all one-way specific trails which removes the element of having to worry about running into oncoming traffic around a corner. Both the rating system and the one-way specific benefits have been mentioned by other reviewers, but I felt it was important to highlight them again because they really sweeten the overall "mecca" that has been built at Sugar Bottom. It is well worth the drive to come visit and ride these trails. Camping is available at several sites as well as a full cartel of motels in nearby Iowa City/Coralville. It's a great place to visit for a weekend of riding - be it a full day or 2 days.

There are plenty of challenges found within the trail network - and you can create your own challenges by varying your speed or taking different lines each time you encounter some of the more technical sections. N In my 2 full days of riding the trails, I found plenty to provide thrills, challenges, enjoyment and left me with the desire to come back every now and then when my schedule allows it.

Recommended Route:
I don't know the names of individual trails, but highly recommend trying out all of the loops if you can. Mix and match to your liking and ride the trails on both sides of the fireroad. Repeat those that are your favorite. My favorites from a visual perspective were the trails that twisted through the pine trees among the bed of pine needles. Very nice aroma, atmospherre and quite well built. Of course, some of the black rating (most difficult) trails were my favorite for providing great technical challenges. There is a nice novice trail on the south side near the water that is ideal for encouraging children and new ATB riders to get the mountain biking bug. If I am not mistaken, the ICORR group continues to build and add to the trail system each and every year. This may involve changing or even closing some of the trails that need improvement or are damaged. Not sure if that is the case, but I believe I rode one of the new trails while I was there for a weekend and it was one of my favorites.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
I don't know of any specific mountain bike trails in the North Liberty area outside of Sugar Bottom. I can also recommend stopping in for a nice dinner at the Iowa River Power Company in Coralville. We wandered into that restaurant one night while there and really enjoyed the meal.

I am going to give the highest rating possible for the categories because this is an absolutely well thought out project that deserves recognition.



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Review Date
November 1, 2003

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 3 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 4 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Once a month

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Reviewed by: weatherx ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
fun trails in general. strictly cross country with some technical stuff (not too hard). very well marked so that it's easy to navigate and choose the route to your abilities. very well maintained thanks to ICORR. little climbing though.

Recommended Route:
ride everything in any order.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
brick yard, pella. no other trails in iowa compares to this though.



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Reviews 1 - 5 (29 Reviews Total) View All | Next 5
 


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