Explore Brilly Challenge (orginal 71) - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Brilly Challenge (orginal 71) Map
10 hours ago

We always love doing this trail! the hills can be a bit of a challenge.

Lots of frequent elevation change (600 ft is a net change), very poorly marked trail with markers only at trailhead or when it crossed a campground. There were no trail markers or distance markers, lots of lose rock and frequent forks to lose you way and your footing. On the plus side, some fantastic views and scenery along the way, just watch the transition from West Lake trail to East Lake trail. You have to find it yourself.

Very rocky but fairly easy. Make sure it is a dry day with no chance of rain. Pretty interesting little place.

One of the best views in Iowa!

road biking
10 days ago

Wide dirt road trail on private land. The owners allow access on the first weekend of June to Sept. Easy trail with gradual elevation plus beautiful views of rolling hills and farmland. There’s a geological marker at the top as well as a sign for the highest point put up by the owners. There’s also a register so you can sign their log book. Great for families and high pointers. The day we went, there was a Boy Scout troop.

The best hiking experience within an hour of the Quad Cities. I agree with the consensus of others that the signage needs work. The good news is that none of the little spur trails are terribly time consuming. The whole trail system can be easily enjoyed in a leisurely morning.

mountain biking
17 days ago

I took my 4 kids ages 5-10. The green trail was not easy for them as it was up and down a lot with tons of tree roots as obstacles. I had a trailer tandem for my 5 year old and the uneven hills caused the bar to rub my back tire. Positive was that there is a road straight through we could easily cut back to return to the car when needed. Lovely nature and peaceful scenery.

19 days ago

Loved this trail! We parked near the campground (first one by new era road) and entered the trail along the parking lot. It took us the “long” way around through the woods. We ended in the second campground (lots of picnic tables, a shelter and some swings). Across the street from there is another trail. The DNR men said to keep to the right trail. We followed their directions and hiked along bluffs and the “punch bowl”. I believe we kept to the left and came upon the “steamboat rock” and “fat mans squeeze”. Lots of places to explore. Trail is not well marked - actually only the entrance of trails are marked and the trail forks multiple times. We used our phones/GPS to figure out if we were following the right path. I’m new to using the free version of this app and the map didn’t seem to show the trail, just the boundaries of the park (could have been user error). At fat mans squeeze, there’s another parking lot and a small trail that continues. We weren’t sure where the trail lead and were ready to head home so we walked to the parking lot and followed the road back to the campground. Next time I’ll park somewhere else and skip the first part of the forest trail since my kids just wanted to explore.

We drove to the mill after our hike. There’s a shelter and one grill there, along with bathrooms and some swings.

So far, my kids’ favorite state park - but would love better signage.

great little trail!

It was a great place to walk and unwind after a busy day of sales. Next time in Dubuque I will walk it again for sure. Nice to be close to the water.

Easy, simple hike.

The path is very poorly marked. But when you figure out where you’re going, it’s a great trail. Nice to be near the water, there were several look out areas with seating. The paths varied in width and incline, which was a nice mix. Overall, we enjoyed ourselves.

22 days ago

wildcat cave trail is mis-marked, if you cross the foot bridge and go down the ravine you will be crossing private property and the owner can get very cross. To be safe follow the marker posts up the hill then go several miles south go to the river bottom and walk north until you come to that same ravine as you have been told. You walk east north east up the ravine and the cave is on your right or to your south as you walk. It is really not much of a cave, it starts out about 6 feet tall at the entrance and the closes to nothing in about 4 feet, again, not much of a cave..So, is it really worth upsetting the property owner, please RESPECT PRIVATE PROPERTY

We love this beautiful place!!

mountain biking
28 days ago

As good as it gets for mountain biking in Iowa.

Enjoyable hike! Trails well maintained. As others have stated, not much for signs. Relied on Alltrials map to track where we were.

1 month ago

amazing trails around the island

Great, well maintained trail. Moderate trail. But quiet and shady. One way trails, and lots of mountain bikers. All friendly. Great day to hike.

Note: Bug repellent.

Went right at the fork and that was definitely smart. Great trail, lower portion should be saved for the return. Don't fall and crack your phone screen.

Great trail that has every kind of trail experience you want in Iowa. lots of up and down so pace yourself and start at the campground if you're bringing kids. the full trail will tucker them out quickly.

Pretty but got to watch out for the roots, rocks, and steep climb on the trails.

Beautiful trail. Would have been 5 stars if it was marked better with signs, etc.

It is probably beautiful, but it is apparently closed for construction.

There's also a six and a half mile multi-use loop on the south end of the park. The majority of the trail is wooded but maybe a fourth of it passes through open meadows. It's one of the better trails of the surrounding area and is moderately difficult. Be warned though, the trails are not marked at all and it would be a good idea to download the map of the park from their website to your smartphone ahead of time.

1 month ago

Beautiful prairies, gets noisy with the Interstate being so close.

good trail paved surface few small hills.

mountain biking
1 month ago

My wife and I pulled our kids on this trail on Father’s Day. We parked at the Pella Water Treatment Facility and then biked down to the Des Moines river to view the bald eagles. Easy ride going to the river. A little more challenging going back to the car. Overall great experience.

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