Great trail! Biked 10 miles on a crisp October morning. Started from the Trail Head park in Council Bluffs. The trail head has a parking lot and facilities. With parking - the early bird gets the worm. I parked at about 8 am with plenty of spots still available. 1.5 hrs later the lot was full. Also the trail was getting busy with runners and bikers as the morning progressed.
Did the Taco Ride, so only rode the 10 miles to Mineola. Beautiful trail to ride. Nice mix of tree covered and open areas. Be careful on the street crossings, most places the road has the right of way. Fortunately went early. The trail got pretty crowded later on, which provides more people with poor etiquette. Need to try on a non Taco Ride night.
We did the "Taco-Ride". it was a lot of fun. The taco ride is about 22 miles round trip and there was about 300 people who did the ride as well. met a lot of interesting people that love to cycle as well. The weather was great and the trail is well maintained. cost 1$ to ride the trail but worth ever penny of the dollar. lots of nice scenery to gaze upon. can't wait for the next taco ride!
I started from the northern terminus in Council Bluffs and went south as far as Malvern, then turned around and went back. Granted I only went 23 of the total 63 miles (46 round trip), it still had a lot to offer. Much of the trail is shaded between trees. Some of the path is paved near towns. The ups and downs are gradual and long. It felt like I was climbing slowly for 3 to 5 miles, then had a nice downhill for 3 to 5 miles. There weren't any sudden ups and downs; just slow and steady. The crushed gravel and limestone path is pretty smooth. I went after it had rained a little, so there were muddy splotches here and there--easy to avoid though. The section from Council Bluffs to Malvern and back made a nice morning/early afternoon ride. It took about 4 hours, and that included a stop at Casey's in Malvern to get some pizza and donuts (which I recommend). I'm hoping to do the trail in its entirety at some point this month.
I completed the entire trail in one shot in late June. I started in Council Bluffs and made my way south to Blanchard. After Malvern, some places on the trail have large holes. I'm not sure what sort of critter would make these holes, but they can make the trail dangerous if you're not watching out for them. Otherwise, just more beautiful Iowa fields and rolling hills. Shenandoah was a nice stop. I biked around town a little and got something to eat. I like the little towns along the way; you are able to stop and fill up water, restroom break, food, etc. I ended up going 66 miles (with extra miles in towns) and did it in just over 6 hours (that includes all my stops and eating and such). I ride a mountain bike. It's easy to keep a nice strong pace on this trail. Just stay focused and try not to think about the miles of uphill you're doing at a time! =)
This is a great rail to trail route. Great rural Iowa scenery, passes through a number of small towns. Connector trails takes you to downtown Council Bluffs. Lake Manawa state park for fee camping, national trail center and many other spots. It can be a well rounded trip. Well worth it for the ride and variety.